By William Tucker
Protests in Turkey have endured for three weeks now despite numerous attempts by the Erdogan government to break them up. The Prime Minister told a rather large group of his supporters that the protesters were being controlled by “terrorists,” though he didn’t specify who these terrorists were or what they represented. Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc added to the rhetoric by stating that all elements of state power, including the military, may be used to bring these protests to an end. Fortunately, there has been some diplomacy occurring between the government and the protest leaders. The government has stated that it will suspend any development of Gezi Park– the issue that initially sparked the protests – and wait for the courts to rule on the plan. This discussion and agreement took place on June 15th, but while this may seem to be progress it hasn’t brought the protests to an end. This shouldn’t be surprising, however. Though the ruling AKP party enjoys wide support, Turkey still has a sizable secular political movement. Many of these secularists have joined the protests more to show their opposition to the AKP in general as opposed to protesting the Gezi development plans in particular. The jury is still out on how this standoff will be brought to an end, but it is unlikely that these protests will threaten the AKP’s hold on power.
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