Videos: Violence continues in Turkey, Erdogan’s government rattled

posted at 10:41 am on June 4, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Not too long ago, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was riding high as the leader of Turkey. Lasting the longest of all Turkish rulers since the inception of the modern republic by Mustapha Kemal after World War I, the Islamist Prime Minister had managed to pursue progress on a popular basis, calm the Kurdish insurgency, and sideline the military from domestic politics.  In a sudden reversal, though, the streets are filled with protesters representing a broad cross-section of Turkish politics, and Der Spiegel hints that the more-secular military may be weighing its options:

Thus far, no opposition party has sought to claim the protests as its own. There have been no party flags, no party slogans and no prominent party functionaries to be seen. Kemalists and communists have demonstrated side-by-side with liberals and secularists. Simply calling them all “marauders and extremists,” as Erdogan has sought to do, will not be enough.

Another threat may also be lurking. In Istanbul, people have begun whispering that the military is distributing gasmasks — but to the demonstrators rather than to the police. The message is clear: The military supports the protests.

The story is certainly consistent with the Turkish military’s traditional role in society. The generals have long seen themselves as protectors of Atatürk’s legacy and as protectors of a secular Turkey. Indeed, the military has staged three putsches in its history to guarantee Kemalist values: in 1960, in 1971 and again in 1980.

Erdogan, to be sure, has done his best to reduce the military’s power. He has removed some officers and had others locked away, convicted of conspiracy. It is difficult to predict how the military might now react to the protests. But Erdogan certainly cannot rely on them remaining in their barracks.

Insulting the revered founder of modern Turkey probably didn’t help, either:

The biggest danger facing the Turkish premier is his own high-handedness. Though he said on Monday that he understood the message being sent by the protesters, there is little evidence that is true. Indeed, his response thus far has shown the degree to which he has become distanced from realities in his country. With hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets, Erdogan has opted for confrontation rather than de-escalation. On Monday morning, he threatened that he would be unable to keep the 50 percent of Turks who voted for him from taking to the streets themselves. Critics see the comment as nothing less than a threat of civil war. …

Most pointedly, however, he asked if Turkey wanted to follow a law passed by two drunks or the law of God. Since then, the country has been filled with speculation as to who Erdogan may have been referring to. Many believe it was an attack on Atatürk and his Prime Minister Ismet Inönü, who were in office when the ban on alcohol in the country was lifted in 1926. Furthermore, Atatürk is rumored to have died from cirrhosis of the liver. As such, Erdogan’s comments are seen as an attack on a national hero.

His ally, Turkish President Abdullah Gül, tried to take a different tack, but Erdogan managed to undermine the message:

“Calm will reign”?  Not quite:

The longer this continues, the more likely we are to see the military reassert its role in protecting the Kemalist character of Turkish government. That won’t include potential leaders who try to undermine that tradition by calling Kemal a drunkard. Erdogan is playing with fire, and now it just remains to be seen whether Gül will stick with him for very much longer.

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Somehow Obama will insert himself into this and we’ll have another Muslim Bro’s Government on our hands.

oldroy on June 4, 2013 at 10:45 AM

let’s send a flotilla to help the protesters.

rob verdi on June 4, 2013 at 10:45 AM

As Ace said this weekend: MOLSON LABE!!!

Agent of the Cross on June 4, 2013 at 10:48 AM

One instance where I wouldn’t mind seeing a military coup. Better that than an Islamist.

rbj on June 4, 2013 at 10:49 AM

The longer this continues, the more likely we are to see the military reassert its role in protecting the Kemalist character of Turkish government. That won’t include potential leaders who try to undermine that tradition by calling Kemal a drunkard. Erdogan is playing with fire, and now it just remains to be seen whether Gül will stick with him for very much longer.

Just remember that Turkey is a member of NATO. The United States has far more of a stake here than anything the rat-eared coward is doing in Syria.

Happy Nomad on June 4, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Erdogan is an Islamist. He is happy to pretend to be a democrat when it suits his purposes, but ultimately his goal is to impose a theocratic dictatorship like all the rest of them.

Kudos to the protestors, however. This is the first time we’ve really seen any kind of effective fightback by moderate Muslims against an Islamist government.

Doomberg on June 4, 2013 at 10:50 AM

That makes sense, put the blame on Ataturk while hinting that Sharia is coming soon, that’s the way to get people on your side.

