Thursday 24th Jan 2019
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Let Erdogan Foil Taksim Square Protest

Editorial

Staging a protest against a government policy is one of the basic rights in a democracy. But, like any other right, it depends on the citizens whether they use it in right earnest or tend to misuse rather abuse it. The protest which turned into mass uprising in Tunisia, spread over many Arab countries and later came to be known as Arab Spring saw some brute dictators like Hosni Mubarak toppled down. This trend of mass movement has left an abiding influence on the world psyche so much so that some are using it for their vested interests, and in some cases under the command of their western masters.

In Bangladesh we saw the abuse of Arab Spring when Sheikh Hasina Wajid administration constituted two International Crimes Tribunal with no representation of international legal luminaries to retry the already settled 1971 war cases, and the state sponsored and ruling party thugs along with the polarised public gathered at Shahbagh Square of Dhaka for weeks together to demand death for opposition leaders, especially top leaders of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. The Shahbagh Square protest was not against any government policy but a contrived movement to silence the voice of the Opposition. It was severely condemned worldwide by legal stalwarts as well as human rights bodies and some countries like Egypt and Turkey.

Likewise, Turkey has been witnessing countrywide protests in recent days. People started protesting against the government’s plan to redevelop Gezi Park, a rare green spot adjoining Istanbul’s Taksim Square. It was an environmental campaign but a section of Turks took it otherwise. But the way this simple demand of abandoning the park project turned into a countrywide campaign against the government smacks of some foreign hands in stirring the Turkish home affairs. Speaking on a visit to Tunisia on 7 June, Tayyip Erdogan confirmed involvement of some “terror groups” and arrest of seven foreigners among others.

A close study of the entire episode makes it palpably clear that wide influence of Erdogan not only on Turkish polity but on international politics as well, Ankara’s close ties with post-revolution Egypt and Tunisia, its grave concern on the recent disquieting developments in Bangladesh, and above all the Islamic leaning of Erdogan and his AKP have upset the west as well as the lovers of the erstwhile Kemalist regime. A grilling of seven arrested foreigners can yield some vital information in this regard. Let’s hope Erdogan, who has reined in military generals, gifted democracy to the Turks and strengthened the country’s economy, will succeed in foiling this uprising and leading the country forward with utmost wisdom and dexterity he has shown over the years.



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