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Professor of Journalism writes Op/Ed on NRA. Goes about like you'd expect. [krakatoa] | Main | One Week till E3
June 02, 2013

Molson Labe: In Turkey, a Beer Rebellion

Turkey's Islamist president Erdogan continues imposing his Islamist way of life on the public. Recently he attempted to curb drinking, calling anyone who sips a beer an "alcoholic."

It spurred some demonstrations. The protesters were also objecting to Erdogan's development initiatives, tearing down parks to build shopping centers. There's also an anti-Islam element to this part of the protest: Protesters object to Erdogan's habit of targeting cinemas and other such places of Western depravity in order to build malls (with the construction contracts going to his cronies, critics say).

Public anger has flared among urban and secular Turks after police violently broke up an anti-development sit-in in the square, with protests spreading to other cities as demonstrators denounced what they see as Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian style.

As the furious protests entered its second day, police fired tear gas and turned on water cannons at angry demonstrators, some of whom threw rocks and bottles on their march toward the city's landmark Taksim Square.


At Taksim, protesters chanted "Tayyip resign!" Turkish celebrities joined the crowds, with thousands milling around the square, waving flags, and cheering and clapping at anti-government speeches. Many drank beer in protest of newly enacted alcohol curbs, singing "cheers Tayyip!"

A Bing translation of the Le Monde article (which has more background than the Fox article, and those two pictures hotlinked above) is here.

Everywhere the alcohol flows in streams, beer bottles knocked together in toasts, and, contrary to custom, people drinking openly in the street. Street vendors make their trade and roam with buckets of ice-cooled bottles. The demonization, the repeated stigmatisation of drinkers of alcohol by the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the measures of restriction of consumption were one of the many elements that have fed this revolt.

"Mr. Erdogan wants to rail against our mode of life, he does not tolerate people who love art, or who live a Western lifestyle. He destroyed historic buildings, cinemas and theatres to the replace with horrible shopping centers built by his friends', railed Erkan, father of a family of 55 years, came with his wife and two teenage children. Later, a young woman with a group of friends gives a similar notice. "His vision of the Turkish family and women is totally retrograde", said Esra, a beer in one hand, a Turkish flag in the other.

The protesters seek media coverage, as they haven none in their own country.

Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was facing the biggest challenge to his 10-year rule this weekend as parts of Istanbul turned into a war zone. Violent clashes took place between riot police and tens of thousands of demonstrators outraged at the heavy-handed response of authorities to an environmental protest on Friday.

The eruption of frustration with Erdogan's government spread to a dozen other Turkish cities overnight and supporters gathered worldwide in Boston, London, Barcelona and Amsterdam to voice solidarity with the protesters.


Several overturned police and municipal vehicles were covered in graffiti demanding the government resigns.

"This is our museum", explained one protester, laughing. "Memories of the days when a dictator ruled Turkey!"


Sirri Sureyya Onder, an MP from the Kurdish Peace and Democracy party (BDP), who was injured by a teargas cartridge on Saturday, said the government had gone too far in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.

"They are rebelling against all of this now. People are fed up with this lack of public discussion, with the disrespect, the immoderateness, the lawlessness and the authoritarianism of this government. It is not very good at apologising. But this time I think it will have to."

The lack of media coverage has further inflamed tension on the streets. "There is a total media blackout on this in Turkey, the Turkish media silent on the protests; they all collaborate with the government," said 21-year-old student Ayse Sarac. "We follow the foreign news coverage to get more information."

I think the greatest propaganda against Islamist government is Islamist government itself. Egypt is also discovering this, of course.

Headline Joke: "Canadian Protester" quipped "Molson's Labe" in the comments, and so I stole that for the headline.

digg this
posted by Ace at 01:31 PM

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