At English PEN, we’ve been following the health of free expression in Turkey very closely all year. Here’s a round-up of excellent Turkey analysis from some of the people we have been working with.
Ece Temelkuran writing in the New Statesman – ‘People have killed their fear of authority – and the protests are growing‘.
It was never just about trees, but the accumulation of many incidents. With the world’s highest number of imprisoned journalists, thousands of political prisoners (trade unionists, politicians, activists, students, lawyers) Turkey has been turned into an open-air prison already. Institutional checks and balances have been removed by the current AKP government’s political manoeuvres and their actions go uncontrolled. On top of this growing authoritarianism, the most important reason for people to hit the streets in support of the Gezi resistance was the arrogant tone of the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
English PEN Turkey specialist Alev Yaman expands on this theme of arrogance:
Erdoğan unabashedly wields that most dangerous of rhetorical weapons – the Will of the People – when he speaks, and his casting of the protesters as ‘extremists’, ‘alcoholics’ or ‘opportunistic provocateurs’ gives a clear insight into his psychology. His opponents are marginal, irrelevant and contemptible; while he represents Turkey. And perhaps it’s this dismissive attitude towards the rest that is the biggest factor in the unrest. For many in Turkey, there is a growing sense that their views don’t deserve to be heard or listened to. It is Erdoğan’s contempt for those outside his electoral base that is the biggest cause for concern of all.
Meanwhile, the Free Word Centre’s translator-in-residence Canan Marasligil has written a series of posts on the current crisis: An overview of the protests; some of the issues around translating the protestors statements for foreign consumption; and the role that satircial cartoons have played in the week of protests.