It started with a dispute over a shopping mall but is widening into something much more serious. This could get ugly fast.
On the contrary, it is good they are rioting. The government is supporting al Qaeada linked fundie rebels in Syria, and the public rightly think that's just stupid.
Time to get some shut eye, dear.
In spite of all the PR spin otherwise, Turkey is still a country drowning in radical religious government.
The difference between Turkey and other Islamic countries like Iran, is trivial, when held in comparison of Turkey to say Sweden or Spain.
If Les hadn't dropped them into the mall parking lot,this would have never happened. How could he not know they couldn't fly?
Turkish government has shut off Twitter and Facebook.
Still think it's a good thing, R1?
Taksim Square is like Washington Sq Park. Bad idea to pave it over for a shopping mall.
John McCain is on his way to Istanbul to meet with the rebels.
Their president is an arrogant Islamic asshole who wants to bulldoze the only green space in Istanbul to built a shopping mall and a mega-mosque in a city that already has plenty of both. Maybe he'll be more careful now, but I doubt it.
After nearly a week of increasing public protests in Turkey, ostensibly over government plans to turn a last bit of green space in Istanbul into another shopping mall, matters became far more serious on Friday. Riot police descended on the protestors with various forms of tear gas (and possibly worse chemical and biological agents -- raw sewage?) and water cannon, blasting everyone and everything in sight including non-participants. When they caught protestors, they beat them violently and brutally, as can be seen in this video. Photographs show that police fired tear gas into crowded underground metro stations, leading to panic and worse. Istanbul looks like a war zone.
Today indications are that protests have only increased in number and fury in response to the violence with which they were met yesterday.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come under increased criticism at home over his enthusiastic support for those fighting to overthrow the government in neighboring Syria. Turkish government support for the rebels came early and has included providing safe havens for the Islamist insurgents and safe passage into Syria from Libya, Yemen, and other countries of the insurgents' origin.
Erdogan's stated policy of "zero problems with neighbors" has been turned on its head by his support for the rebels fighting next door. Public dissatisfaction with the Turkish government's policy of encouraging an Islamist insurgency next door has steadily increased.
The insurgents fighting the Syrian government were still unsatisfied by the level of support they received from their Turkish hosts and they took to false flag attacks in places like Reyhanli and a planned false-flag sarin gas attack on southern Turkey in Adana in attempt to provoke a Turkish (and NATO) military response against Syria.
Suddenly the tables are turned at home.
Faced with a nascent but growing protest movement of his own, Erdogan expresses a very different view toward the people in the street. The Prime Minister strongly supported the "Arab Spring" overthrow in Egypt and supports the overthrow of Assad next door because he said the leaders of these countries did not listen to their people. Just last week he met with President Obama and agreed that "Assad must go." Now with protesters in Turkey chanting "Erdogan must go" he is singing a different tune. Now "the people" he claimed to speak for -- on the streets in Egypt and Syria, at least -- were, in Turkey, "with terror, have dark ties," in his words.
Suddenly "the people" are not so noble when they are calling for his ouster. With the tables turned on Erdogan, he can only demand order! "I call on the protesters to stop their demonstrations immediately," he thundered yesterday.
Erdogan caught the tiger by the tail and thought he would become a new Ottoman Sultan. Reality bites back hard on the streets of Istanbul and elsewhere. This is far from over.
Caution..don't throw them out of a helicopter, they can't fly.
[quote]After nearly a week of increasing public protests in Turkey, ostensibly over government plans to turn a last bit of green space in Istanbul into another shopping mall
The last thing Istanbul needs is additional shopping. I've been shopping in that city. It's the #1 place in the world to "Shop til you drop!" The Covered Bazaar is the biggest shopping center on this planet. There are more than 3,000 shops on 61 streets. If you can't find something at the Covered Bazaar, you won't find it anywhere else in Turkey.
The asshole Erdogan can do anything he wants....but please don't ban Turkish oil wrestling. I was surprised and loved seeing the rainbow flags flying in Taksim Square.
Over 900 arrests so far according to BBC News. Looks like the government means business.
My son has a friend who just graduated and is working at the US embassy in Turkey He was online somehow (even though all services were down) and said they were under complete lockdown and the US Military and marines are guarding the place and he's hearing gunshots going off every few minutes. It's very tense there. Poor guy as this is his first real job.
He also said there was a field hospital b treating all the injured protestors and as soon as they 're done treating them they're being arrested. So they're just arresting everyone who's a protestor whether they did anything or not.
Of course it will get ugly fast--have you seen the Turks??
That's what happens when you're a lapdog to the USGov.
Erdogan thought he could get the US to back him, and the USGov thought he was a good patsy to get into Syria.
Hell, the man had a joint press conference with Obama (UmbrellaGate) a week or so ago, and now he's shooting his own people!
I hope this blows up in all their sick, twisted, powermad faces.
Can't imagine what it would be like to be living through this.
The people are angry about the spread of Islamic laws/culture Erdogan is promoting. He has declared war on alcohol and "public displays of affection" not long ago. The Islamization of Turkey has been going on for years since this headcase Erdogan came to power. He got rid of a big chunk of the army elite and put his people instead. A very high number of journalists are in jail.
