ArticleDownload Worksheet June 7th, 2013
Turkish Police Try to Keep Peace Amid Anti-Government Protests
A small demonstration of residents hoping to save a park from being destroyed has morphed into anti-government clashes between demonstrators and police in cities across Turkey.
Gezi Park, which is located less than a mile from the Prime Minister’s office in Istanbul, is marked for demolition as part of an urban redevelopment project. The demonstrators were protesting the loss of public green space to a shopping mall.
Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, police used tear gas and water cannons to break up the crowd, prompting public anger.
Since then, the protests have grown into a larger movement that is calling for the government to resign.
Some in Turkey feel disrespected by their leaders
“I’m here because of [Prime Minister] Erdogan – we are against him,” Yasemin Cakici, a teacher in Istanbul told the BBC.
However, not everyone in Turkey is concerned that the country is turning into an authoritarian state.
“I’m very upset by what I see,” Omar Sarikaya, a screenwriter told the BBC. “This has nothing to do with peace. They don’t listen to the government.”
Is this a “Turkish Spring”?
The clashes have evoked comparisons with the 2011 Arab Spring, in which demonstrators across the Middle East protested their authoritarian leadership, leading to the downfall of leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
However, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed these comparisons, saying “Those in Turkey who speak of the Turkish Spring are right; the season is, in fact, spring,” he said. “But there are those trying to turn it into a winter.”
Instead, he blames extremists, opposition political parties and foreigners for organizing the protests.
“There are those attending these events organized by extremists. This is not about Gezi Park anymore. These are organized events with affiliations both within Turkey and abroad.”
Leaders of other Middle Eastern countries, including Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, have blamed outsiders for stirring up discontent.
A growing movement
Although the protests began in Istanbul, anti-government demonstrators have clashed with police in cities across Turkey, including the capital Ankara.
Some Turkish citizens are concerned with the conservative direction PM Erdogan is taking the country.
“In the last months the prime minister started to adopt very conservative measures including talk of curbing abortion and limiting where people can drink alcohol,” Bayram Balci of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told Global Post.
“People do not like this intrusion into their private lives and the project of Taksim was a pretext for them to manifest their dissatisfaction.”
Turks have traditionally prided themselves for their secular, democratic and progressive policies in a region where this is rare.
But while few believe that the protests will actually force PM Erdogan out of office, there is no doubt that the political mood in the country has changed.
“If I were [PM Erdogan’s] adviser I would advise him to abandon this project,” said Balci. “This is too bad for him. But his problem is that he is very proud — he has a big ego.”
— Compiled by Allison McCartney for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Polling Pitfalls – Lesson Plan
What do people need to consider when evaluating public opinion polls? After viewing The Poll Dance, students will examine important aspects of valid polling and evaluate three polls. Continue readingCivicsdemocracyElection 2016GovernmentpollingPollspollsterpublic opinionSocial StudiesU.S. government
Will Americans living in poor rural areas vote?
Some poorer residents of rural America say their voices are not being heard as part of the national political dialogue and the presidential election. Continue readingEconomicseconomyElection 2016low-incomeNorth Carolinapovertyrural AmericaSocial StudiesvoterWilkesboro
Student Reporting Labs STEM Lesson Plan: How well are our wells?
In the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab video, “Water Scarcity for New Mexico Natives,” Las Cruces High School students describe climate changes and human activities which impact quality and availability of groundwater. In the lesson plan, students gather information from a low-cost physical model, choose a part of the groundwater and well problem, propose a solution and defend their proposal. Continue readingEPAgroundwaterScienceSRLSTEMstudent reporting labsUnited State Geological SurveyUSGSwaterwells
Trump complains about rigged election in final debate
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met for what was likely their last public meeting before Nov. 8 on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Continue readingDebateDonald TrumpElection 2016Hillary ClintonPresidential Election
How teachers and students discuss the election in the classroom
Ahead of the third and final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, educators around the country have found themselves struggling to teach and discuss this turbulent election in the classroom. Continue readingCivicsclassroomDebateDonald TrumpeducationElection 2016GovernmentHillary ClintonMaking the GradePresidential DebaterhetoricSocial Studiesteachers