It is About the Park : A Struggle for Turkey’s Cities
Reassuring their readers that the protests are not about something as silly or simple as the defense of a small park against redevelopment, analysts are eager to enumerate a bundle of decisions taken by the Turkish government, and in particular the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyıp Erdoğan, ranging from the regulation of public consumption of alcohol to media censorship and journalist arrests to the brutal violence with which the regime waged its war on Kurdish “terrorists,” to explain the enormity of the protests and intensity of police-protestors confrontations. In sidelining the importance of the redevelopment of Gezi park as the space and policy over which the initial confrontation erupted, however, we miss an opportunity to understand the core vulnerabilities of the Turkish regime as well as the power and centrality of the defense of the right to the city as a cause to be protected and championed by its citizenry. This is about the park.
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