Socialist Worker

Mass protests in Turkey inflict a defeat on the government

by Ronnie Margulies
Issue No. 2355

The Gezi Park resistance in Turkey is in its sixth day. Protesters there organised a sit-down at the park to protect trees that were set to be cut down. Police launched a barbarous attack on them - but yesterday the government suffered a defeat.

The resistance turned from defence of the trees to a mass movement against police violence. Police withdrew from the park and the adjacent Taksim Square yesterday. This immediately turned into a festival area, with tens of thousands of people occupying the square.

Elsewhere in Istanbul and other cities, fighting continues as the police attack demonstrations large and small. Spontaneous demonstrations are breaking out everywhere as people gather in their own streets, banging pots and pans, blowing whistles and shouting for the prime minister to resign.

No political organisation organised this. Quiet and simmering resistance against the government’s plans to restructure Taksim Square suddenly turned into active and mass resistance which spread throughout Istanbul and then other cities across Turkey.

The government was completely taken by surprise.

Various political currents and forces intervened and joined in the mass resistance. One of these was the nationalists.

They carried Turkish flags, sang the March of the Republic and shouted “We are Atatürk’s troops”. But they have not succeeded in hijacking the mass movement.

The Gezi Park resistance is the AKP government’s first major defeat. The government underestimated the people’s anger and determination, and is now paying the price.

If the movement retains the participatory, all-embracing characteristics it exhibited at the park and elsewhere, if it can win over parts of the AKP’s base. If it continues to resist fearlessly, the government will suffer further defeats.

It is clear that the mass movement has influenced and even mobilised some of the AKP’s electorate. This may be the beginning of the end for the government.

The Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party (DSIP) has been part of the resistance from the very beginning. Our comrades remain part of the crowd in Taksim Squrae and elsewhere.

The Gezi Park resistance signals the start of a new period in the struggle for freedom.


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Article information

International
Sun 2 Jun 2013, 11:56 BST
Issue No. 2355
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