Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Turkeys Coming Home to Roost?

The crowd at Taksim Square (AP Photo by Kostas Tsironis)
The parallels seem deliciously endless in number and category. A week’s worth of unrest in Turkey, spreading from Constantinople (Bolis) to other cities, could go to unpredictable places, both good and bad.
Already, I’ve heard that the AKP’s (ruling party) youth wing is tussling with others. What does this suggest? Is it an indicator that the party feels threatened and is unleashing its thugs? Contradicting this is the reality that Erdogan left the country for a couple of days. This is an indication of confidence, although it could just be another manifestation of his renowned arrogance.
The first thing that came to mind when I heard about these goings-on is “are the Islamists (Gulenjees, perhaps) and the secularists (Ataturkjees) butting heads in what could be the beginning of something big?” This was reinforced by the opinion I read that the situation could devolve into civil war.
Imagine, something that started as simply as a protest to save Gezi Park (evidently the only remaining green space in Bolis), could spark huge changes. Here, we have a parallel with the successful struggle to save Yerevan’s Mashdotz Park. This also speaks to how fundamentally important environmental issues are to life. The police overreacted, using water cannons and tear gas— and here we have the parallel to the Egyptian government’s overreaction to the demonstrations in Cairo during the “Arab Spring” just over two years ago.
Ultimately, the government stood down, and I saw pictures of the demonstrators cleaning up the mess, not the authorities! And here’s another parallel, to the “occupy” movement that establish self-governing mini-communities throughout the U.S. In fact, I even saw “Occupy Gezi Park” thrown out as a term/name.
Various “man on the street” interviews portrayed this outpouring as a reaction to Prime Minister Erdogan’s increasingly repressive government. Interestingly, he attributed this outpouring to the political opposition and “foreign” ties. The latter accusation is particularly ironic given Turkey’s involvement in “promoting” the Arab Spring actions as part of its grand, neo-Ottoman delusions, er, excuse me, designs, on the Middle East. Turkey meddled in Libya, and is the main conduit for supplies going to the rebel forces fighting the Syrian government. Given this history, it would be no surprise if other countries have decided to “return the favor” by stirring the pot in Turkey. The three most likely countries are Syria, Iran, and Russia, all of whom have every reason to desire revenge against Turkey for its international shenanigans, particularly the murderous outcome we’re seeing in Syria. It is also a way for these countries (and perhaps others, too) to tell the U.S. and Europe to “back off” after the mess they’ve created in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
Finally, what is very intriguing is a hit piece on Turkey that already appeared in a Jewish publication (The Tablet). This struck me as odd since it seemed to me relations between Turkey and Israel were on the mend. Perhaps there’s more going on in the background in this relationship. Otherwise, it’s just plain weird that such a strongly anti-Turkey piece should appear so soon after the protests in Turkey started.
Keep a very close eye on this. Perhaps this is indeed a “Turkish Spring” in the making. If so, we should strive to also make it an Armenian, Assyrian, Greek, and Kurdish Spring, simultaneously.

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