Turkey's Erdogan
Photo: Reuters

Islamist, secular media both slam Erdogan

Violent suppression of Istanbul protests unites media; 'Last straw to election loss,' says Islamist journalist; 'Civilians gassed like insects,' liberal paper charges

The Turkish regime's violent suppression of the protests in Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park evoked a near unanimous criticism of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sunday's Turkish newspapers.


Even among the prime minister's Islamist supporters in the media, most warned the ruling AKP party that its policy against the protestors may cost it its electorate in the capital, and quite possibly in Turkey in general.


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"What kind of peace is this? What sort of cruelty is this?" cried political commentator Ali Bayramoğlu in an article in Yeni Safak, a newspaper affiliated with Turkey's Islamist circles.

"תהיה זו הפתעה אם ארדואן ייכנע למפגינים". "הורייט"


גם העיתון השמרני מתח ביקורת על ראש הממשלה. "טודיי זמאן" 

Today's Zaman


"How can a political authority allow things to escalate to this point? How can it use politics in defiance and make things happen the way it wants?


"If there's a public response, why doesn't the government delay the project? Why does it act so violently?" Bayramoğlu wrote.


He was referring to the initial cause of the protests, which began as a local demonstration against redevelopment of a public park in central Istanbul, but erupted into pandemonium across Turkey in protest of Erdogan's Islamist policies.

(צילום: AFP)

(Photo: AP)

(צילום: AP)

(Photo: Reuters)

(צילום: רויטרס)

(Photo: Reuters)

(צילום: AP) 

(Photo: AP)


The opposition's advent

In another Islamist daily, Today's Zaman, Ihsan Yilmaz warned: "The government is not ready to listen, but the Taksim Gezi Park issue may be the last straw and may pave the way for the eventual electoral loss of the city by the (former) Islamists who have been administrating the city for the past 20 years."


צילום: רויטרס


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Taksim Square protest (Video: Reuters)

Though the pro-Erdogan commentators mostly lamented a foreseen reversal in the next elections, the opposition camp did not mince words in slamming the Islamist regime.


"Erdogan's determination and the disproportionate toughness of the police has managed to turn a pacifist and modest protest into a public protest movement," wrote Murat Yetkin in Hurriyet.


Journalist Ahmet Hakan bashed the government and gleefully commented that the regime's violent reaction to the protests, far from cowing the opposition, had in fact boosted their ranks to an extent they themselves had failed to achieve in the past.


Ismet Berkan from the secular-liberal Radikal newspaper wrote that "thousands of people who never took any violent action and never did anything beyond sitting and shouting slogans were choked by tear gas.


"They're not insects, they're civilians. They're not the police's enemies; they're citizens who deserve service and security.


"All around the world, if a country uses extreme force against its citizens it's always a sign of its weakness and wrongdoings. If the state believes it's in the right, it sends its politicians – not the police – to convince the public."


The results of the police's harsh policy are as yet undetermined, though Amnesty reported that at least two people were killed in the demonstrations and more than 1,000 protestors were injured.


On Sunday morning it appeared that protests in Istanbul have mostly subsided. Though use of tear gas by police was registered in one neighborhood, only a few hundred protestors remained in the city's Taksim Square.


The group lit a bonfire and chanted anti-government slogans in an all-night vigil, but shrank as rain set in.



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פרסום ראשון: 06.02.13, 17:02
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