What's behind the civil unrest in Turkey?

Jun 6, 2013

Riot police use a water cannon to disperse protesters in Ankara, Turkey.
Credit Associated Press

In Turkey, the daily clashes between demonstrators and police have grown into a protest movement. The uprising that defies comparison started modestly last week in the center of Istanbul. Environmentalists gathered in Taksim Square to protest against the government’s plan to pave over a small park.

Bulldozers started knocking down trees in Gezi park over the weekend, and police used tear gas, water cannons and gunfire with rubber bullets to break up the peaceful demonstration.

The violence captured and shared on social media caused public outrage, and tens of thousands of people flocked to Taksim Square to express their solidarity. The objection to losing a rare park with no public input also expanded into widespread complaints about Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule. The protests spread to the capital Ankara and dozens of other cities in Turkey.

To find out more about the civil unrest in Turkey, Global Journalist spoke to a newspaper editor in Istanbul and a program coordinator for the Committee To Protect Journalists.


Emre Kızılkaya, Chief Editor of Foreign News Service, Hurriyet
Nina Ognianova, Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists