CommentInsight & Opinion

How they see it

The protests that are sweeping Turkey

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 7:12am
 

1. The Japan Times

It started with a small protest over the decision to pave over a small park in Istanbul. But that decision and the Ankara government's heavy-handed reaction has sparked the most violent riots that Turkey has experienced in decades. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, for years applauded as a moderate Muslim and pragmatist is now widely seen as having lost touch with the masses. While there is some concern about creeping "Islamisation" that is evident in recent legislation, what unites the protesters is the fear that the prime minister's "majoritarian authoritarianism" reflects impatience with dissent and a rejection of the tolerance that is the hallmark of democracy. Tokyo

 

2. Global Times

As the most secular Islamist country in the Middle East, Turkey has long practiced a form of Western democracy, and its society has developed well. Although these riots are hardly turning into a "Turkish spring", they are still able to tear apart Turkish society, making a dramatic impact on the country's future political conflicts. Turkey can hardly resist the political and ideological impacts from its neighbors. Democracy and religious resurgence, two opposing forces, are ruining its social balance. A solid economic and social foundation is what really matters. Without it, any kind of political reforms will ultimately be blocked someday. This is an inexorable law which governs the development of a country. Beijing

 

3. The Guardian

The mushrooming protest has temporarily united a suspiciously wide spectrum of grievance - from those who object to their favourite Gezi park being turned into a shopping mall, to those who object to restrictions on the sale of alcohol, to Turkey's proxy war in Syria. From micro issues to large ones, the common denominator is Mr Erdogan overbearing personality. One thing is clear. Democracy is not just about elections and it is not, as Mr Erdogan once said, a means to an end. It is an end in itself. Mr Erdogan has done his job application for president no favours. He should react to this protest with humility and listen to what it is telling him. He has yet to do so. London

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