Like leftists here saying George Washington was a wooden-toothed dolt and we should instead follow some fool who invented twinkle-speak.

Bishop on June 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Not lookin like it’s going away any time soon.

Huh, so we can like RT now? Nice…

Akzed on June 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

That makes sense, put the blame on Ataturk while hinting that Sharia is coming soon, that’s the way to get people on your side. Bishop on June 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

“Sharia is coming soon…” (A little closer to home.)

Akzed on June 4, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Even Muslims are waking up to what a disaster Muslim rule is.

Hopefully America is next.

NoDonkey on June 4, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Not lookin like it’s going away any time soon.

Huh, so we can like RT now? Nice…

Akzed on June 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Look at the riot police in the 3rd pic formed up in a Testudo, straight out of the Roman Legion handbook.

Bishop on June 4, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Send in the Marines to hold umbrellas over PM’s head

Conservative4Ever on June 4, 2013 at 11:00 AM

What the heck is up with that picture near the end of a some policemen using his rifle as a club by holding it from the barrel. Crazy.

In other news, I am always amused by “human rights activists” who like nothing more than big government, until they end up on the other side of it for some reason.

WitchDoctor on June 4, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Even Muslims are waking up to what a disaster Muslim rule is.

Hopefully America is next.

NoDonkey on June 4, 2013 at 10:57 AM

You could use a history lesson.
Though not sure if it’d stick.

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Indeed, the military has staged three putsches in its history to guarantee Kemalist values: in 1960, in 1971 and again in 1980.


And in 1997 assured that they didn’t have to have a fourth.

calbear on June 4, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Even Muslims are waking up to what a disaster Muslim rule is.

Hopefully America is next.

NoDonkey on June 4, 2013 at 10:57 AM

It’s not that bad, I mean being thrown in prison for possessing a Bible is actually good for your long-term health.

And being hanged from a crane for being gay…well…science has proven that having your neck stretched will do wonders for your singing voice.

Bishop on June 4, 2013 at 11:15 AM

This is the first time we’ve really seen any kind of effective fightback by moderate Muslims against an Islamist government.

So far, it has been no more effective than the Green Revolution, so technically that’s not true. Might change, though.

Huh, so we can like RT now? Nice…

They hate Islamists even more than they hate America.

calbear on June 4, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Kudos to the protestors, however. This is the first time we’ve really seen any kind of effective fightback by moderate Muslims against an Islamist government.

Doomberg on June 4, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Well, not at all – this has been playing out in Turkey for 80+ years.
Just as we have those here that argue that the USA is “founded on and guided by Christian principles”…you have folks who make similar arguments for ‘Islamic principles’ in Turkey. Erdogan’s dream of a more religiously guided Turkish government isn’t all that different than what the Christian right and social conservatives pine for here.
I welcome the enthusiasm here for secularism, but there’s some irony in hearing that from some corners.

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Pic of the Day: The Truth About Erdoğan’s Turkey

In this case, a picture says more than a thousand words. In fact, it simply tells you all that you need to know.

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Sure…and you never see anything like that here?
I’m in Turkey a few times a year. If you think that pic is in any way anything more than the freak-show it is when the same happens here, than there’s nothing for you to learn or understand about that country or it’s people.

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Sure…and you never see anything like that here?
I’m in Turkey a few times a year. If you think that pic is in any way anything more than the freak-show it is when the same happens here, than there’s nothing for you to learn or understand about that country or it’s people.

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Darling, what I know is that Erdoğan is NOT Atatürk, but you keep making excuses for the former, his party and his Nazi-flag waving supporters.

For a Progressive, it is only consistent.

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 11:33 AM

The Turkish religious police will be sent out ASAP.

Notice in the photos from the protests there is not one woman wearing a head scarf or burka.
I suspect that will be one of the first things Erdogan changes…

(Obama is checking to see if the Muslim Brotherhood has an office open in Turkey…)

albill on June 4, 2013 at 11:36 AM

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:29 AM

I also find it amusing that a Democrat is defending the use of water cannons on people by their government.

It reminds me of the use of water cannons by Democrats against blacks in the very blue, Jim Crow South.

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Bishop on June 4, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Those sneaky turtles.

Akzed on June 4, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Darling, what I know is that Erdoğan is NOT Atatürk, but you keep making excuses for the former, his party and his Nazi-flag waving supporters.

For a Progressive, it is only consistent.

