Monday, June 10, 2013
Riots Continue In Turkey As 13 Arrested For 'Provoking Riots' Via Social Media
The riots and demonstrations against the Islamist government of Turkey continued for the tenth straight day.
Police again deployed tear gas, riot clubs and water cannons to brutalize the thousands protesters that gathered in downtown Ankara's downtown Kizilay square. A number of people were reported injured.
13 people were arrested in the city of Adana because they were accused of 'provoking riots' with posts on Facebook and Twitter as police used used TOMA vehicles and tear gas to disperse the protesters.
In another development, Turkish President Abdullah Gül approved a bill restricting the sale and advertising of alcohol, an Islamist supported bill that was one of the causes of the riots.
Meanwhile Islamist Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan warned demonstrates (who he previously referred to as criminals and terrorists) that he was running out of patience:
After riot police clashed with anti-government protesters in several cities in the early hours of Sunday morning, Mr Erdogan told thousands of cheering supporters in Ankara: "We remained patient, we are still patient but there's a limit to our patience."
"Nobody should be pessimistic. Nobody should worry. Turkey went through many events in the past and will overcome this, too."
He toured the country on Sunday, urging his backers to show their strength by voting for his Justice and Development Party.
"I want you to teach them a first lesson through democratic means at the ballot box," he told his backers in the southern city of Adana, referring to next year's local polls.
In the southern port of Mersin, he raged against participants in the anti-government protests. "The youth that curses its Prime Minister cannot be my youth. If you care about democracy, this Prime Minister is at your disposal" he said, declaring the protesters anarchists and terrorists.
Erdogan also let his supporters know that pro-government rallies are being planned next weekend in Istanbul and Ankara.
"On Saturday, are you ready for a big Ankara meeting? ... The next day we will have the Istanbul meeting," Erdogan said to cheering crowds in Ankara, as riot police moved in against protesters.
In Istanbul in particular, the protesters enjoy considerable support. A number of unions have come out supporting them and last night, supporters of three rival football clubs - Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas - marched together to Taksim Square. In Turkey, where (soccer)football riots are quite common, this is a very big deal.
In spite of what Erdogan said,Turkey's deputy prime minster Huseyin Celik, came out solidly against early elections. "You don't decide on early elections because people are marching on the streets," he said.
Many of the protesters have been adamant about staying the course, but with Erdogan having purged the army and the judiciary and stacked them with loyal Islamists, there's little doubt in my mind that he'll retain control.
These people are protesting for freedom and democracy. And they're being brutalized.
I seem to recall that when this happened in Egypt, President Obama raced to involve himself, do whatever he could to enable regime change and send signals to the Egyptian Army by calling for Mubarak's ouster.
Here, he's silent for some reason....oh, wait.
In Egypt, the protesters were the Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood who were tryng to take power from a secular Muslim government. In Turkey, it's just the reverse. The Islamists have the power and the protesters are secular, pro-democracyt liberals!
That explains a great deal, doesn't it? And not just about Turkey.