A 22-year-old man died during an anti-government protest in a city near the border with Syria and officials gave conflicting reports on what caused his death, as hundreds of riot police backed by water cannons deployed around the prime minister's office in the capital Tuesday.Walter Russell Mead takes a stab at reading the game program, but his explanation hardly clarifies matters:
Thousands have joined anti-government rallies across Turkey since Friday, when police launched a pre-dawn raid against a peaceful sit-in protesting plans to uproot trees in Istanbul's main Taksim Square. Since then, the demonstrations by mostly secular-minded Turks have spiraled into Turkey's biggest anti-government disturbances in years, and have spread to many of the biggest cities.
Do the protesters really represent “the entire spectrum of Turkish society,” as Haaretz reported yesterday? Or is it “young people from the country’s mainly upper-class,” as Zihni Özdil writes for Muftah? These demonstrations, Özdil continues, “represent one of the last convulsions of the old ‘secular’ elites, who have been waging, and losing, a bitter battle against the rising Anatolian nouveau-riche that make up Erdogan’s AKP.” Erdoğan has other enemies too, and they’ve become more active recently. “[N]ationalist groups despise Erdoğan for initiating a peace process with the PKK,” writes the prominent Turkish journalist Mustafa Akyol, “while communist groups condemn him for being ‘an American collaborator,’ and an enemy of the Assad regime in Syria, which they hold dear.”Got that? Me neither. Even though it's a very foreign movie, I suspect that we'd better start getting used to reading the subtitles.