Mon, 22 July 2013
Turkey has been enmeshed in a wave of nationwide anti-government protests in recent months. The unrest began in late May when police used harsh tactics against campaigners opposed to plans to redevelop a central Istanbul park. The police reaction ignited broader demonstrations against Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government. The unprecedented expansion of the demonstrations and riots suggests that the outburst of anger and opposition was fueled by more than a simple determination to save a green space in central Istanbul. For many Turks, the unrest appears to have been a reaction to the perceived autocratic leanings of the prime minister and resistance to the direction of Turkish democracy, freedom of expression and the role of religion in society.
The crisis comes at a delicate time for Prime Minster Erdogan, who is in the midst of a fragile peace initiative with the Kurdish minority, dealing with an escalating war next door in Syria, and trying to convince parliament to strengthen the office of the president, which he is expected to run for as his final term as prime minister winds down.
Former White House Director for Turkish Affairs Jeffrey Collins, prominent Turkish political commentator Mustafa Akyol and Turkish academic and activist Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir will discuss the underlying causes of the recent protests, and assess their likely impact on Turkey’s domestic and foreign policy.
Mustafa Akyol, Turkish political commentator and author
Jeffrey Collins, Senior Counsel for International Policy Affairs, Chevron Corporation
Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir, Lecturer, Graduate Program of Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Technical University
Nancy Jarvis, Trustee, World Affairs Council