He's a beast. I hope they get rid of him.
How come Americans can't get this worked up after everything that has happened since 9/11? They are throwing journalists in jail in the US for just reporting on gov't misconduct. Why are Americans so willing to give up their country?
[quote]How come Americans can't get this worked up after everything that has happened since 9/11?
America doesn't have time for that. We're much too busy with The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and The Real Housewives of New Jersey. We've saved every episode and we watch them over and over.
I must have missed this but which American journalists have we thrown in jail for reporting gov't misconduct? I think you'd need to source that as I'm sure if that was really happening here it would be front page news.
And people protest out here all the time. Remember the 99 percent protest, the anti war protests during the Bush years, the pro marriage equality protests, the glitter bombing protests etc etc We have no shortage of protests here. But usually there's less of an extreme reaction to peaceful protests here.
From what I understand the first protests in Turkey over this mall only involved several dozen peaceful protesters. But the government went overboard and used tear gas and injured people. So the next days protests were larger and turned to just being anti government.
As I understand it, The Republic of Turkey was created in the early 1920's in the aftermath of the WWI. The political leader of the country, Mustafa Ataturk, deliberately put into place secular reforms so that the country could grow into a modern peer of many of it's westernized European neighbors.
I visited Turkey a few years ago and was so impressed by the balance between faith and democracy. At the time, I had never been east of Greece and was fascinated to visit a secular Islamic country. At the time, Obama had recently been voted into office and people were very pro-USA.
The Turkish people that we met were so friendly and interested in America. I was also fascinated by the large number of Iranian tourists in Istanbul, particularly seeing so many women in a burqa (full covered dress with only a slit where their eyes are) which I had never been exposed to before. (It was boiling hot when I was there so I can only imagine how they dealt with the heat)
I hope for Turkey's sake that it can remain as Ataturk intended it to be with his reforms that allowed women's rights and other westernized rights. (No, I'm not a total flag waver who blindly thinks that "Amurikuh" is perfect. It ain't. But when I see any system that doesn't necessarily allow a level playing field for women, a red flag goes up.)
The world needs Turkey to be able to remain as a democratic, secular Muslim country. In the post 9/11 world, it's likely more of an uphill battle for it to hang on to it's secular leanings. It's surrounded by Syria, Iran, and some former USSR republics on the east. It would be a stabilizing factor if Turkey can remain supportive of its Islamic heritage and also continue to be a secular nation. And for selfish reasons, the US needs an ally in the region and Turkey is extremely valuable to the western world for that reason.
Who cares? Really, I am so tired of the Middle East
Erdogan is also setting himself to be Turkey's president-for-life. The longer he goes unchallenged the harder it will be to get him out.
I think you're missing the original reason for taking away the park and developing it: it was because the park had become a place for people to protest. The government is trying to eliminate places where mobs can gather.
Why not demand that the US quit supplying arms and intelligence data to Al-Qaeda?
If the US (and France, UK, Spain, etc.) just pulled all troops out and let Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians, the bloodshed would be far less than the path the US and France/Germany/UK are following, especially since it involves serious aggression from China and Russia.
This whole thing reminds of the time Turkeys were being butchered right on camera while the American government (Sarah Palin) stood by not addressing the slaughter.
[quote]I hope for Turkey's sake that it can remain as Ataturk intended it to be with his reforms that allowed women's rights and other westernized rights.
I agree. His vision for Turkey was very far advanced over their neighbors.
Who cares what goes on Turkey, it doesn't affect anything here.
Turkeys or Turks, R30?
If the former, blame Thanksgiving.
If the latter, let them kill each other. "Our country" has no business in the mess.
(By "no business" I mean over 120 years of allowing the big banks/corps/media to fund and support and excuse the wholesale murder of Arabs and/or Muslims by our own military, and between Shia and Sunni)
It proves that Ron Paul was right- our attempts to "impost democracy at the barrel of a gun is the reason we keep trying to "soft colonize" these countries.
Gee, guess I was right.
True op, but based on the amount of posts, no one really cares.
The newscasters keep commenting that the area around Taksim Square is where all of the high class hotels are located in Istanbul. Really? The place looks like a shithole.
The residents of Syria
Protests are great, but if you can't win elections, your protests look like sour grapes.
R24 Miss Maria,It's called a chador not a burqa.
Part of my family comes from Turkey. They wre Christians living in a land were they were basically genocide out and massacred and had to leave as survivors. As much as Ataturk tried you cannot take Islam out of that country and culture.Ataturk banned the headscarf for women at first and then allowed it back because so many women refused to go without it.
In addition, the so-called secular forces are seen as very corrupt within Turkey. The secularists and the military presided over so much corruption that it would make what goes on in countries like Greece and Itally look like child's play. Erdogan(because he is a fervent Muslim) was seen as more honest by the majority of the population because they are Muslims as well.Unfortunately, they were semi-right. The economy in Turkey has been booming since he came to power or when the military let him rise to power. However he is slowly introducing Islamic elements back into Turkish society. Ataturk pushed secularism on a system that had only known Islam for hundreds of years. The Islamic parties have far more sympathy in Turkey because 99 percent of the people are Muslim ,the majority is uneducated and the Islamic Ottoman Empire is when Turkey had its heyday to many Turks.
