Going cold Turkey: Why the Turks have gone off Erdogan

Published June 2nd, 2013 - 16:03 GMT

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan is somewhat of a veteran in Turkish politics, having been the Prime Minister since 2003. He’s been one of the most influential leaders since Ataturk, but that’s not to say he is wildly popular in Turkey. Increasingly, it seems the Turkish population is growing steadily more discontent with his rule and its many contradictions.

The early years of Erdogan’s office were characterised by strong economic policies, a drive for democratic reform and a sense of liberalism in politics and society. Since his most recent election, in 2011, this popularity has been rapidly decreasing and he is now unable to cower behind Turkey’s economy and has become a rallying point for the opposition. Continue reading below »

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Some say its Turkey’s last green space. Others say the removal of a park is more of a symbol with the people’s frustration of government. Protests began after Turkish leaders decided to build a mall in place of Gezi Park. Protesters clashed with police; many were tear gassed, knocked down by high pressure water.
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Image 1 of 8:  1 / 8Some say its Turkey’s last green space. Others say the removal of a park is more of a symbol with the people’s frustration of government. Protests began after Turkish leaders decided to build a mall in place of Gezi Park. Protesters clashed with police; many were tear gassed, knocked down by high pressure water.

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Is Turkey moving toward a more Islamic state? It’s a popular question. A recent law now prohibits alcohol advertising campaigns and as well as banning the sale of alcohol in student dormitories, health institutions, sports clubs and gas stations.
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Image 2 of 8:  2 / 8Is Turkey moving toward a more Islamic state? It’s a popular question. A recent law now prohibits alcohol advertising campaigns and as well as banning the sale of alcohol in student dormitories, health institutions, sports clubs and gas stations.

Enlarge
Turkey media outlets were blacked out and censored following the dual vehicle bombings in the district of Reyhanli, the southeastern province of Hatay, which is near the Syrian border. More than 50 people were killed in the bombings and many more were injured. Erdogan quickly moved to ban all media, resulting in higher tensions.
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Image 3 of 8:  3 / 8Turkey media outlets were blacked out and censored following the dual vehicle bombings in the district of Reyhanli, the southeastern province of Hatay, which is near the Syrian border. More than 50 people were killed in the bombings and many more were injured. Erdogan quickly moved to ban all media, resulting in higher tensions.

Enlarge
Last year people thought Turkey would invade Syria to combat the 'Kurdish threat.' Turkey’s own Kurdish minority factions have long been embattled by government forces. Erdogan has dabbled in the bloody conflict, launching air-raids on his Kurdish citizens. But is it too late to solve the 'Kurdish problem?'
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Image 4 of 8:  4 / 8Last year people thought Turkey would invade Syria to combat the 'Kurdish threat.' Turkey’s own Kurdish minority factions have long been embattled by government forces. Erdogan has dabbled in the bloody conflict, launching air-raids on his Kurdish citizens. But is it too late to solve the "Kurdish problem?"

Enlarge
Turkey’s heavy-handed role in the Syrian conflict has riled a number of its citizens, with tensions boiling over in the wake of two car bomb attacks in Reyhanli. Fearing their country is becoming a new frontline in the war, Turks are losing faith in Erdogan’s Syria policy.
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Image 5 of 8:  5 / 8Turkey’s heavy-handed role in the Syrian conflict has riled a number of its citizens, with tensions boiling over in the wake of two car bomb attacks in Reyhanli. Fearing their country is becoming a new frontline in the war, Turks are losing faith in Erdogan’s Syria policy.

Enlarge
Erdogan’s regime is quick to use excess force in the face of protests such as those spreading throughout the country. In Istanbul, the protests over the park began peacefully, but the protesters quickly rallied against the police force as tear gas and water cannons were sprayed into the crowd.
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Image 6 of 8:  6 / 8Erdogan’s regime is quick to use excess force in the face of protests such as those spreading throughout the country. In Istanbul, the protests over the park began peacefully, but the protesters quickly rallied against the police force as tear gas and water cannons were sprayed into the crowd.

Enlarge
Who said multiculturalism’s failing in Turkey? Amidst the tree-huggers of Taksim Square, a group of anti-capitalist Muslims made sure their voices were heard too. They were even cheered by a group of beer-swilling secularists!
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Image 7 of 8:  7 / 8Who said multiculturalism’s failing in Turkey? Amidst the tree-huggers of Taksim Square, a group of anti-capitalist Muslims made sure their voices were heard too. They were even cheered by a group of beer-swilling secularists!

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Irony is clearly lost on the boys over at the Syrian department of damage control. Responding to the fierce police action in Turkey,  they claimed 'The demands of the Turkish people don't deserve all this violence,' and 'If Erdogan is unable to pursue non-violent means, he should resign.'
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Image 8 of 8:  8 / 8Irony is clearly lost on the boys over at the Syrian department of damage control. Responding to the fierce police action in Turkey, they claimed "The demands of the Turkish people don't deserve all this violence," and "If Erdogan is unable to pursue non-violent means, he should resign."