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Huh?
Where am I making excuses for Erdogan?
I don’t support the guy at all. But it’s silly to suggest he welcomes support from nazis.
No doubt Romney was more likely to get a skinhead vote than Obama last election…but that doesn’t make it something Romney welcomes.
(Nice that you could cut and paste ‘Atatürk’ from Wikipedia. But maybe while there, dig in a little deeper.)

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:44 AM

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:29 AM

I also find it amusing that a Democrat is defending the use of water cannons on people by their government.

It reminds me of the use of water cannons by Democrats against blacks in the very blue, Jim Crow South.

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Seriously…wtf are you talking about?
What position do you assume I have here?

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Verbalauce just a history lesson for you. The Nazi’s were socialists. Right next to where liberalism is ideologically speaking.

Conservative4Ever on June 4, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Verbalauce just a history lesson for you. The Nazi’s were socialists. Right next to where liberalism is ideologically speaking.

Conservative4Ever on June 4, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Forgive me…I haven’t taken Professor Coulter’s course yet.

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM

At the rate Zero is going the events in Turkey will be happening here. Just wait until people refuse to buy their ZeroCare ™…

dogsoldier on June 4, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Forgive me…I haven’t taken Professor Coulter’s course yet.

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM

They were socialists. Go research it and learn something.

dogsoldier on June 4, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Forgive me…I haven’t taken Professor Coulter’s course yet.

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Doubtful you took & passed any history course

Conservative4Ever on June 4, 2013 at 12:02 PM

The riots won’t stop until Islamists the moderate common sense leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood control have a legitimate governing role in a free Turkey.

ROCnPhilly on June 4, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Forgive me…I haven’t taken Professor Coulter’s course yet. verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Read some Hitler speeches. He was always saying crazy things like, “Socialist Germany.”

What a card he was. Crazy Socialist.

Akzed on June 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Forgive me…I haven’t taken Professor Coulter’s course yet. verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Read some Hitler speeches. He was always saying crazy things like, “Socialist Germany.”

What a card he was. Crazy Socialist.

Akzed on June 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Hitler also considered himself to be a Christian.
I don’t see that he was. Unless you mean a Crazy Christian.

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Huh?
Where am I making excuses for Erdogan?
I don’t support the guy at all. But it’s silly to suggest he welcomes support from nazis.
No doubt Romney was more likely to get a skinhead vote than Obama last election…but that doesn’t make it something Romney welcomes.
(Nice that you could cut and paste ‘Atatürk’ from Wikipedia. But maybe while there, dig in a little deeper.)

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Dude, they AREN’T Nazis. I never said that they were Nazis. They are members of AK PARTİ, Erdoğan’s party.

Are you unaware of the relationship between the Turks and other Muslim countries, such as Iran (the name means ARYAN in Persian) and Nazi Germany?

Are you unaware of the role that Hitler’s Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was Yasser Arafat’s uncle?

C’mon.

Islamic Naziism

Make sure to check out all of the photos of MODERN-DAY Islamic groups and government troops giving the Nazi salute.

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Hitler also considered himself to be a Christian.
I don’t see that he was. Unless you mean a Crazy Christian.

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM

That would have been news to Adolf Hitler…

‘It is deplorable that the Bible should have been translated into German, and that the whole of the German Folk should have thus become exposed to the whole of this Jewish mumbo jumbo… As a sane German, one is flabbergasted to think that German human beings could have let themselves be brought to such a pass by Jewish filth and priestly twaddle, that they were little different from the howling dervish of the Turks and the negroes, at whom we laugh so scornfully. It angers one to think that, while in other parts of the globe religious teaching like that of Confucius, Buddha and Mohammed offers an undeniably broad basis for the religious-minded, Germans should have been duped by a theological exposition devoid of all honest depth.’

- Adolf Hitler

‘I promise you that if I wanted to I could destroy the Church in just a few years. It is hollow, it is rotten and false through and through. One push and the whole structure would collapse. We should trap the preachers by their notorious greed and self-indulgence. We shall thus be able to settle everything with them in perfect peace and harmony. I shall give them a few years’ reprieve. Why should we quarrel? They will swallow anything in order to keep their material advantage. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves; they will betray their God for us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes.’

- Adolf Hitler

‘This pride of race is a quality which the German, fundamentally, does not possess. The reason for this is that for these last three centuries the country has been torn by internal dissension and religious wars and has been subjected to a variety of foreign influences, to the influence, for example, of Christianity—for Christianity is not a natural religion for the Germans, but a religion that has been imported and which strikes no responsive chord in their hearts and is foreign to the inherent genius of the race.’