A brief session with google produced the names of about 100 journalists in the United States who have been imprisoned for doing their jobs over the last 30 years. Many of these incidents involved journalists reporting on government misconduct, including investigations of fraud, police brutality, and ongoing criminal proceedings.
If by journalists you include freelance journalists who provided information the government does not want us to know, then the list gets quite long. Obama has directed the imprisonment of several whistle blowers, people who revealed torture programs, details of civilian deaths through drones, government waste, and so forth.
Bradley Manning is in prison and on trial for releasing material. Julian Assange has taken refuge in an embassy to avoid going to federal prison. Reporters covering the Occupy movement have been beaten, cameras confiscated, and jailed. So far no banker has been jailed or war criminals indicted.
Obama has no qualms about doing his own leaking, however. Not that he is any different from other presidents. All of them want the source of an unauthorized leak to go to prison or at least be professionally ruined. All of them want to leak information when they find it useful.
In any case it is not the threat of jail that keeps the press in line. Journalists want a successful career as we all do. To be successful a journalists learns that he or she must go along to get along. He prints the stuff his editor will approve and that won't make so many waves that he will lose his sources.
A journalist from the Soviet Union was interviewed after that country collapsed: "Why did you publish things you knew to be untrue? Why was there not more investigative journalism"
He replied, "We had to follow the rules or get shot. Here reporters censor themselves so they can move up the ladder."
Maybe if the Turks admitted their genocidal past people would care more.
This thread is making me hungry.
[quote]How come Americans can't get this worked up after everything that has happened since 9/11? They are throwing journalists in jail in the US for just reporting on gov't misconduct. Why are Americans so willing to give up their country?
Exactly. Just look at the other thread about the NSA keeping tabs on all our communications. Apparently, a LOT of DLers are willing to succumb to Big Brother.
This is off topic but in the vein of world news. Can someone post a thread to this article stating that Israel is expelling thousands of African immigrants from the country? I find it appalling that God's chosen people who cried about discrimination is doing the same to another set of people
Turkish person living in Istanbul here to answer all questions!
I was in one of the riots last sunday, the protesters have no weapons but the police is still very very violent. First few days they were using tear gas (CS) but they ran out so they moved on to CR and something corrosive. They also use plastic bullets but they shoot them from a few meters so there's no difference btwn. that and a real bullet, several people were killed.
Taksim square and all roads going to Taksim have been under construction for a while because of a pedestrianisation (?) project. Gezi Park is very close to Taksim square and it is a very beautiful neighbourhood with an amazing view of the Bosphorus. There are lots of high profile hotels in the area near the park.
Before there was the park, there was a military barracks constructed in 1806 with the name 'Halil Pasha Artillery Barracks', demolished in 1940.
It is the very same place the 31 March Incident took place in 1909.
(For people who are unfamiliar with Ottoman History, the incident was a religious uprising against Ottoman modernisation and it was put down by troops. Among the officers who came to Istanbul with those troops was Mustafa Kemal, who later took the last name Atatürk and is now the founder of secular Turkey.)
The government wants to demolish the park to build one of those skyscraper-mall-residence all in one things using the barracks as a starting point and the construction company that's supposedly going to do the work belongs to Erdogan's son-in-law. It's obviously a multi million dollar project, Erdogan made about $800million with similar antics.
They first said they were not going to build a mall but an "opera house" but people want that place to stay the way it is! Government now says all they wanted was to restore the historical barracks meaning they wanted to build a huge symbol of islam and secularophobia as I like to call it.
They are now in a no win situation and all they can do is turn the volume up on violence. I might even get arrested for writing this as they are now arresting people for tweets and facebook shares. Erdogan is a bigoted dictator.
My sympathies, R44. It seems as if people in Istanbul are posting on the Guardian website, but the Guardian's comments aren't currently open.
I have been following what has been happening for the last week and a half there and it is trult frightening, particularly for such a (rightly proud) hard-won secular nation.
Selfish aside concerning my own parents: I just returned to the UK 15 days ago from Istanbul, just before it all kicked off (I am an ex-pat American). The most beautiful city I have ever been in. My parents are flying into Istanbul from Frankfurt tomorrow and will be there (in the Sultanahmet) for 4 days - is that area currently safe? They are tough and in great shape (cyclists) but also late 60s/early 70s. There was some unrest going there even when I was there 2 weeks ago.
Please take care of yourself and like I said, the Guardian seems to be a place where people within Istanbul at the moment can find out news. At the moment, there mainly seems to be non-Turks posting, but I noticed that when things really started going down last week that people posting from Istanbul were communicating with each other (and trying to get the truth out, obviously).
R44 Don't worry about your parents, the violent clashes take place during the night about 2 - 3 am and they are now restricted to Taksim and Beşiktaş. During the day everybody minds their own business, goes to work/school, or they stay in the park and have picnics. Including the police. Even if they get caught in the middle of something the protesters are very helpful and since they are mostly well educated 20 - 30 year olds coming from middle class families everybody speaks English and they have medical supplies/extra gas masks with them at all times. I am a medical student but this week taught me more than the last 5 years I spent in school! Who knew anti-acids used for heartburn were the antidote to pepper spray! I will post here again if something changes or the riots spread elsewhere.
