Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Understanding the Turkish Protests part 2

Many of the protestors are young 30 and 20 somethings tired of the three major political parties -- AKP, CHP, and MPH. AKP, as many know by now, holds the current majority in the parliament and is an Islamic, conservative party. CHP is an older party that can be thought of as the guardians of the ideals of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic. MHP is generally thought to be an ultra-nationalist party. The latter two parties are not very popular among younger professional Turks, in fact, all three of the parties aren't really speaking to this group of voters. They were content when AKP originally got into the parliament because in those days, AKP was focusing on liberalizing the political life to include conservatives and economic development. But after the most recent election, PM Tayyip Erdogan began a campaign of restricting various freedoms; in addition, he took the winning of 50% of the voting public to mean that he could rule as he sees fit without compromise or question.

The Gezi Park and Taksim Square protestors were violently ejected from those areas by police. Out of that actions and the threats of more police force from the PM, the protest took an interesting twist in the form of the "Standing Man" (or duran adam). One protestor decide to simply stand and stare at a Turkish flag with the image of Ataturk on it in Taksim Square and the #duranadam movement was born.
Now you can search on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for #duranadam and find photos of people simply standing in protest of the actions and words of the PM Tayyip Erdogan. Hopefully standing will not be declared illegal in the coming days, but there is a draft law in the works to limit social media, the current main source of reliable news.

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