As many of you are probably aware, there are massive protests going on in Turkey against the Islamist AKP regime headed by Tayyip Erdogan.
There have been huge protests in several areas of the country, most notably in Istanbul's Taksim Square. Two people have been killed and more than 3,000 injured in the six days of unrest. Over 1,700 people have been arrested.
Turkey's police cracked down violently on the demonstrators, using tear gas.pepper spray, riot clubs, bullets and water cannon to disperse the protestors to the point where Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, whose nominally in charge while Erdogan is out of the country actually apologized for the excessive violence.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Erdogan has blamed the violence on Twitter, drunks, extremists, and foreign agents, Jacob Resneck reports in USA Today.
However, in spite of the apology ( which obviously wasn't vetted by Erdgan) police are still monitoring social media and the internet for anti-government messages and activity and dragging people off to prison. In Turkey, anything the government dislikes can be labled 'anti-Turkish activity' and prosecuted as a felony.
In Taksim Square, thousands of protestors have put together an improvised 'camp'. Small tents have appeared, food and face masks against tear gas are on sale and a library is in the making. On a street near the square some protesters skirmished overnight with police who used tear gas.
Members of more than a dozen labor unions banging drums, trailing banners and chanting "Tayyip resign" have marched into Taksim; there were similar scenes in Kizilay park in middle of Ankara's government district.
While the police are definitely in evidence, they're not charging into the protestors as they did in the first few days, and are apparently waiting for them to get tired of camping out and disperse.
Aside from violence, the protests have featured unique touches like overt beer drinking and 'kiss-ins' to protest the AKP's Islamist rule and authoritarian nature, including massive press censorship,( there are more journalists in jail in Turkey than in any other country) heavy handed prosecution of anyone who criticizes government officials or “Islamic values”.
As much as I would love to see Erdogan and the AKP tossed out of power, it's highly unlikely for a number of reasons.
First of all,the AKP's hold on government and its parliamentary majority don't come from cities like Ankara and Istanbul, which are relatively cosmopolitan. It comes from the huge hinterland of Anatolia,where you find the women veiled, the people less educated for the most part and the unquestioning rule of Islam strongest. In these areas, far away from the sophisticated sections of the cities is where the AKP draws its strength and where the likes of Tayyip Erdogan are the equivalent of rock stars.
While there are some protests in more remote areas like Hatay province, the majority of unrest is confined to the same places that protested against Erdogan's initial takeover in the first place.There's limited support elsewhere.
Second, Erdogan and the AKP have made sure that the army and the judiciary aren't a factor and are packed with loyal AKP supporters. Turkey's army used to be the constitutional guarantor of secular democracy. Erdogan and the AKP changed all that.
And finally, don't look for President Obama, whose been so ready to encourage and enable Islamist takeovers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in the name of 'democracy' to intervene in a similar way in favor of democracy in Turkey.
This president and Tayyip Erdogan are very close personally, and President Obama is interested in promoting Islamists, not democracy and freedom.