Turkish TV and newspapers are mostly owned by Erdogan's circle, so they have no legitimacy at all. I actively use twitter but my parents don't and they watch CNN International or BBC World to get the news. I think that's why Turks are flooding the Guardian with comments.
People that live in Anatolian regions of Turkey or who don't speak English have no idea what's truly going on in Istanbul because of the partisan media.
R40 The Turks see Greeks and Armenians committing atrocities against Muslims at the end of the Ottoman Empire as the pretext for the Greek, Armenian and Assyrian Genocides. Trust me the situation against the Christians was getting worse and worse before The Greeks took over Western turkey and the Armenians were fighting for independent rule. Turks see it as payback BUT they don't learn the real history of what happened just a snippet that evades the total truth. at the same time, a Greek or an Armenian would be loathe to admit that any Ottoman Muslims were killed before the genocides. They were BUT the ethnic cleansing/reprisals by the Ottomans had been so disproportional that one is quite different form the other.
Thank you, R47 - keep safe!
There are so many Turkish people where I live [Green Lanes] in London that I think there are quite a few Anglo-Turks posting on the Guardian as well. I was glad to see people posting and most people were in solidarity with them - the Guardian can be annoyingly censorious, but at least they often leave their comments section open; i.e. they were one of the few UK news outlets that did so after Thatcher's death and one of the few places where people could post negative comments about Thatcher's policies as well. It cheered me to read how determined and passionate the Turkish secular protestors were - much more politically astute than your average Brit or American, I'd say.
Thank you R44 for posting that information. I enjoyed my visits to Istanbul and felt very welcome in that beautiful city. Let's hope that people manage to successfully push back at Erdogan's rule.
Thanks for that, R44. Stay safe and post more updates if you are able.
[quote]We're much too busy with The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and The Real Housewives of New Jersey. We've saved every episode and we watch them over and over.
Don't forget Princesses: Long Island!
I've never felt more uncomfortable than in Istanbul. I am a woman with curly red hair and freckles and, strange as it may sound, that seemed offensive to Turkish men. And before you say it, I know a lot of people don't like redheads.
The news coverage on CNN is a little scary, anytime these governments whip out the year gas, things get out of control fast.
Interesting, R53. I have very dark hair and blue/green eyes; they seemed to like that a lot (I am female). Brits have major problems with redheads too, of course. I once read that dyed red hair is a signifier for prostitution in the Middle East, but I don't know if there is any truth behind that at all.
[quote]Maybe if the Turks admitted their genocidal past people would care more.
One word: Kardashians
I've never been, but from what I hear Istanbul is as secular and cosmopolitan as any other Western city, but the countryside is deeply religious and conservative.
Yeah, like the current-day secular protestors are at fault for Armenia - PLEASE! Talk about a false equivalency.
Thanks very much for your post, R44. Stay safe.
Thank you all for your kind words,
Right now the park and Taksim is very peaceful and quiet since there is no police to fuck things up, people are just chilling as they normally do, but apparently the PM gave orders to the interior minister to take care of the protests within 24 hours so tonight we're expecting real violence, I will keep you posted as much as I can,
I hope they can succeed and block it. Seriously Istanbul needs the green space. I really didn't like it that much when I was there and think it has a beautiful setting but the city itself, especially the old city is in dire need of green space and a clean up. They also harassed the hell out of my partner and I. They meaning the touts and hagglers.
Nice to know we're not the only country that hates our gov't. At least the Turks do something about it to change the course. All we do is change the channel.
Thousands of black-robed Turkish lawyers stormed out of their courthouses Wednesday, shouting about the alleged rough treatment of their colleagues by police amid the country's biggest anti-government protests in years.
The rallies by clapping, chanting jurists added a new twist to the nearly two weeks of protests that started in Istanbul and spread to dozens of other Turkish cities. The protests have shaped up as the biggest test yet in the 10-year rule of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamic-rooted government.
The embattled premier hosted talks with a small group of activists Wednesday afternoon in a bid to end the standoff, though critics in the streets said the 11-person delegation
wasn't representative of the protesters — and insisted it wouldn't end the showdown.
Meanwhile, police and protesters retrenched after fierce overnight clashes in Istanbul's Taksim Square. The protesters say the prime minister is becoming increasingly authoritarian and is trying to force his deep religious views on all Turks, a charge that Erdogan and his allies strongly deny.
In Ankara and Istanbul, thousands of lawyers railed against the alleged rough treatment of dozens of their colleagues, who police briefly detained in Istanbul on the sidelines of Tuesday's unrest.
[quote]They also harassed the hell out of my partner and I. They meaning the touts and hagglers.
I've heard that same complaint from people who've been to Istanbul, Suez, Rome, Palma, Lima, Cartegena, etc., etc. In nearly every case, they were dressed like American tourists. The clothes you wear in a foreign country make a huge difference in the way they treat you. If you blend in with the locals, you won't even see the "touts and hagglers" because they won't know you're there.