Enlarge

1

Some say its Turkey’s last green space. Others say the removal of a park is more of a symbol with the people’s frustration of government. Protests began after Turkish leaders decided to build a mall in place of Gezi Park. Protesters clashed with police; many were tear gassed, knocked down by high pressure water.

Image 1 of 8Some say its Turkey’s last green space. Others say the removal of a park is more of a symbol with the people’s frustration of government. Protests began after Turkish leaders decided to build a mall in place of Gezi Park. Protesters clashed with police; many were tear gassed, knocked down by high pressure water.

2

Is Turkey moving toward a more Islamic state? It’s a popular question. A recent law now prohibits alcohol advertising campaigns and as well as banning the sale of alcohol in student dormitories, health institutions, sports clubs and gas stations.

Image 2 of 8Is Turkey moving toward a more Islamic state? It’s a popular question. A recent law now prohibits alcohol advertising campaigns and as well as banning the sale of alcohol in student dormitories, health institutions, sports clubs and gas stations.

3

Turkey media outlets were blacked out and censored following the dual vehicle bombings in the district of Reyhanli, the southeastern province of Hatay, which is near the Syrian border. More than 50 people were killed in the bombings and many more were injured. Erdogan quickly moved to ban all media, resulting in higher tensions.

Image 3 of 8Turkey media outlets were blacked out and censored following the dual vehicle bombings in the district of Reyhanli, the southeastern province of Hatay, which is near the Syrian border. More than 50 people were killed in the bombings and many more were injured. Erdogan quickly moved to ban all media, resulting in higher tensions.

4

Last year people thought Turkey would invade Syria to combat the 'Kurdish threat.' Turkey’s own Kurdish minority factions have long been embattled by government forces. Erdogan has dabbled in the bloody conflict, launching air-raids on his Kurdish citizens. But is it too late to solve the 'Kurdish problem?'

Image 4 of 8Last year people thought Turkey would invade Syria to combat the 'Kurdish threat.' Turkey’s own Kurdish minority factions have long been embattled by government forces. Erdogan has dabbled in the bloody conflict, launching air-raids on his Kurdish citizens. But is it too late to solve the "Kurdish problem?"

5

Turkey’s heavy-handed role in the Syrian conflict has riled a number of its citizens, with tensions boiling over in the wake of two car bomb attacks in Reyhanli. Fearing their country is becoming a new frontline in the war, Turks are losing faith in Erdogan’s Syria policy.

Image 5 of 8Turkey’s heavy-handed role in the Syrian conflict has riled a number of its citizens, with tensions boiling over in the wake of two car bomb attacks in Reyhanli. Fearing their country is becoming a new frontline in the war, Turks are losing faith in Erdogan’s Syria policy.

6

Erdogan’s regime is quick to use excess force in the face of protests such as those spreading throughout the country. In Istanbul, the protests over the park began peacefully, but the protesters quickly rallied against the police force as tear gas and water cannons were sprayed into the crowd.

Image 6 of 8Erdogan’s regime is quick to use excess force in the face of protests such as those spreading throughout the country. In Istanbul, the protests over the park began peacefully, but the protesters quickly rallied against the police force as tear gas and water cannons were sprayed into the crowd.

7

Who said multiculturalism’s failing in Turkey? Amidst the tree-huggers of Taksim Square, a group of anti-capitalist Muslims made sure their voices were heard too. They were even cheered by a group of beer-swilling secularists!

Image 7 of 8Who said multiculturalism’s failing in Turkey? Amidst the tree-huggers of Taksim Square, a group of anti-capitalist Muslims made sure their voices were heard too. They were even cheered by a group of beer-swilling secularists!

8

Irony is clearly lost on the boys over at the Syrian department of damage control. Responding to the fierce police action in Turkey,  they claimed 'The demands of the Turkish people don't deserve all this violence,' and 'If Erdogan is unable to pursue non-violent means, he should resign.'

Image 8 of 8Irony is clearly lost on the boys over at the Syrian department of damage control. Responding to the fierce police action in Turkey, they claimed "The demands of the Turkish people don't deserve all this violence," and "If Erdogan is unable to pursue non-violent means, he should resign."

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The growing disquiet with the Erdogan government came to light this weekend, when protests over the razing of trees in a popular Istanbuli park turned violent and police dispersed protesters with disproportionate force. Protests have spread across the country, including the towns and cities of Kocaeli, Edirne, Afyon, Eskisehir, Bodrum, Antalya, Aydin, Trabzon, Mugla, Mersin, Ankara, Adana, and Konya.

So let’s break down the many layers of discontent and see where the love between Erdogan and his people got lost.

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