Turkey is founded on the bones and blood of 4 million genocided Christian Greeks Assyrians and Armenians - the original inhabitants of Asia Minor. It is a parastate that has survived the post cold War era simply due to the West's continued support...of a misguided policy and inability to understand that a secular Islamic state can never exist. It is a fraud and has been from the start.
He can crackdown as hard and violently as he wants. Obama will do nothing but talk - and keep sending the aid money for Erdogen to finish the Islamization already underway.
The Bros. in Egypt will do the same very soon.
Incredibly insightful. How sad, yet it seems like the only hope to prevent Turkey from going backwards. I "pray" that there is no more bloodshed, especially of young people.
I can hardly call this article a piece of journalism.
The article is a candid reflection of Ms Berlinski's agenda and her wishful thinking for how she likes to picture Turkey. Majority of Turkey's population are still happy with Erdogan administration. This is a fact. There obviously are enough number of people who can misuse innocent protests like this to make them look like real huge issues. There are several groups in Istanbul and in Turkey who are readily available to join any protests, only to draw attention to their own agenda. I do respect to the core group who wanted to protect Gezi Parki sincerely. Unfortunately Erdogan handled it very poorly in the first few days.
Ms. Berlinski: Wait to see... It is too phony a reason for Erdogan to lose over something like this. Turkey is not going thru any kind of "Spring" as you truly know but not say. I suggest that you find something better...
Claire...I am old enough to be your father...Please leave Istanbul!
I never miss Claire's dispatches from Istanbul, but now she's become indispensable. Keep up the great work!
While I support what Claire Berlinski is saying abot RT Erdogan, she got one thing wrong. Taksim Park has never been an Armenian Cemetery. It was part of the Artillery officers complex built in 1773 by Sulatn Abdulhamit 1 that includes today's Taskisla (where the Istanbul Technical University is located) as barracks for the artillerey troops. The artillery troops participated in the 1909 upraising and the site was taken over by the Union and progress party. Because of this background the newly established Turkish Repiblic Government razed the barracks in 1930's and turhned it into a football stadium. In 1940's The stadium was rased and the area was converted into a city park.
I tried to email this article to friends in Turkey (for obvious reasons)! but it kept refusing " valid address"?
I tried to email this article to friends in Turkey (for obvious reasons)! but it kept refusing " valid address"?
It just occurred to me that my last post could be taken seriously and promote anti-Semitism. Folks, it was totally in jest, irony, and sarcasm. Jews are as closely associated with the problems in Turkey (and every other country, for that matter) as... as...as a fish is with a bicycle.
Claire's a fine reporter and writer (try her spy novels!), but she missed the boat on this one. Nary a word about the Zionist Entity's being behind the murder and mayhem. Isn't it Israeli apartheid that's responsible? World Jewry controlling the outcome, the banks, insurance companies, and all other important institutions? The Mossad is obviously the organizer. Until the obvious-yet-subtle Jewish connection in the conspiracy is revealed, the reportage is incomplete. (In the meantime, we'll have to depend on the inevitable Haaretz exposee.)
I ought to say that this article is best of the best which emphasized all the truth that had happened and had been seen my own eyes in my hometown Istanbul.
you lost me from the beginning. The park is a lovely oasis in the center of the city that I have been going to regularly for years. From your descriptionn in the beginning I doubt you've set foot in it. the rest of your story I perused. I now question your general reporting. And no used condoms, it's too well maintained for that.
Us Turks will win this fight against the Dictator Erdogan against his brutal regime and against islam. We will get back to our roots eventually sooner or later. Turks are waking up and seeing that islam is not good for them and its not the religion of the Turks. Turks ancient religion is Tengriism. But first we need to take Erdogan down and we are getting very close to our goal. Thanks to everybody who supports us in this diffucult time.
With this being his best friend, what does it say about Obama?
Cristina Kirchner is watching Erdoğan, taking careful notes, seeing what she wants to see.
For once we seem to have a reverse arab spring, where a muslim brotherhood dominated government is being brought down by non muslim dominated elements. For that reason, this time obama will probably support the government.
