Since the outbreak of protests, the people of Turkey—along with everybody else—have been trying to explain the events and understand the anti-government protests that have erupted. According to reports, these began with plans to uproot trees in a public park so that the area, which also contains a restored Ottoman castle, could be replaced by a commercial site. This is the superficial reason that has been reported and circulated in order to explain that which has taken place.
Some opposition parties, in a moment of “retaliation,” exploited the opportunity to call for regime change. Following this, Bashar Al-Assad’s ridiculous regime came onto the scene, commenting that Erdoğan’s government is using violence against its own people and that it must respond to the protesters’ demands to step down. It later added that the Syrian government advises its citizens not to travel to Turkey, as it would be a severe security risk. This statement from the Assad regime left me speechless. One Syrian, commenting on this, said to me of Assad: “May God destroy him…. He is completely without principle.”
But are the Turkish protests a revolution, or are there external motives for them, as Erdoğan claims? The country achieves respectable economic revenues; the average income per capita has been raised from USD 3,000 to USD 11,000 over the last decade. This took place at a time when Turkey was undergoing rapid transformation, from running after Europe and EU membership, to becoming leader of the developing world. Turkish industries continue to be cited as models for their quality, price and skilled workmanship. Similarly, Turkish services have made the country an essential tourist destination and given its airlines global importance.
This is reflected clearly in other sectors in the country, such as the startling spread of Turkish cuisine, which is known for having excellent dishes, not to mention the circulation of Turkish television, music and literature. Indeed, one of Turkey’s most prominent writers has even won a Nobel Prize in Literature. Turkish football teams have entered Europe’s elite. With all this, Turkey has become politically stronger and more mature, and the country has been able to assume its well-deserved place within the G20. Turkey earned the world’s respect and appreciation, skillfully solving the complex Kurdish problem by disarming them and putting an end to the military option so that a peaceful solution became the only one available. This is particularly important, as this issue had almost destroyed Turkish politics and security.
Two years ago, Turkey took a strong stance to support the Syrian revolution against the criminal Assad regime, citing neighborly duty. Time and time again, Turkey advised Bashar Al-Assad, but received no reply. Instead, Assad turned himself and his regime into a killing machine to be used against his own people until the death toll exceeds 100,000. Not only that, but he has hired forces such as Hezbollah and troops from Iran and Iraq to help him in his bloody mission. Meanwhile, Turkey offered a helping hand to Syria’s refugees and displaced peoples. For that, it has paid the price on its borders, with missiles being fired into Turkish territory, aircraft shot down, and soldiers being assassinated.
The only two beneficiaries of these events (even if they are not on the same side) are the Assad regime and Israel. The two agree, in an indirect fashion, that the Assad regime and its security are also Israel’s security interests. Both Damascus and Tel Aviv have issued statements to this effect on more than one occasion, albeit in different ways. Today in Turkey, unknown elements are being provocative. It comes from specific areas (led by the major opposition party), and this leadership stands firmly against helping the Syrian revolutionaries, and insists on endorsing Assad.
It may be that amongst all this, there is an explanation of what is happening in Turkey, along with the realization that the Assad regime is as harmful as any plague. It is infecting its neighbors in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, while also affecting Turkey itself, particularly if you realize that the Assad regime does not take action alone, but is supported by other forces of evil.