The delegation prime minister chose to see was a bunch of celebrities that had nothing to do with the park protests, imagine Obama meeting the Kardashians to solve a political/environmental problem.
R57 Not so much. A lot of country folk move to cities like Istanbul for work so you get the masses and the asses there. In the recent past, there was a protest to have Haghia Sophia become a mosque again. There is a room in a Haghia Sophia that is being used in Hagia Sophia for both Muslim and Christian worship. If the secularists ruled Turkey that might have never happened. Also in Istanbul with all the mosques and the headscarves it has a different feel than any other continental city.
R58 It just didn't happen to Armenians BTW.A greater percentage of the Greek population was killed. Not to mention the Assyrians. That being said, no one is blaming the protestors. People in Turkey learn one side of the story and don't know the truth, how can they be blamed.
R60 Good luck, I hope everything works out there. Erdogan might have been elected be so was Hitler initially. He's acting like a Sultan and he has to be stopped.
Was Erdogan planning on getting rid of the Republic Monument at Taksim Square in order to install a shopping center?
The monument includes Mikhail Frunze and Kliment Voroshilov in the group behind Ataturk; a nod to the military aid given by Vladimir Lenin during the Turkish War of Independence in 1920.
R67 As far as I know there are no plans to move the monument but things like that come out of nowhere in Turkey, tomorrow it might be gone already, but I don't think Erdogan even knows who those people are, he's barely literate.
[quote]Protests are great, but if you can't win elections, your protests look like sour grapes.
You're saying election results are always wise and right? That they're self-justifying? And what on earth does "sour grapes" many anyway? Sounds like nothing more than a convenient way to demonize criticism that you can't refute.
R66 you are absolutely wrong, there is no room being used for Christian services. Where did you get that? Some radical Muslims in Turkey want Hagia Sophia back as a mosque and the mosaics recovered. They are very influential and determined. This, of course - is a horrible idea. In Trabzon they have already taken back the church of Hagia Sophia that dates from the 13th century. This is a nightmare scenario for and world culture on the scale of what the Taliban did in Afghanistan and it's happening right now.
Given Turkey's history, I am very surprised the military is letting this happen. In the past, they would have already overthrown the Prime Minister for even talking about head scarves.
Erdogan has imprisoned many military leaders in a drawn-out trial accusing them of plotting his overthrow. Google "Ergenekon."
R66, Hitler wasn't actually directly elected but managed to wheedle himself into the position of Chancellor through alliances and deals and the weakness of the opposition parties.
Not that I am a fan of Erdogan, but he is hardly Hitler. Also, your (mistaken) argument is an argument against democracy.
I also don't really get what you're saying: you are anti-secularism and pro
an Islamic government?
As someone else pointed out, the claim "there is a room in a Haghia Sophia that is being used in Hagia Sophia for both Muslim and Christian worship" is crap. As is the claim "It just didn't happen to Armenians BTW.A greater percentage of the Greek population was killed."
R71 there's no military to overthrow him anymore, all significant military officers were put in jail a few years ago. Don't get me wrong I don't support military coups, I believe governments should come and go only by elections, but knowing that there IS an army to back the secular state was kind of a relief.. Now it feels like us against them, and they have a freshly militarised police force to unleash upon us.
I am 23, female, I don't believe in a higher power aka god, I have been to some very selective schools and I don't see a future for myself in Turkey because of the direction this country is heading. None of my friends do. I feel we are a minority, because we are treated like one. Marginalised and ostracised. Yes I did grow up in a privileged environment with equally privileged friends and I know how much of a bore it is to hear the well-off bitch and moan but having to consider the idea of moving abroad to maintain a civilised lifestyle is very heartbreaking especially knowing what this country was like when I was little.
When Erdogan was first elected nobody knew what he was like, he came to power promising more freedom and rights to the religious and the underprivileged. In time the underprivileged became completely dependant on his charity which is why they keep supporting him, and the religious became obscenely rich and created a nouveau riche 'elite' that loathe knowledge and hard work and gloat about how they're laughing all the way to the bank with barely an effort other being religious suck ups.
These protests give us much needed hope. Seeing Kurds and Turks, left supporters right supporters, religious and LGBT youth, rich and poor together, getting along, makes me think there might still be hope for Turkey after all.
Apparently the government caved in just now and they're looking into having a referendum.
My best wishes and hopes to you, R74.
I went to turkey in 2011. When you enter the country at the airport they charge you a $20-50 fee cash only. They get about 40 million tourists a year or so. Not all countries have to pay the fee but definitely people from EU, Canada and USA have to pay. That's almost a billion dollars pure cash before you step foot in the country. I know they are stealing it because the museums which are full of invaluable Antiquities is outdated and in impressive. They could have a corporate sponsor modernize the buildings and displays and have a world class's museum. In a way I'm glad the Louvre and Met have so much ancient antiquities because at least it will be safeguarded. Also the side streets and sidewalks are torn up, missing bricks and pavers and are uneven. You have to constantly look down to make sure you don't trip. Pretty much if you are a tourist they are out to cheat you whether it's at the bazaar or taking a taxi etc. however it is a incredible place to visit. They are also doing well economically. They have universal healthcare and a thriving agricultural industry. They definitely have their own thing going on and are very prosperous as a whole. I think they dodged a bullet not being allowed in the EU. I hope it stays secular. I for one like hearing the call the prayer and watching rituals and seeing ancient buildings and artifacts. Also the food is very fresh and healthy. They have a nice quality of life I commend their efforts to fight the despot.
