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Opinion: The threat facing Turkey - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Turkey has found itself in the international spotlight over the past two weeks, despite the continuing slaughter in Syria, the Iranian elections, and the tensions in Iraq. The crisis in Turkey, which is escalating, is being covered live second-by-second by the world media.

The agenda in Turkey this week was a critical one, of course. The police operation in Taksim Square was covered live by international media. This was followed by coverage of the face-to-face meetings between the Gezi Park representatives and Prime Minister Erdoğan and members of his government. Following this, we saw the European Parliament’s decision regarding Turkey and the prime minister’s feverish response that which will certainly go down in history!

And now, let us turn to the new uprising that has erupted on Turkey’s streets. . . .

How should we evaluate all this? Let’s take a look.

I have been saying in my articles and television appearances for a long time now that Turkey is facing a grace threat, namely the threat of communism. This is a bloody and savage communism that seeks to divide the country. Taksim Square, which the whole world watched live on June 11, revealed the scale of this threat. We saw illegal organizations declare Taksim to be a “liberated zone.” They made it impossible for local traders to go about their business and for local people to leave their homes, closing off entry and exit points with barricades. They also burned and looted cars, using the destroyed remains to reinforce the barricades that reached as far as the Republic Monument and the Atatürk Cultural Center.

The governor of Istanbul issued a series of statements via Twitter. “Peaceful protesters in Gezi Park should remain where they are; the police will protect them. Our aim is to remove the posters of the communist groups from [nearby] Taksim Square,” he emphasized.

This was a singularly appropriate and necessary operation. The barricades were torn down, the banners were removed and replaced with Turkish flags. The communist groups pulled back and the police stood guard in Taksim Square for the next two nights. These communist groups had literally been holding a rehearsal on Turkish territory for future action. But how prepared is Turkey for a violent communist uprising?

Supporters of the three main football clubs, who were perhaps the strongest backers of the protests, subsequently announced they were withdrawing from the protests, publishing a declaration that they would not be a tool of communist aggression.

The peaceful environmental protesters who had initially taken to the streets to complain against the Gezi Park project also complained. One protester said: “There are leftists everywhere: SODEP [Social Democracy Party], ODP [Freedom and Solidarity Party], TKP [Communist Party of Turkey], EDP [Equality and Democracy Party], DSIP [Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party], and many others are present. These demonstrations were not supposed to be political.”

The protester added that the environmental protesters were unable to take down the communist banners and the photos of Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader Abdullah Öcalan without being subject to attack.

The same protester said that although there had been no police operation for about a week in Gezi Park, because of the fighting caused by the communist groups the first aid stations were full. “There were people from all sections of society in the park. But not now. Now there are only communists,” the protester said.

The people destroying vehicles in Taksim Square on live television are not the same peaceful environmental protesters that came out against Gezi Park. The people who attacked cafés for not joining in the protest and who reportedly dragged a woman wearing a headscarf and her six-month-year-old baby along the ground are not the same peaceful and democracy-loving youth who were demonstrating for the sake of Turkey’s future.

Turkey is facing communist aggression. The protests are a democratic movement turned into an attempted communist uprising. Those people from abroad who encouraged violence in the name of “supporting the protests” were unaware of the grave error they were making. Those people who described Erdoğan—who has been praised for recommending secularism to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt—as being akin to a Islamist dictator did not know what they were saying.

However, others were perfectly aware. The manner in which the European Parliament issued a largely one-sided decision by describing an operation that was clearly targeting the communist groups as being against the protesters was both strange and suspicious. The European Parliament appears to have forgotten a very important fact: Turkey is not a member of the EU!

On what basis can the European Parliament issue a decision regarding Turkey? While I have always criticized the prime minister’s harsh language, I back his reaction of the European Parliament’s statement.

Here, I must insist on saying that I fully back the environmental protests in my country and our young people’s defense of their rights and demands for greater democracy. I want the prime minister to adopt an affectionate and inclusive discourse and to stop appearing to be oppressive and aggressive. At the same time, I also believe that the disorder in the country is merely serving those circles that are seeking to take advantage of it. I do not want these protests to transform into something that will not only harm Turkey, but the entire Middle East and Islamic world. This could fuel the communists, serving the material interests of various secret groups. That is why Turkey needs calm.

A major uprising is again taking place in Turkey, despite the government’s meetings with the Gezi Park protesters and accepting their democratic demands. Those who did not withdraw from the park were removed in a police operation; however, the atmosphere remain tense and and nervous.

I hope that this disorder will have come to an end by the time you read this article. Let us now hear words of reconciliation; let us disappoint those who hope for violence.

Aylin Kocaman

Aylin Kocaman

Aylin Kocaman is the host of the TV "Building Bridges," and a columnist for Al-Ahram, Al-Awsat, and Haberhilal, and an interfaith peace activist. She is based in Istanbul. Follow her on Twitter at @aylin_kocaman

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