From the Archive
A glance at Michael Sells’ “Approaching the Quran"
Causing Human Beings to Forget Is The Means of Satan to Tempt Them
The roots of terrorism in Saudi Wahabi doctrine and the Muslim Brother
A Commentary on our Previous Article on this Verse: "If God Were to Increase the Provision to His Servants, They Would Transgress on Earth" (Quran 42:27)
A Dialogue about 'Halal' Meat and Prohibited Meat in the West
Children of their Alley! : An Allegory
The Australian Criminal and the Other Terrorists between the Might of Weakness and the Weakness of Might
On Avoiding Hunger Revolts (PART II)
Fatwas: Part Twenty-Nine
Senator McCain's visit to Egypt Raises Several Concerns
Behaving Proudly and Arrogantly Without Justification (2 of 2)
O Al-Sisi! Run Away from Egypt Now, Before It Is Too Late!
Ponderings on the Quranic Chapter 69
Answering Al-Qa’da Rascals’ Incitement to Murder Me
On Matters of Inheritance
Islam: religion of peace
Qui est responsable de l'attentat terroriste à New York?
A Grand Strategy for Peace through Justice in Iraq1
The Lie of”The Grave torture and the bald serpent”( part one )
By James M. Dorsey
Taksim is not (yet) Tahrir
By: -

> Almost a week of countrywide protests in Turkey have left an 
> indelible mark on the countryâs political landscape: broad 
> discontent with the policies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip 
> Erdoganâs policies and increasing haughtiness bubbled to the 
> surface; militant soccer fans thousands of whom joined the Taksim 
> Square protests united and were politicized; and the role police 
> force plays in solidifying opposition groups and resolve was 
> highlighted.
> Mr. Erdoganâs intransigence and hard-handed police attempts to 
> suppress the protest with tear gas and water cannons swelled the 
> ranks of the demonstrators and turned a demand for perseverance of a 
> 75-year old Istanbul park into a massive call for the prime 
> ministerâs resignation. Thousands of militant fans of Istanbulâs 
> three rival soccer clubs led by the left-wing, most politicized of 
> the support groups Carsi, the ultrasâ of Besiktas JK, joined 
> forces for the first time in 30 years as they march to Taksim 
> Square. So did rival soccer fans in other cities.
> Comparisons between Taksim and Cairoâs Tahrir Square that has come 
> to symbolize the ability of the street to topple a government are 
> tempting. To be sure, there are superficial similarities but these 
> are outstripped by the differences. The two square share the 
> unification of rival soccer fans with a history of fighting one 
> another; the occupation of a main city square; the protestersâ 
> slogan: Erdogan, istifa! or Erdogan resign in imitation of Egyptâs 
> Mubarak irhal! or Mubarak leave!; the violent police crackdown; and 
> the ultimate at least partial government backdown.
> But unlike mass demonstrations that toppled leaders in North African 
> nations, the protests in Turkey are against a democratically elected 
> leader who has won three elections with a respectable majority, 
> presided over a period of significant economic growth and 
> repositioned his country as a regional power with global ambitions. 
> They also occurred in contrast to Arab countries in a country that 
> despite all its warts is democratic and has a strongly developed, 
> vociferous civil society.
> The Taksim protests in the week that Istanbul celebrated its capture 
> by the Ottomans 560 years ago have sent Mr. Erdogan an unambigious 
> message: discontent with the prime ministerâs authoritarian 
> streak, the Turkish governmentâs support of Sunni Muslim rebels in 
> Syria, increasing government control of large chunks of the media 
> and attempts to stifle independent reporting and commentary, and 
> suspicion that he is attempting to Islamize public life is mounting. 
> The protests constitute a warning that maintenance of his style of 
> government could as yet turn Taksim into Tahrir.
> A decision by the diverse, uncoordinated groups that came together 
> on Taksim not to occupy the square and build a semi-permanent tent 
> camp to press their demands for reversal of their demands for 
> preservation of the park that is to be replaced by a shopping mall, 
> an apology by the police for its heavy handed use of force and 
> resignation of the Erdogan government has taken the wind out of the 
> protests. The momentum has temporarily shifted in favor of Mr. 
> Erdogan but to retain it Turks will have to see a real change in his 
> style of governing. Mr. Erdogan benefits from the fact that with no 
> soccer league matches scheduled for the foreseeable future, 
> stadiums, a traditional protest venue in a soccer-crazy country, 
> militant soccer fans are deprived of their natural organizing grounds.
> Despite this, major questions remain that need to be addressed and 
> answered to prevent soccer fans and thousands of others from 
> returning to Taksim and other city squares across Turkey. Will Mr. 
> Erdogan back off his plans to redevelop Taksim that has already led 
> to the shutting down of the squareâs historic bakery, Inci 
> Pastanesi, and its iconic Emek Theater? Mr. Erdogan responded to 
> this weekâs Gezi Part protest by saying the government would push 
> ahead with its Gezi Park plan âno matter what they do.â The 
> prime minister warned that he could put 100 people on the street for 
> every anti-government protester.
> For much of the week, events on Taksim and in other Turkish cities 
> were underrreported in much of the media in Turkey, which ranks high 
> on the list of media-unfriendly countries according to the number of 
> incarcerated journalists. The government strengthened in May its 
> grip on the media with its takeover from financially troubled 
> Cukurova holding television stations and Digiturk pay-tv. The 
> underreporting was allegedly after government phone calls to various 
> media.
> The explosion of discontent allowed secularists with the opposition 
> Republican Peopleâs Party (CHP) in the lead to turn the protests 
> into alleged Islamization of society. Secularists point to this 
> monthâs new restriction on the sale and consumption of alcohol and 
> the naming of a third, controversial Istanbul bridge that spans the 
> Bosporus as the Yavuz Sultan Selim or Selim the Grim Bridge in honor 
> of the Ottoman sultan widely blamed for the massacre of Alevis in 
> the early 16th century. Alevis, accounting for an estimated 20 
> percent of the population, although distinct from Syrian President 
> Bashar al-Assadâs Alawite community see Mr. Erdoganâs support 
> for Syriaâs Sunni Muslim rebels has further disregard of their 
> concerns and have tapped into widespread popular dislike of the 
> governmentâs anti-Bashar policy.
> An interior ministry investigation into the policeâs crackdown on 
> Taksim ordered by Mr. Erdogan will also have to clarify whether the 
> crackdown reflected the split between the prime minister and 
> Fethullalh Gulen, who is also opposed to unrestricted Turkish 
> support for the Syrian rebels. Mr. Gulen, a powerful, self-exiled, 
> Pennsylvania-based cleric, is believed to wield considerable 
> influence within the police force.
> The two men have clashed in the past year over measures to prevent 
> match-fixing after Turkey was rocked by a major match-fixing 
> scandal. Mr. Erdogan defeated Mr. Gulenâs attempts to ensure harsh 
> penalties which would have weakened the prime ministerâs grip and 
> potentially strengthened the clerics influence in Fenerbahce FC, 
> which has a fan base of millions.
> âErdogan is smarter than the Egyptians. He lets people 
> demonstrate.  He caters to the rights of the religious and the Kurds 
> to garner votes and ignores the secularists. The fans are largely 
> secular. This weekâs demonstrations have shown that one can stand 
> against the government and that soccer fans can work together. 
> Things will settle for a few weeks. But Erdogan is on notice,â 
> said a soccer fan as he marched against the government in Izmir.
> James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of 
> International Studies, director of the University of Würzburgâs 
> Institute of Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of 
> Middle East Soccer<> blog.
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