-Adolf Hitler, 13 February 1945

‘But for the coming of Christianity, who knows how the history of Europe would have developed? Rome would have conquered all Europe, and the onrush of the Huns would have been broken on the legions. It was Christianity that brought about the fall of Rome—not the Germans or the Huns. What Bolshevism is achieving to-day on the materialist and technical level, Christianity had achieved on the metaphysical level. When the Crown sees the throne totter, it needs the support of the masses.

- Adolf Hitler

‘As soon as the idea was introduced that all men were equal before God, that world was bound to collapse.’

Adolf Hitler

In traveling about the city that day, William A. Dodd, US Ambassador to Berlin in 1933 was struck anew by the ‘extraordinary’ German penchant for Christmas display. He saw Christmas trees everywhere, in every public square and every window. ‘One might think,’ he wrote, ‘the Germans believed in Jesus or practiced his teachings!’

- Erik Larson, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin

Get an education because there is A LOT more:

Naziism Was Not Based In Christianity

It’s not revisionist history either since I quote almost exclusively from well-known authors and journalists AT THE TIME.

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM

He is a religious nut case.

pat on June 4, 2013 at 12:51 PM

(Nice that you could cut and paste ‘Atatürk’ from Wikipedia. But maybe while there, dig in a little deeper.)

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:44 AM

I didn’t. Not that it matters to you, but I happen to know a lot about Turkey, including Atatürk’s role in the Armenian genocide and the Great Fire of Smyrna. In fact, I wrote about it several years ago.

Even your insults are incorrect and pedestrian.

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Somehow Obama will insert himself into this and we’ll have another Muslim Bro’s Government on our hands.

oldroy on June 4, 2013 at 10:45 AM

The funny (well, not “Ha ha!” funny) thing is all Team SCOAMT needs to do is keep the status quo.

I only wish I saw this before RWM ate the trolls for dinner.

Steve Eggleston on June 4, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Hitler also considered himself to be a Christian.
I don’t see that he was. Unless you mean a Crazy Christian.

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM

You poor ignorant fool.

tom daschle concerned on June 4, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk weeps. He was a great man, the best for the world, the best for Turkey.

Erdogan followed him…until he married this coconut of an Islamist freaky woman. He deserves all this.

Schadenfreude on June 4, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Hitler Obama also considered himself to be a Christian (whenever it was/is politically feasible).
I don’t see that he was. Unless you mean a Crazy fake Christian.

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Obama is an agnost at best, a muzzie at worst. I think he’s the former, pretending to be anything else, depending on the audience, even a Jew (while betraying their bases).

Schadenfreude on June 4, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Kudos to the protestors, however. This is the first time we’ve really seen any kind of effective fightback by moderate Muslims against an Islamist government.

Doomberg on June 4, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Yes, it’s push back against Erdogan, but … The protestors are the more secular, moderate town dwellers. Out in the hinterlands, Erdogan enjoys lots of support and the populace wants shariah. That’s how Erdogan and his party keep getting re-elected.

Forgive me…I haven’t taken Professor Coulter’s course yet.

verbaluce on June 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM

I suggest you read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism for a though discussion of liberalism’s relationship with fascism.

catsandbooks on June 4, 2013 at 1:27 PM

I suggest you read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism for a though discussion of liberalism’s relationship with fascism.

catsandbooks on June 4, 2013 at 1:27 PM

You assume verbaluce can actually read a book with more than one page…..

Conservative4Ever on June 4, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Going to Istanbul in a couple of months . Staying nearTaksim sq. When my sons went to Muslim countries they were heavily armed. I’ll be depending on my rakish good looks. Awesome!

Thicklugdonkey on June 4, 2013 at 2:47 PM

You assume verbaluce can actually read a book with more than one page…..

Conservative4Ever on June 4, 2013 at 1:51 PM

And a word-to-picture ratio of more than 3-1.

Steve Eggleston on June 4, 2013 at 3:03 PM

I wish we could discuss the evils of Erdogan’s ideology without talking about Hitler. It takes the focus off of Erdogan and we shouldn’t be doing that.

thuja on June 4, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Now THIS is a true Arab spring..they want to get rid Islam as the dominating force of the Erdogan government..they want to be free

sadsushi on June 4, 2013 at 7:56 PM