R77 you are so right, such a beautiful country, so little maintenance.
[quote]When you enter the country at the airport they charge you a $20-50 fee cash only.
When we were leaving Sierra Leone, the customs guys at the airport said that there was a new departure fee enacted by their government that morning. It was twenty US dollars, not their money. Since there was only one plane out of there every week, we paid the fee instead of calling them liars.
We paid no fees going into Turkey.
R70 You are absolutely wrong! Shame on you. when you come to a fight bring your game on NOT your lame.In 2006 the Turkish government allocated a small room for prayer for use by Christian and Muslim museum staff.A little victory for Erdogan who would love for it to be a mosque again.
My opinion is that Haghia Sophia should remain a museum. The Muslims can hem and haw all they want but it is not happening.
R77 The dark side is that political Islam will remain alive no matter how hard the secularists in Turkey try to destroy it.Those mosques and calls to prayer are part of the problem really. In Islam God and the government are one. and Turkey's greatest moment was when the Islamic Ottoman Empire was the heir to the Roman Empire and a superpower.
R80, how many Christian museum staff work at Hagia Sophia? Oh, and do the Muslims and Christians worship in the same room?
R77, that's your visa fee. Turks also have to pay a visa fee to enter the Schengen zone, US, Canada, etc.
"I hope it stays secular. I for one like hearing the call the prayer"
Bit of a contradiction?
R79, how did you get a visa to enter Turkey?
So R44 and R74 (and anyone else who currently lives in Turkey), thanks so much for posting! I have so many questions:
Is it a possibility that Turkey could eventually go down the same path that Iran did in 1979 when the Iranian Revolution occurred and the Ayatollah Khomeini became the leader of the country and Iran became extremely conservative? Or is that not even an appropriate comparison?
I'm trying to wrap my mind around all the scenarios that could happen to Turkey in the next few years, but I don't know enough to get a sense for how things are shaping up now to determine things for the next generation.
Would Erdogan like to be "Ayatollah" conservative? (Is that even a fair question or ludicrously inappropriate?)
R74, I can only imagine how you feel as a female who has grown up in a country that seems to be marginalizing you more and more. How much longer can you tolerate living in the current environment? Are there any leading female political leaders in the country or is that too dangerous?
I want Turkey to succeed as a modern Islamic secular country. It sends such a powerful message to the world that a 21st century Islamic nation exists that can allow women (and others who are excluded) to thrive and take part.
What happened to the girl that wrote fuck islam on her boobs in Turkey? Is she still alive?
I have worked with Hagia Sophia for 40 years and I have never heard of a Christian staff worker on payroll. Foreigners have worked there from time to time on their own projects but the employees have always been Turkish and Muslim. I have never seen or heard of a room for Christians to pray in. What room could that possibly be? Since the Islamic party took over Muslims pray secretly in the Sultan's box. There have been attempts and demonstrations by Islamic 'students' recently to seize the museum like Fatih did when Hagia Sophia was converted to a mosque at the time of the conquest. Byzantine stuff is being defaced and destroyed all over the country, the Islamic Turks do not consider it part of their culture or heritage - just stuff they seized in conquest.
Hey cool, r85, what do you do in Hagia Sophia?
It's very sad about the Byzantine stuff - they tend to forget that Hagia Sophia was built by the "Romioi" (Byzantine) emperors and was am Orthodox Christian church for a millennium.
Good luck, r74!
This thread is making me Hungary.
It's Julie's fault, showing her camel toe over there and stirring them up.
R82, Hello! Thank you for even reading those long long messages. I am R44 and R74, both the same person! I'll try to answer your questions as thoroughly as I can.
I don't think it's possible to turn Turkey into Iran right this second, the protests are very different than the Iranian Revolution. Very peaceful, until the police arrives, and even then people don't fight back they just resist. Some conspiracy theorists say Erdogan is letting the police violence get out of hand so he can call force majeure which would allow him to change the constitution. He is in a no win situation, he needs to change the constitution to stay where he is, he can't be elected a 4th time because of his own partys rules. He wants to establish a presidential system like America so he can be Mr. President. His election strategy relies on divide and conquer, that's why he keeps repeating the 'its us against them I got P of the votes' speech, he tried to use the protests to create a momentum for himself by name calling and defamation but that only made him look more like a dictator, he's getting backlash from his own party and voters. Don't get me wrong he still gets a lot of support from the poor and the ignorant, also the super rich support him because they get to earn more money with him in charge, but he's getting some serious backlash nevertheless. But I don't expect things to get better in the next few years because they carefully fucked up the educational system, the up and coming generation is just as ignorant, just as bigoted and just as illiterate, as Erdogan likes them, young and impressionable. Maybe the generation after that might get a better chance.