BTW, great article. I love reading your columns.
"a shrewd politician should make so grievous a tactical blunder."
He's not shrewd, he meant the sharia take over all along. Have you not been following the news?
The entire ME is about to explode. They do not want the wack job islamist nuts sort of government. Now a centan % does, but the ones that don't, do not control the election booths.
This will not end well for the world.
A clear, detailed, powerful, and incisive article. Thank you for offering more depth of understanding than all the articles I've read so far in the various "standard" newpapers.
Great article that gives even someone who has never visited Istanbul a clear view of the landscape. As someone who has been many times and counts several Turks among my friends, this helps piece together much of what I've read on social media.
I've seen the multitudes pouring into Taksim Square. Likewise, my heart breaks when I read of the injured and the casualties among both man and beast. Some of these street dogs are the famed Anatollian shepherd, a breed believed to have been on the Ark. The Turkish Van cats, the swans -- It takes a black heart to shoot a swan.
And that's what this is. It's the destruction of art and beauty and the things that bind a people together, their cultural markers. Istanbul is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, straddling two great continents, Asia and Europe. There is a diversity and yet a timelessness. While rural Turkey tends to be more fundamentalist, close-minded and backwards.
There are a majority of Turks who wouldn't mind an Islamic government. But they don't live in Istanbul. Erdogan is attempting a purge on one of the friendlier Muslim countries open to Western travelers at present. The protestors are to be commended for fighting to not only preserve their culture, but also Istanbul's wonderful hospitality to the rest of the world.
The protests are about authoritarianism, plain and simple. What will happen now is anyone’s guess...
I'll take a guess.
The Authoritarian Islamist will use all the power available to crush the people's will to think for themselves. Islam cannot survive w/o killing its political opponents. I search in vain for a contra example.
For incisive insight on the precariousness of Turkey's economy, and its connection to the current social unrest, see http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-02-030613.html
We all know who Obama supports. (Hint: Not the protesters).
Great article. You are a true Istanbullu.
Claire that was a brilliant piece of writing. Loved it. Perfect ending. Let us hope we also get a perfect ending to this madness.
It is not a coincidence that Erdogan is Obamas go-to politician in this part of the world.
Accusing Erdogan for authoritarianism or Turkish police for brutality is like discovering fire.
The same secular forces still vow themselves to Kemal with the same religious fervour as an AKP supporter has for Allah. And that's because secular Turkish parties in the past had no respect whatsoever to values such as democracy or state of law (or at least they respected as much as the army let them). And ironically Erdogan in the beginning was much more democratic than all these secular parties combined.
Of course, after more than 10 years in power, with increasing poll results and an economy that looks better than ever he became more authoritarian. But, remember that 7 years ago the Army (and secularists) threatened an intervention before the general elections.
The bottom line is that for many decades the secular political forces were the ones that built this type of police. They were the ones that let the army interfering at will cracking down brutally every opposition. So, to complain about these things now it's at least ironic. And still today we learn about the victims. Whatever happened to the victims 20-30-40 years ago.
Like all dictators, Erdoğan uses rural police against urban rioters. Two scores are settled that way.
Erdogan was just in Washington being feted by his good buddy Barack Obama. Seems natural they would be friends, they have so much in common.
I agree with Firat Ergun. Great reportage Ms. Berlinski. One can only hope that the spirit of freedom and progressive change unleashed by Erdogan's arrogance and authoritarianism will not be crushed by his police, who I suspect are capable of the same vicious brutality of their forefathers (and law enforcers the world over motivated by religion or ideology). If Erdogan genuinely cares about preserving some semblance of a positive reputation in the international community, as I'm almost certain he does, he will stand down from any further use of confrontational rhetoric and bullying of his own people. For those of us Erdogan-watchers who appreciate history's great ironies, seeing him (from afar thankfully) morphing into a leader of Nixonian qualities has been edifying, to say the least. Let us all hope and/or pray that the Turkish people will rise up at next year's election and, as we say, "throw the bum out!" The last thing Turkey or this planet needs is another dictator, which is what Erdogan is certain to become if he is reelected.
