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June 04, 2013

Whoa: Turkey's Three Largest Soccer Teams Declare They're Joining the Protests

I think this is a "Whoa." Not only are these people dependent on fan goodwill for their livelihoods, but they're people with skin in the game who could lose big for their show of defiance.

And yet they're defying.

I'll quote the soccer-team part later, but this piece from City Journal echoes what's being said in other papers-- although it seemed, and still does seem, really, that Erdogan is popular and his position is assured... I don't know. Maybe some plates are shifting.

As you know, the military in Turkey was always a bulwark against tyranny and a protector of the Turkey's constitution (such as it is). They seem to have rolled over for Erdogan up until now.

But if popular revolt is now intense enough that soccer players are joining it... I don't know. I don't know.

More than about the razing of a slum of a park, the protests are about...

... a nation’s fury with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s growing authoritarianism, symbolized by Istanbul’s omnipresent police, the phalanxes of so-called Robocops. They are so notoriously trigger-happy that journalists on Twitter post a daily tear-gas report.

Of late, almost every sector of the electorate has felt unease about one part or another of Erdoğan’s agenda. Restrictive new alcohol legislation, rammed through parliament, as usual, with contempt for the minority opposition, has prompted outrage; the so-called peace process with the PKK, which no one understands, has caused great unease. Anxiety is growing as well, not only about press censorship, but also about the prosecution of those who insult government officials or “Islamic values” on social media.

[Further complaints and incidents of repression omitted.]

Two weeks ago in Ankara, a disembodied voice on the subway, having apparently espied them by means of a security camera, denounced a couple for kissing. The voice demanded that they “act in accordance with moral rules.” In return, incensed Ankara lovers staged kissing protests: as the couples shyly smooched outside the subway station, a group of young men confronted them, chanting “Allahu Akbar!” It was reported but not confirmed that one of the kissers was stabbed; but given the mood of hysteria here right now, it would be unwise to believe every rumor one hears.

Erdoğan, it seems, severely underestimated the degree of his subjects’ displeasure, confident that God, a strong economy, and a weak opposition were all he needed to ensure his hegemony. He brusquely dismissed the tree protesters’ concerns: “We’ve made our decision, and we will do as we have decided.” An AKP parliamentarian then unwisely announced that some young people “are in need of gas.”

...

Rather than dispersing for good, the protesters returned—and more gathered to support them. This wasn’t supposed to happen. The police panicked. At dawn, they attacked with pronounced violence, injuring not only students, but also journalists and opposition members of parliament who had come to show their support.


...


It is confirmed that rubber bullets have knocked out the eyes of at least six people. Gas has covered the city like a volcanic cloud. Everyone, even those who stayed indoors, has been weeping and coughing....

But as news of the injuries and deaths spread by word of mouth, and particularly as photos and videos of the clashes and the wounded began circulating on social media, the entire city rose up in fury. The three largest Turkish football teams, usually mortal rivals (in some cases literally), announced that they would unite to join the protests.

The greatest advertisement for liberty is slavery.

Every Rebellion Needs an Iconic Symbol: And thus, "The Woman in Red."


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posted by Ace at 06:01 PM

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