Peaceful Protest Over Istanbul Park Turns Violent as Police Crack Down by Tim Arango and Ceylan Yeginsu – Article Example

The paper “Peaceful Protest Over Istanbul Park Turns Violent as Police Crack Down by Tim Arango and Ceylan Yeginsu" is a breathtaking variant of an article on politics. The common thing between peace and the police is just the six syllables and nothing else. This is the conclusion arrived at in article that appeared in The New York Times dated May 31, 2013. The gathering of people was in a peaceful four-day sit-in and the Turkish police officers used tear gas in an attempt to break it up. This happened in Istanbul’s Taksim Square and apart from the protestors common people and tourists had to run for cover. Soon a battle zone came into existence. The contentious issue between the Government and the protestors related to redeveloping a park in Taksim Square.

The Government acted ruthlessly and ordered a crackdown on the protestors. The fight of the demonstrators is for environmental protection, especially the sycamore trees. The protestors also resented the heavy-handed tactics of the authoritarian Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan now in power for a decade. The conflict has the religious angle also as Mr. Erdogan has good support among Turkey’s religious masses.

Though the protest is to protect Istanbul’s public places, its roots are in country’s politics. Turkey’s policy of supporting the rebels in Syria has led to undesirable consequences, and violent incidents of car bombings are on the rise resulting in many deaths. The rising public resentment is not to the liking of Mr. Erdogan, who is preparing to run for the presidency next year and he is planning to amend the Constitution to evolve a more powerful presidential system.  As the anti-government chants by the protestors continued, the police adopted an aggressive stance, began encircling the group and positioning vehicles, and their move was provocative as the protestors were sitting peacefully and chanting. When they fired a mixture of water and tear gas, the protestors were in disarray and began to run in confusion and so did the tourists in self-protection. The burning sensation from the gas which hurt the skin also needed medical treatment. Accusations and counter-accusations followed.
At the intervention of the Istanbul court, the petition by the local advocacy group succeeded in halting the destruction of the park and the court demanded the legal documents from both the parties in support of their respective strands. The alleged use of excessive force by the police will also be investigated according to an announcement by the Interior Minister. There was another trouble spot and a raid on an Occupy Wall Street-style encampment in Gezi Park near Taksim, in which police liberally used teargas to disperse the crowd, and later they barricaded the park. In one more raid, the police set fire to some tents. The police employed bulldozers to fell the trees and people came out strongly against this move, waving banners in protest. The message on one banner read, “Don’t touch our neighborhood, our squares, our trees, our water, our soil, our homes, our villages, our cities, and our parks.” They were also protesting against the mall culture being encouraged by Mr. Erdogan.

Mr. Erdogan has his own adamant style of functioning. He is referred to as a latter-day Ottoman sultan and has no regards for the opinion of others. People are not asked about their wants. His priority is to build mosques with the result the number of mosques outnumbers the schools by three times. Notwithstanding the interim legal stay, he has categorically stated that the destruction of the park is unstoppable, irrespective of the consequences and the protests.

The protest is not only against the destruction of greenery, but it is also, in fact, the political fight. There is a strong opinion that the government’s policy to encourage construction may lead to economic collapse. They see a scenario where there will be more malls without business, which will be empty and suffer huge losses. The government is neglecting culture and youth welfare projects. Protests by the people against the government are on the rise and the tormenting question before them is—will this ever end and if so how?