June 17, 2013
Is this a Turkish Spring?
Things are quiet in Turkey, the quiet of police control. Taksim Square and Gezi Park are occupied, by riot police and unbreathable air. But on their cell phones, on Twitter and Facebook, Turks are talking about how to get out from under the government's thumb. There are some resemblances to the Solidarity movement of the 1980s in Poland, especially with a meeting tonight of major Turkish trade unions to consider how to support what has become a general rebellion against the autocratic behaviors of their prime minister. A potentially closer analogue is the putative "Arab Spring," that was proudly announced by President Obama several years ago. That movement for social and political change fizzled in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria. At issue here is the conflict between democracy and rule of law pitted against central control and the government's attempt to reverse Ataturk's secularization/modernization of Turkey. While the protesters are probably not...(Read Full Post)