I come from a very matriarchal household, my mother and father both work in finance, both have MBA's and post graduate diplomas, dad has been an atheist from a very young age, mom has some kind of belief in god I presume but she doesn't have a religion. Now dads slowly retiring and taking up gardening but my mom is really good at her job so she's not planning on retiring anytime soon. She wears the pants in the family. She's the boss. I grew up with her as a role model, but now I look at the politicians and see there are no female political leaders whatsoever. Turkey had a female prime minister years ago, after her things went downhill for women. There are about 80 women in the parliament but only 1 is a minister, and that is the Minister of Family and Social Policy. How very predictable.
As a young woman living in Istanbul I don't feel any pressure on me but if my family wasn't this modern I definitely would be in hot water about what I wear, who I go out with, where I go, where I live, what I do for a living.. Still I am planning to move to London after graduation because I know I will be underestimated and undervalued in Turkey because of my gender.
Just got a text from a friend in Taksim, apparently they're given until 4 PM to clear the park and leave, now everyone's waiting to see what'll happen at 4. Also the minister of health declared they will be taking legal action against any doctor treating patients in Gezi Park but that's not surprising since the police invaded the Court of Justice two days ago to arrest attorneys and prosecutors that support the protests.
How receptive might you be to ideas of socialism? And turning toward the working-class as a social force even if you yourself are not out of that class?
I know you said alot of people are ignorant or backwards, or are bought off by charities that channel them back toward the Islamist/conservative/AKP millieu (surely that's not all layers of the working-class?) but with no mass socialist alternative that speaks to their socioeconomic conerns what are they supposed to do? I think the worst thing this protest movement could do is become SOLELY about upper-middle-class cultural concerns, and be condescending, dismissive, or opposed to poorer people, or to tie itself to the Kemalist wing of the elite, or to American imperialism. That was part of the reason I was actually very suspicious of Iran's 'Green Revolution'.
R91 I completely understand where you're coming from and you are absolutely right, one of the important reasons AKP is in power is the simple fact that there is no alternative. CHP, the main opposition party, fails to embrace a wide variety of classes. But that's why the protesters don't accept anyone with a political affiliation to take charge, there are no parties responsible and there are some very wealthy people resisting side by side with the homeless. People are becoming more and more aware of the fact that they're living on charity and it is not the a courtesy for a government to offer help to those in need, it is a duty but still most stay in the dark.
The problem with these protests is that everyone is protesting something else at the moment. Environmentalists are protesting Erdogan's vulgar and destructive carelessness. Upper middle class protest against his constant meddling and need to dictate people what to do. Women are fighting to maintain their hard earned rights. Kurds want something else, nobody knows whether they want a country of their own or some privileges or just the opportunity to lead a normal life but they are there and they are peacefully protesting. The working class wants their dignity back. LGBT groups are there offering much needed help. Religious groups are protesting against the use of religion in politics, they want some things to stay sacred.
It's very easy for Erdogan to end the protests with a 2 sentence declaration, because he's the only common point.
Hi, "The Turk" - thanks for all your updates. With so much of the academia/establishment revolting - lawyers walking out en masse; doctors treating would protestors; the (Kemalist) military giving sanctuary to the protestors - how long can Erdogam continue saying that the "people" of Turkey want his so-called reforms? It seems that in Istanbul and Ankara that most pillars of society are actively or tacitly protesting his government - if he has all of middle class and educated classes protesting, where will he get support from?
Also, final question (sorry, just interested) - it seems as if most of the Turks I have ever met in Sweden / London have been extremely well educated, though often taking on far more menial jobs in the new countries. As most of these were guest workers (now citizens) for economic reasons and not political refugees, does this mean that public education was in a very good state say 20-40 years ago? Was there free university education?
(sorry - I was R93, not R91).
He gets support from the ends of the spectrum, extremely rich and extremely poor. And there's always the devout religious he can exploit. The last time around bags full of stamped ballot papers were found in a garbage dump. Long dead people were named as voters in the local elections. The government is corrupt. Who knows whats going on behind closed doors.
We still have free, well almost free, university education. The problem is before university level, primary schools and high schools are all corrupt. Young people don't want to go to school because the example infront of them is an illiterate airhead that's doing extremely well. They know it's no use whatever you do to educate yourself, the only sure way of securing a better life is joining some sort of religious cult. (Erdogan was famously in one of those, he still is)
So much fuss about turkey and it's not even thanksgiving
Power to the people in Turkey!
Minister of EU Affairs just released one hell of a press release, it is the most vulgar and the single most embarrassing thing I've ever read. It starts by stating that "some EU parliamentarians are using their right to blether. We respect their rights. We pray to god so they can find their lost minds as soon as possible". Then he attacks EU and says EU politics are "losers" and "Tayyip Erdogan is the most charismatic, strongest leader of Europe" and continues by basically saying if they feel threatened by his general awesomeness that's not his problem.
I translated the parts in quotes word by word. The rest is not very different. I really wish everyone could read and understand the original version of this press release, translated version is going to be much more mild and sensible.
These people have lost it.
[quote]How receptive might you be to ideas of socialism? And turning toward the working-class as a social force even if you yourself are not out of that class?
Yes, that worked so well for the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, North Korea...