Erdogan has been a shrewd politician -- up to now. His slow strangulation of Western habits -- like drinking alcohol and women in public without hair covering -- attest to his fundamentalist predispositions and adherence to Sunna.
His peacemaking with the PKK is Machiavellian: He needs a counterweight to Shi'a and the growing power of Iran. For now, strategic considerations outweigh territorial disputes with minorities. (The PKK have no illusions about the nature of this situational rapprochement.)
But remaking the Caliphate has definitely hit a speed bump and may have to wait. A significant part of the citizenry has been Westernized and does not want to go back to pre-Ataturk days. Erdogan will have to make some sort of peace with this element, too, or face a future with simmering unrest in the urban centers of Anatolia.
Nice article. I wish I had your pensmarkship! I was in Akaretler on Sunday night where I have gained a lot of respect for the youth of this country, and a greater disdain for this government and the muppets acting as the police.
I am a bit cynical as to the outcome of this mini revolt as way too much has been invested over the last decade just to be brushed aside by the opposition. This will not happen easily...
One obvious strength of this government is its ability to work the system and organize -- a trait that is definitely not a Turkish strong point.
Nice work, Claire. What must happen there, do you think, for anyone apart from your fans (I write as one) to take any inyerest?
Zozoulia is right. Surely the Jews must be responsible for this unlawful mayhem. It couldn't possibly be because Erdogan is a hateful, despicable thug whose hardline Islamic rule has finally exhausted the patience of the Turkish people.
Our gal in Istanbul is amazing. Love reading Claire's in-depth articles and her writing style.
What a dynamic lady.
I just hope the pressure continues and this isn't all forgotten in two or three months.
It is commendable to see people of Turkey fight back against Islamist authoritarian thug-ocracy.
Too bad the people trusted Erdogan in the first place. For anyone who has been watching Turkey from a distance over the past seven years, he actions do not come as a surprise.
I wonder if the American Left is paying attention.
The Turkish people need to remember their glorious past as a people who strongly supported a SECULAR form of Islam.
All of Erdogan's excesses have come as a result of his crackdown on freedom, and the rights of the Turkish people to live their lives AS THEY PLEASE, not as Erdogan pleases.
Never heard of name Claire Berlinski until the power of social media makes me access to this article of hers. Amazed by the tiniest little details she has included in this article that reflects nothing but the truths about whats been happening in Turkey lately, i have to admit that she has done a fantastic job with this article. Thaks a lot and thumbs up for this one. Keep up the good work. You sure gained a follower today!
I likened long ago Erdogan to Gorbachev. Both unleashed the forces of democracy without truly understanding either its nature or its power. Democracy is beautiful, just like a sailboat crossing the waters, but few people appreciate the magnitiude of the forces that make up that beautiful image. The disintegration process is now visible, with just the tip of the tip of the iceberg discernible to the common eye.
Protestors are just that ilk, they know what they don't want, but don't know what they ultimately want. Just chaos. No target to aim at, merely disgust with their life position and wanting to take it out on the leadership. So it is, so it always has been. No hope, what else to do with life? Suffer? Bah, that's the route Christ took, and so let's ignore our life's pain and use the Islamic philosophy to impose pain upon others.
Eventually Erdogan will blame all this on the Mossad and demand that Israel apologize and pay compensation.
Thanks so much for writing an article I can direct my friends and family to read as they try to understand what is going on in my adopted country.
Agree with Karolus-an outstanding article which explains the situation movingly and precisely-the best I have read on this depressing subject!
Thank you very much for this most outstanding piece of reporting on the unexpected development in Istanbul and cities in Turkey!
Things are coming unglued in a general way in the middle east, it seems. Each sold separately may not be the watchword. Details will differ from place to place, and they matter, but could there be a bigger picture?
This sounds complicated. People are upset both about traffic and the construction of a mew bridge...
I say that it's best to stay out of it, but the super-human level of caring is undeniable.