US-Turkish Relations: In Search of a Comfortable Footstool

c_1371020270_540x540March 11, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – New Eastern Outlook) – It began in Istanbul’s Gezi Park where we are excepted to believe protests over 2.5 million strong (.pdf) stemmed from opposition to a development project. AFP would report in its article, “Turkish protesters have long list of complaints,” that: 

What started as a small group opposed to a development project in Istanbul has become an outpouring of national anger over how the Islamist-rooted government treats its citizens, testing Ankara’s quest to be a model country in its neighborhood. 

Turks are increasingly frustrated about what they see as restrictions on their freedom after a series of last-minute reforms were rushed through parliament by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which enjoys an overwhelming majority. 

“This is a movement which is a result of growing frustration and disappointment among secular segments of society who could not influence politics over the last decade,” said Sinan Ulgen, visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe. 

“This is an unprecedented, abrupt and unplanned public movement that has not been manipulated by any political party. It is a big surprise,” he told AFP. 

A small park and its 600 trees at Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square was the spark for the protests that snowballed into one of the biggest nationwide campaigns against the ruling party’s 10-year rule.

However, as with all engineered destabilizations, given enough time, the organizers lurking behind these “Arab Spring-esque” narratives are surely revealed. Today, protests across Turkey are openly led by Turkey’s opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), contrary to the initial narratives peddled by the Western media.

While current Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, head of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has served as one of several chief regional collaborators with the West in the destruction of neighboring Syria, it appears that his utility was temporary, and the payoff for his servile obedience shall be being toppled from power.

More recently, the opposition CHP was cited by name in Al Jazeera’s article “Turkish opposition holds protest rallies.” And not only has CHP been revealed as driving the protests, but the initial pretext has shifted from “saving a park,” to demanding the current Turkish government resign, leaving CHP in a prime position to take power. Al Jazeera reported:

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Turkey after the president signed a controversial bill tightening controls on the judiciary, deepening opposition resentment towards a government already struggling with a corruption scandal. 

Police used tear-gas to disperse protesters in the capital Ankara on Wednesday, while in Istanbul demonstrators gathered on central Taksim Square, the scene of protests that have dogged the government for months. 

Protests that swept six Turkish cities on Tuesday continued on Wednesday as demonstrators chanted “Thieves!” and “Government resign!” 

Mustafa Sarigul, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate for Istanbul mayor – the biggest prize in the country’s March 30 elections – called on the government to resign, as party officials handed out fake money amounting to 30m euros. 

CHP’s leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, was in the United States on December 2, 2013, to give a talk (full transcript .pdf here) before the corporate-funded policy think tank, the Brookings Institution. Not only was Kılıçdaroğlu warmly welcomed as the first CHP member to ever visit Washington, he was happy to announce the opening of a CHP chapter right there in the United States.

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