Gezi Park

Melik Kaylan in Forbes:

Images1One can understand why self-appointed despots might move early and hard, even semi-democratic despots of the Russian or Iranian variety, against a small, peacable protest in a public place. They fear for their legitimacy. They distrust the populace. They’ve seen the spontaneous multiplier effect of social media. But why would a duly elected leader such as Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan resort to provocative brutality so gratuitously? That is, to the extent of calling his own legitimacy into doubt by hurtling the country toward full-blown strife in a very short time. The kind of instantly extreme anti-democratic measures he has deployed can only lead to retro-prosecution of his henchmen or he can kiss goodbye all sense of future public trust in the justice system. You would think that politicians globally have learned to respect the eventual backlash of citizens abused en masse in the present.

There can be no debating the extent of the abuse, the arrest of scores of lawyers who defend the rights of protesters, doctors who treat their wounds, clerics who grant haven to the wounded in their mosques, the nation perhaps irretrievably divided, the opposition smeared publicly as terrorists, police firing tear gas into private homes, and yes into hospitals and consulates and hotels – why would a legitimately elected leader repay his populace with devastation. After all, Turkey is not Syria. Yet Erdogan has put himself in the bitter position of having Assad repeat back to him the words “listen to your own people”.

More here.