Turkey: Erdoğan threatens to 'clean' Gezi Park of 'terrorists' – live coverage
Live• Turkish PM tells protesters to leave
• Move comes after ruling party figure moots referendum
• Demonstrators gather in Gezi Park
• Summary of key events so far
R101 does not follow world affairs. China soon to be world Number One economy.
R103, the Chinese economy is pretty much a capitalist economy these days. China is the world's largest state with 1/5 of the world's population, it should therefore have been the number one economy decades ago. But, funnily enough, when it was sticking to pure socialism, it's economy wasn't doing so well.
R91's opening two sentences were so funny.
Yes China is a capitalist country but the commies make so there are literally no rights for anyone but them.
Governer of istanbul is accepting groups of protesters near Dolmabahce Palace right now, prime minister is in talks with more sensible and involved celebrity figures in Ankara. Fate of istanbul will be determined tonight. Taksim is like a festival. Earlier in the day the pm asked mothers and fathers to reach out to their children in the park and gave them a final warning, tonight there are hundreds of mothers forming a human chain around the protesters. In the middle of the grup right under the statue there is a piano, a protestor is playing music. But despite the peaceful portrait there are still about 15 buses full of police waiting down the street. I cant access internet frequently today as im barely at home but ill try to update you as much as i can from my ipad whenever i find wifi.
There is a court ruling temporarily shutting down the demolition of the park, they are waiting for the final verdict. If court allows them to demolish it they are going to do a public voting. That's the final solution they came to. Sadly everything is about the park again and abusive police & dictator Erdogan are probably going to get away with it.
[quote]There is a court ruling temporarily shutting down the demolition of the park,
That's a bit of help.
Things took a really nasty turn as of 8 pm this evening. It's 3 am and I just made it home. Last night the governor and the PM both met with demonstrators and things seemed to calm down a bit but today people decided to stay in the park because this is not just about a park it's about freedom.
The PM and his party had a rally today in Ankara which was a huge failure, after the failed rally they announced in Istanbul that everyone should leave and anyone refusing to leave or trying to access Taksim Square will be treated as a terrorist and they started gassing people. And it was much worse than anything we've seen so far.
Lots of kids were at the park with their parents and they got gassed. Protestors found refuge at a nearby hotel but the police raided the hotel to arrest people and they bombed the lobby w/ tear gas. But now they can't handle it because every single person in Istanbul is on the streets so they called the gendarmerie to help!
Another horrible detail: today they're using an unknown chemical with pepper spray, whatever they're using literally burns the skin, volunteer lawyers and doctors are collecting evidence.
Young Turk, thanks for update; glad you are safe. The Guardian is saying that the Ankara rally had "tens of thousands" of Erdogan supporters - true or not?
Thank you R113! They managed to gather a little less than 30.000 people after advertising for weeks and threatening government workers with their jobs but they were aiming for around 100.000. 30.000 is definitely not a small number but for Erdogan especially in such a critical time it's a failure.
Thanks so much for posting here, R112.
More balls than most Americans, obviously. For now.
Corrosive chemicals in water and pepper spray used by police have been confirmed. Today Erdogan is having another big rally, this time in Istanbul, they brought additional police and military police from other cities to keep things under control. European side of Istanbul is under lockdown and police are waiting by the doors not letting anyone out their houses. This morning police arrested doctors and medical students offering first aid.
This just gets worse and worse.
How is Erdogan having day-upon-day of political rallies not INFLAMING the situation??? Bloody hell.
The credit boom is built on the sands of banknotes and deposits. It must collapse... If the credit expansion is not stopped in time, the boom turns into the crack-up boom; the flight into real values begins, and the whole monetary system founders. – Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, 1949
He's moved on to trying to ban C-sections and abortions now. People are still protesting. Yesterday a performance artist stood still for several hours, thats as peaceful protest as it gets, oh no he was still taken under custody for "resisting the police by standing still". Pot bashing and street walking has unfortunately died down.
[quote]Yesterday a performance artist stood still for several hours, that's as peaceful protest as it gets, oh no he was still taken under custody for "resisting the police by standing still".
I heard that on BBC last night.
Isn't it Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
who infamously said:
“There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”
His party is an Islamic party, but is considered “moderate” as such things go, at least by the wishful-thinking dhimmi politicians and media pundits of the West.
Apparently, however, he’s sick of the “moderate” label being bandied about. He’d like to remind everybody that, just as there is only one Allah, there is only one Islam. None of this “moderate” crap for him!
When they show you who they are...believe them.
R124 exactly. I believe his plan is ostracising Turkey by burning bridges with EU & NATO so he can move forward with his Islamification process.
Yesterday he attacked a very famous, VERY VERY selective American high school without naming names. Imagine Eton College & Lawrenceville School caliber. Huge huge school. Today all of his (well they are his) newspapers are giving names and pointing fingers saying the foreign teachers forced the students to attend protests.
Just when you think he's hit rock bottom he digs himself a deeper hole.
During the protests a young man named Ethem Sarisuluk was shot in the head by a police officer, he died at the scene. Today they released the policeman and the court case closed. SELF DEFENSE. What a shit country I'm living in..