A different Turkey is born after Gezi Park demonstrations

A different Turkey is born after Gezi Park demonstrations


By Manolis Kostidis – Istanbul

Analysts speak of “Quake that shook the entire country”

Who Erdogan considers to be Turkey’s new enemies

Since protests and clashes started on the streets of Turkey on May 31st, the notion of the internal enemy has changed for the Erdogan government. The PKK was once considered the internal enemy, and later members of paramilitary organization Ergenekon. Officials always spoke of the Kurdish organization’s actions and the conspiracies of Ergenekon against the Turkish government.

Political analysts believe, if one carefully examines Erdogan’s recent statements and those of government officials, it is evident “middle-class Turks (note: they are called White Turks in the neighboring country), entrepreneurs, the interest rate lobbies, journalists, artists and ecologists” are the new internal enemies. This is almost everyone who condemned the government during protests sparked by the Gezi park issue.

The Justice and Development Party appears to be rapidly moving away from the center-right conservative party image, that of a party fighting for the country’s democratization.

Analysts estimate the party is turning into a purely Islamic, Sunni, conservative party that wants to impose on the entire population the lifestyle designed by Erdogan himself for the Turkish people.

“From “Kemalism”, which tried to force the European lifestyle on the Turkish people, we are shifting to “Erdoganism” which the absolute opposite and entails its own imposements” a University professor at a large Turkish University told me.

“Turkey resembling middle-east regime”

Radikal newspaper columnist Cuneyt Ozdemir writes: “Turkey has entered a new era. Erdogan’s speeches showed that. They are trying to create a new regime, seen in many Middle East countries. We know very well the regimes that strengthen intelligence authorities, the police becomes the government’s bat, the differences of various religions are evident, conspiracy theories are constantly referred to, the sole leader addresses large crowds, the media can’t broadcast anything other than the leader’s speeches, the press is censored, artists are considered enemies, social networks are seen as a nuisance and are restricted”.

Dangerous statements causing division

“Some protesters stormed into the mosque with their shoes and consumed alcohol.” The Prime Minister repeated this claim in many of his speeches, attempting to take a tough tone against protestors. Other members of the government spoke of attacks against women wearing head scarves. However, it is feared such statements may arouse fanatical Islamists to commit acts of violence against more “modern” Turks.

“The division of society is upon us” political analysts say.

“We have forgotten in this country that a rumor of a bomb placed in a mosque resulted in people being in the streets. It is forgotten, that again one piece of gossip caused thousands of fanatics to corner and set fire to dozens of people”, Cuneyt Ozdemir says, stressing how dangerous the situation is.

“Gezi Park was an earthquake that shook the whole of Turkey”

Events caused by the Gezi park situation showed the anger that had been brewing for many years. There was a sudden eruption, just like an earthquake occurs when energy accumulates beneath the earth’s surface. “The entire country was shaken with Gezi park as the epicenter” Nazli Ilicak comments in Sabah newspaper, adding that the Turkish Prime Minister has contacted sociologists to infer the causes of this outburst.

Erdogan regroups powers

After the “earthquake”, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is attempting to rally his party’s supporters and has set victory in the 2014 local elections as his goal.

Despite his efforts, however, it is considered his “authority” has been hurt and nothing will be the same in Turkey.

The Turkish Prime Minister held two major rallies in Ankara and Istanbul to create the impression his Justice and Development Party has not lost voter support. Through the tough action in Gezi park he wanted to show that he still determines developments. AKP members recall the party currently has 8 million registered members and aims to reach 11 million.

“Opposition parties need to consider with what organization they will face Erdogan. It is one thing to take pleasure in putting some pressure on the government in the streets and quite another to match the government in an election”, Fatih Altayli writes in Haberturk newspaper.

Passive resistance continues

Yet in Turkey, with a population of 75 million, there are still people that continue to show resistance in their own way. In middle – class areas of Istanbul and in Izmir, people gather every day holding pots in their hands to demonstrate in neighborhoods.

Others just stand still so the police cannot arrest them.

A large number of students, with various slogans, have created a resistance movement.

“We rediscovered the parks” a protestor told me, adding that in dozens of parks such as Macka and Abasaga, thousands of young people gather and discuss how to react as well ways to democratize Turkey. The police has so far not intervened there.