Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Meanwhile, in Istanbul

Things are getting ugly:
Riot police fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets in day-long clashes that lasted into the early hours Wednesday, battling protesters who have been occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and its adjacent Gezi Park in the country's most severe anti-government protests in decades.

The crisis has left Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan looking vulnerable for the first time in his decade in power and has threatened to tarnish the international image of Turkey, a Muslim majority country with a strongly secular tradition, a burgeoning economy and close ties with the United States.
For his part, Erdogan has figured out who he wants to blame:
The demonstrators, he said, " are being used by some financial institutions, the interest rate lobby and media groups to (harm) Turkey's economy and (scare away) investments."
Watch out for that interest rate lobby, folks. It's comin' to get ya.

Here's a pro-tip for Erdogan -- do you really want to know what scares away investments? Countries that do this sort of thing:

A refreshing blast of water cannon
A lot is riding on Turkey, since it and Indonesia are the best examples of how a secular Muslim country can operate. Erdogan has been trending more hard core lately, which has led to the protests in Istanbul. And since Turkey is part of NATO, there's a real hesitance to say much about what Erdogan is doing. This bears watching.

1 comment:

Bike Bubba said...

Malaysia probably counts as another majority Muslim country that is doing OK, though it's only 75% or so Muslim, not the 90%+ of Turkey and Indonesia.

Not pretty for Islamic secularism these days, though.