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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Turkish Protests Bring Together Opposing Groups

A protester chants slogans during a demonstration at the Gezi park of Taksim square in Istanbul on Thursday, June 6, 2013. (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)

A protester chants slogans during a demonstration at the Gezi park of Taksim square in Istanbul on Thursday, June 6, 2013. (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)

Turkey’s embattled prime minister is sounding a defiant note, saying he will go ahead with plans to build on a park and redevelop a square in the heart of Istanbul despite massive protests.

The protests began small. Last week a few activists camped out in Gezi Park in Taksim Square, central Istanbul, to save trees slated to be cut down for the building projects.

The government set their tents on fire and used tear gas against them. The protest grew.

In this photo taken late Wednesday, June 5, 2013, an injured Turkish protester is helped by friends after they clashed with riot police in Ankara, Turkey. (AP)

In this photo taken late Wednesday, June 5, 2013, an injured Turkish protester is helped by friends after they clashed with riot police in Ankara, Turkey. (AP)

Police responded with high-pressure water hose and more tear gas, along with rubber bullets, but instead of dousing the protest, the police actions ignited a nationwide movement against the Turkish government.

Turkey is officially a secular state, but the conservative Justice and Development party that has governed the country for the last decade has deep Islamist roots, which have led many observers to ask if this national protest is the opening up of a long simmering Islamist-Secular divide.

But Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir, a protester and activist told Here & Now’s Robin Young, “that is too simple a narrative for what is going on.”

“This is a very interesting moment in Turkish history,” she said. “For the first time, in this very polarized Turkish context, we are seeing different groups being much closer to each other. There is, for instance, a group called ‘Anti-Capitalist Islamists’ partaking in this protest. There are women in headscarves, there are people who formerly voted for the Justice and Development Party in this protest. There is a lot of camaraderie.”

Two people have died in the protests, another is on life support and about 1,000 have been wounded, medical services and rights groups say.

Guest:

  • Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir, lecturer in the graduate program at Middle East Technical University in Ankara. She’s also director of the university’s Science and Technology Museum. She tweets @tugbatanyeri.

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  • krmcn

    Really excellent interview.  So useful to have someone on the ground knocking down the lies of the official media and explaining the context.

    People might also read Being Different in Turkey, a reoport by Turkish journalists and academics  published by the Open Society Institute.

    http://www.aciktoplumvakfi.org.tr/pdf/tr_farkli_olmak.pdf

  • Yesim

     I am not so sure what it really said there, but I wonder instead of saying married/single, they used something like this, man/woman/single.  Woman is “Kadın” and as a spouse you can say “Karı” (which is kind of vulgar if you use it all by itself) so mostly people use spouse “Eş”.  Yet, to introduce somebody’s wife, “karım” or “eşim” is fine ..  BTW, single is “Bekar” (which is used for both of the unmarried sexes) whereas “Bakire” is virgin.

    • TribalGuitars

       It was on an episode of “The Travelers”, when the group went to Turkey. Their female guide (she was in her early 20′s)  pointed  out, when ID was required for something they were doing, that there was a assumption by the patriarchal government that founded the modern Turkey  that women supposed to be virgins if they weren’t wives.  I remember that the guide made it clear that she was not a wife and decidedly not a virgin, to the amused look of the cast member.

  • Yesim

    Thanks for this interview.  I really liked the questions as it made the situation very clear for everybody especially since there wasn’t much of a press coverage of this.  It seems like most of the middle aged and older generations in Turkey didn’t know what was going on in their own country :-(

  • ahmetepic

    East or west ÇARŞI group are the best. We the ÇARŞI group are “chouplers” Choupling is in submission is out!..

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