Latest update: June 4th, 2013
Glen Johnson, reporting for the Los Angeles Times, has filed his story late Sunday night: “Thousands in Turkey continue protest over plan to bulldoze park.” Having been keeping up with the situation in Turkey, I took the opportunity to examine how the left wing media report on events that are not in my immediate vicinity. I know that when they report on, say clashes between the murderous IDF and peaceful Palestinian protesters, or on vile Jewish settlers burning down acres of olive groves that have been in this Palestinian farmer’s family since Saladin’s time, they’ll skew the story as best they can, using both code and innuendo, misrepresentations of the law and a warped version of history. But will I be able to catch those same tricks in a story about another country?
It was a challenge, and I must admit I had to labor for almost an entire minute to discover the usual suspects. I won’t bother you with the entire list of examples, because you’ll tire and walk away, so let’s do just a few:
A weekend of protest in Turkey has left the country reeling, with thousands of DISSIDENTS taking to the streets after a brutal police crackdown, presenting the government with the MOST COHESIVE CHALLENGE in its more than a decade in power.
Dissidents? How are these free Yuppies living in Istanbul dissidents? Are they being thrown in jail? Are they dying in the gulags? How did they become dissidents?
Well, with a few key strokes, is how it happened. The same as in the case of the most cohesive challenge to the government. A government that has enjoyed a growing majority of the vote for 11 years is challenged by some guys burning stuff? Was the U.S. government challenged by the Rodney King riots in L.A.? Is Israel challenged by a bunch of Arabs throwing rocks at passing cars?
A cohesive challenge is when a competing political party manages to attract a sizable portion of the voters, to the point where government has to take notice. A few thousand guys brawling with the cops is the most cohesive challenge in a decade? Then I’m afraid the Erdogan regime is here to stay for as long as they feel like.
“The government is passing laws that go against our freedom, that take away our rights,” said 31-year-old Derya Bozkurt as she stood in the heart of Taksim Square in central Istanbul on Sunday evening. She was drinking a beer and smoking a cigar — powerful statements in present-day Turkey, WHERE ISLAMISTS FROWN ON ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION and CIGAR SMOKING IS HARDLY THE SOCIAL NORM FOR A WOMAN.
So, Islamists in Turkey are frowning on alcohol consumption – as opposed to what other Islamists? Alcohol is banned by Islam – much like marijuana is religiously banned by the U.S. government. In fact, while hundreds of thousands of Americans spend time in jail for smoking and selling weed, not one person in all of Turkey has even been charged with drinking alcohol – because it’s legal. The government—like most municipalities in the U.S.—is trying to set limits on where bars can operate—away from schools and religious institutions—and at what age one may start drinking—in Turkey it’s 18, in the U.S. 21—and when the bars should close at night—unless they serve the tourism industry.
What a brave lass this 31-year-old Derya Bozkurt must be, for drinking beer in a country where no one can touch her for doing it. In New York City she could be arrested for drinking in public, unless she kept the can in a brown paper bag.
And the idea that a guy from L.A., the place where cigarette smokers are the lepers of society, is complaining that Turkish women are discouraged from smoking cigars? In L.A. someone would call the cops on her for smoking, if she’s not careful.
Plans to redevelop the park were PUSHED THROUGH last year by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP, DESPITE CONSIDERABLE OPPOSITION.
The AKP, a center-right nationalist party with Islamist leanings, DOMINATES THE PARLIAMENT and retains significant support in the country, appealing to a conservative Muslim base.
You’ll admit, that if you didn’t know the AKP enjoyed a huge, democratically elected, majority in parliament, you’d think that the development plans were imposed on the suffering Turks by a tyrannical, bullying system, deaf to their pleas. They did it despite considerable opposition of roughly 3 percent of the people, after all, how anti-democratic can you get?
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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