Turkey in Turmoil After Boy’s Death


Turkey is in a turmoil in wake of fifteen year old boy’s death, nine months after a police tear gas struck him while he was on his way to buy bread. He was in coma for months before succumbing Tuesday. Protesters took to the streets in Istanbul and Ankara, as police again threw tear gas shells to dissipate the mob. Crowd chanted the boy’s name in honor and praised him as an immortal hero. Boy’s tearful mother said, “It’s not God who took my son away but prime minister Erdogan.” AKP is the ruling party of prime minister and protesters chanted slogans against the AKP government “How many young people have to die for Erdogan to resign?” This death is one of many deaths involving the police. Some crowds in Istanbul also shouted “Murderer Erdogan,” as local polls near n Turkey.

Prime minister Ergodan condemned the protests after the boy’s funeral and said, “You were supposed to be democrats, pro-freedom. These are charlatans, they have nothing to do with democracy, they do not believe in the ballot box. They are saying let’s cause chaos and maybe we’ll get a result. But my brothers in Ankara and Turkey will give the necessary answer on March 30 (in the local polls),” He concluded in an open ceremony in Ankara. Early, he also accused opponent Gulen for inciting violence. The boy’s funeral took place on Wednesday, leading to fresh protests against the government.

This is the biggest set back to the prime minister since his election in 2002. A small human rights protest last June turned into a government shaking movement after the police violence on protesters grew intolerable. This AKP government under prime minister Erdogan initially provided a lot of optimism to the Turks and the world that a democratic Turkey is achievable. After the dismantling of the Ottoman empire, Turkey has had hostile relationships with its Arab neighbors and this prime minister came in with a peace agenda. Turkey also emerged as a trusty interlocutor between Iran and the West. But, in later years that strategic and democratic drive turned out to be a farce. Corruption and authoritarian governance have become the trademark of Ergodan government. The prime minster arrogance is rocketing by the day, his recent proposals to ban YouTube and Facebook as well as the law that was passed last month to censor the country’s internet have been scandalous.

Since last few years, a major power tussle in Turkey is ongoing between the government and the Muslim groups. Ruling AKP is a pro-Islamic party that preached secularism even during the Arab Springs and the strong non political Islamic movement called Gulen Movement (GM) have clashed on various occasions causing unrest in the country. The secular commitment of the ruling AKP has gone haywire in the recent past, as it intensified accepting the fatwas given out by their religious clergy. In the process, erasing the dotted line between politics and religion in Turkey. The GM broke its boundaries too when, some of its member started running for local political seats, a plan to counter the AKP from within the political lines.

After the boy’s death, as Turkey boils under the Erdogan government, Turkish rumor has it that a fake assassination of the prime minister is on the cards to regain sympathy ahead of the polls.

Opinion By Vikas Vemuri



Al Jazeera



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