"Last Friday midnight, anybody watching any Turkish TV channel could easily come to the conclusion that a military takeover has taken place."
~ Cengiz Candar.
~ Cengiz Candar.
A friend and I were talking last night. He said that if the Constitutional Court upheld the parliamentary vote over Gul, it would be a radical change for Turkey that would bode a better future for the country generally, at least as far as Turkey's attempts at democracy. I had to agree; for one thing, at least if the civilian government got the hand over the military elite, they would be more inclined to address the Kurdish situation in creative, possibly even successful ways that have less to do with security solutions than political solutions . . . and political solutions to the Kurdish situation are the only ones that are going to work.
It is not to be, however. The Constitutional Court upheld the military rule of the Paşas, proving yet again that Turkey is no democracy.
For more info, check the following:
International Herald Tribune
The Economist--Their unnamed "experts" are always so funny, especially when they write things like, "Outsiders are looking on astonished. Investors have been startled."
Cengiz Candar has a pretty good op/ed at TDN, but note that it's a pre-new-postmodern-coup op/ed. TDN (as well as TNA) always seems to be at least 24 hours behind the power curve.
Remember over the weekend that the Paşas called out their "pro-secularism" demonstrators to protest the government? Remember how the Western media presented this as such a wonderful thing? Remember how the police stood back and did nothing during those demonstrations? Well, today was May Day, and the leftists, who are generally hard-core secularists, were out to demonstrate against the government today.
They got a very different reception from the police, from the BBC:
Officers fired tear gas and used batons to stop the crowd marching to Taksim Square, where they were due to mark the 30th anniversary of "Bloody May Day".
Thirty-four people died in 1977 after a gunman fired, triggering a stampede.
[ . . . ]
After some violent clashes in one area of the city, a handful of trade union leaders were allowed into the square to lay red carnations in memory of those who died in 1977.
But police stopped television crews setting up satellite dishes in the square - one channel did however film events from a nearby building.
Meanwhile, public transport was paralysed, as the authorities sealed off main roads, cancelled ferries and closed underground stations
Although the march was not specifically linked to the ongoing tension over the election, correspondents say some protesters raised their fists and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan - who supports Mr Gul as president.
More from ABC (Australia) News:
Almost 600 people have been arrested in Turkey as police fired warning shots and fought with left-wing May Day marchers intent on holding a banned rally in a symbolic Istanbul square.
Istanbul governor Muammer Guler said 580 people were detained, while a spokeswoman for the Human Rights Association (IHD) said more than 1,000 were held and four were injured.
[ . . . ]
Police tried to prevent union groups marching to Taksim Square to mark the 30th anniversary there of "Bloody May Day", when 34 people died after unknown gunmen fired on a peaceful crowd, triggering mass panic.
[ . . . ]
After police ended the first skirmishes in one section of the city, near the Inonu Stadium, they struck a deal with unions allowing a small group access to Taksim, where they held a brief ceremony.
But the violence spread to other areas surrounding the sprawling square as protesters confronted some 17,000 policemen deployed to block their path.
Police fired warning shots in front of the Army Officers' Club in the upmarket Harbiye district when they came under attack from a stone-throwing crowd, the Anatolia news agency reported.
On the other side of the square, in the popular Okmeydani neighbourhood, some 1,500 riot police and about as many demonstrators armed with sticks, stones and slingshots fought a pitched battle for more than one hour.
Police sprayed the demonstrators, believed to be members of ultra-leftist groups present in the area, with water cannon and tear gas.
[ . . . ]
Suleyman Celebi, president of the main organising group, the DISK labour confederation, said the demonstration was meant to be peaceful, but the police made it violent.
"We have not seen such repression since the days of martial law," he said.
Welcome back to the bad old days, Suleyman.
Also, in honor of May Day, check out Paul Street's reflections on the fact that democracy takes time, something that precious few in the US actually have.