With regards to freedom of speech, Turkey and China are almost at eye level. But the AKP’s recent crackdown on protesters is only the most obvious symptom of a creeping concentration of power that has been going on for several years.
Turkey transforms into a dictatorship. President Erdogan uses Islam to consolidate his power. So Turkey isn’t a democracy any more. Is Islam to blame for this?
The protests in Turkey are the result of the AKP’s authoritarian approach to democracy. But can they outlive their spontaneous roots and mature into a long-term oppositional force?
On Saturday night, police started to evict protesters from Istanbul’s Gezi Park. But for Erdogan, it’s too little too late. The protests have turned from a fight over urban spaces into a fight against the government.
In the streets of Istanbul, a new democratic spirit is taking root. But the violent repression of dissent shows that it cannot flourish as long as Erdogan remains in charge.
Angela Merkel’s chancellorship now depends on Mr. Edogan of Turkey and Mr. Seehofer of Bavaria. That doesn’t bode well for her. Meanwhile the Right is gaining strength throughout Europe.
The eruption of protest in Istanbul and other Turkish cities expresses vigorous opposition to the politics of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and frustration over the lack of alternatives.
Bedri Baykam has been an opposition leader in Turkey for more than twenty years. He talked with Martin Eiermann about the significance of the current protests, Turkey’s quest for EU membership, and what it takes to build the world’s best democracy.
The on-going anti-government protests in Turkey demonstrate the pitfalls of majoritarian style democracy and the need for broader reforms to address underrepresented groups in the country.
The future of the Turkish protest movement is unpredictable after the clearing of Taksim Square and Gezi Park– in contrast to the government’s reaction. As long as Erdogan remains in power, we can expect harsh police tactics and a narrow definition of democracy.