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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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It’s More Communist Provocation than ‘Turkish Spring’

Just as the majority cannot oppress the minority, the minority cannot oppress the majority either.
The banners and flags that stood out throughout the violent protests belonged to the minority TKP/ML (Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist).

The banners and flags that stood out throughout the violent protests belonged to the minority TKP/ML (Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist).

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Editor’s Note:

Thousands of Turks have been protesting this past week, in the country’s fiercest anti-government demonstrations in years. This morning, the White House called for all parties in Turkey to “calm the situation.” That kind of language from the Administration always scares me, because I know they’re about to do something stupid. But, my fears aside, the spokeswoman for the Administration said the U.S. believes peaceful public demonstrations “are a part of democratic expression,” and Turkey’s long-term stability is best guaranteed by upholding “the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association.” She specifically called on security forces in Turkey to “exercise restraint.”

I’ve been corresponding with (and quoting lavishly) our frequent contributor Sinem Tezyapar, who lives in Istanbul, and nagging her for a first-hand report about events in her gorgeous city. She took a couple of days, but here it is, her first-hand account of what she thinks is really going on in Turkey these days.

Incidentally, after witnessing the pepper spraying, head bashing, face cracking police work in many U.S. cities over the “occupy” summer of 2011, I believe my president should take it easy on lecturing folks abroad on exercising restraint.

For the last couple of days, because of the protests that were triggered by redevelopment plans of a park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, I have been asked many times whether this could be the flame of a “Turkish Spring.” Once again, things about Turkey are being blown out of proportion and misrepresented with distorted information.

To begin with, it is simply not fair to compare Turkey—a democratic and secular country—with the Arab countries where people fought for their democratic rights, equality and freedom via protests, to free themselves from tyrannical regimes.

For one thing, the AK Party has been re-elected for the third time; each time, they have increased their share of the vote—a unique situation in the Turkish Republic’s history, and arguably, a rare situation in the worldwide political arena.

What’s more, it was the Turkish public that asked PM Erdogan to modify the current term-limit regulations so that he can serve as PM for another term. As a matter of fact, if elections were held today, PM Erdogan would very likely win the vote by 70%. So the inferences that mention Turkey’s democratic system in the same breath as brutal and repressive dictatorships in some Arab countries are inappropriate and disingenuous reflections. It is like trying to judge the whole of Turkey by just looking outside your window that opens on a narrow alley. It is important to remember that Turkey’s population is 76 million, and Turkey’s dynamic and public opinion cannot be framed with some protests of provocative factions.

The system in Turkey is based on democracy, and everyone in Turkey has the right to express his/her views freely, as well as to hold a peaceful protest rally within the boundaries of laws. However, no democratic system gives the power to those who resort to violence. Thus, if there is meaningful discontent with the current government, then the people can vote to change the government very soon. Every four years, elections are duly held in Turkey and the Turkish nation makes its choice by exercising their democratic rights; consequently the government will not resign simply because some people say so, or because others conduct undemocratic, unlawful, violent actions. The elected government can only be replaced through democratic means, not by the threats of rampaging mobs in the streets.

No one has the right to act against the law and no one has the right to damage either public or private property and put in jeopardy the safety of the residents of the Turkish Republic or foreign tourists.

The events in the Taksim Park area involved two groups; yes, there were people who were sincerely alarmed, assuming the green space would be harmed. For that reason, the public should have been better informed about the redevelopment plans. The municipality should have stressed that the uprooted trees were to be planted elsewhere and that no harm would come to them. It should have been emphasized that both historic and natural beauty was the objective in the Taksim development: in fact, the new project will have more trees than are in the current park. What’s more, the AK Party government has forested a 900,000 hectare (2,225 acres) area and there’s continuous effort to increase the green area. Just for Istanbul alone, one million square meters of new, active green spaces are added every year.

It would have been good for the government to set out such important projects in detail right from the outset and keep the public well-informed, so that there were no excuse for the provocateurs to take action. In addition, and as a general policy to eliminate any groundless fears, it should have also been emphasized to atheist and communist citizens that they can live freely and securely in this country.

Since people were not properly informed about the details of the Taksim Gezi Park development project, they reacted. Thus, some may have joined peaceful protests thinking that they would be left without trees. But for others, it was another opportunity for clashes with the police. As a matter of fact, within the last couple of days, because of the violent protestors, 26 policemen were injured and one is in a coma. Can this be the result of love for trees? If the protestors did this for the love of trees, what about love for their fellow man? They have thrown heavy stones, and balls full of nails at policemen; they have burned streets and buses, demolished stores, ripped up paving stones. People who love trees and make peaceful protests do not spill blood, spread terror and vandalize public or private property.

The burning and destruction went on well after police had left the area.

The burning and destruction went on well after police had left the area.

Changing the regime through arson and destruction is out of the question in any democratic system. The nation decides if the government should stay in power, not a handful of malcontents.

The Communists number 50,000 at most, out of a Turkish nation of 76 million. Just as the majority cannot oppress the minority, the minority cannot oppress the majority either. But some on the political left are engaging in aggression born by the frustrating knowledge that they can never come to power by democratic means. That violent aspect of Communism is deeply offensive. Social justice must be applied with compassion, not violence.

Some Communist groups began vandalizing the streets and buildings and spreading false rumors in order to whip people up into a frenzy. It was definitely not about parks or green spaces, though the protest action started off that way; it was hijacked by chronic malcontents.

Police reacted to stone-throwing protesters by firing tear gas and using water cannons, in some cases too fiercely, to be frank. The excessive force of the police should be—and will be—investigated, as Turkish officials have already stated. However some on the left in Turkey love to create an uproar and clash with the police whenever they can. They try to manipulate and exploit every peaceful protest—which is a democratic right in Turkey—and turn them into violent attacks that ruin the social order. What they did was an unnecessary provocation and even after the police withdrew, Communist protestors continued to destroy shop windows, cars and police buses with sledgehammers. One can easily see the flags of Communist and illegal factions being openly displayed.

They just followed the teachings of Lenin:

“They must arm themselves as best they can (rifles, revolvers, bombs, knives, knuckle-dusters, sticks, rags soaked in kerosene for starting fires, ropes or rope ladders, shovels for building barricades, pyroxylin cartridges, barbed wire, nails, etc., etc.). … Even without arms, the groups can play a most important part:
1) by leading the mass;
2) by attacking, whenever a favorable opportunity presents itself, policemen… and seizing their arms;
3) by rescuing the arrested or injured, when there are only few police about;
4) by getting on to the rooftops or upper stories of houses, etc., and showering stones or pouring boiling water on the troops, etc. …
To launch attacks under favorable circumstances is not only every revolutionary’s right, but his plain duty. The killing of spies, policemen, gendarmes, the blowing up of police stations, the liberation of prisoners, the seizure of government funds for the needs of the uprising… Every detachment of the revolutionary army must be ready to start such operations at a moment’s notice.”
(Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Collected Works, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1972, vol. 9, pp. 420-424.)

But, as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, stated, “We are neither Bolsheviks nor Communists; we cannot be either of them because we are nationalists and respectful to our religion.”

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About the Author: Sinem Tezyapar is an executive producer on Turkish Television. She is a political and religious commentator and a peace activist. She can be reached on Facebook, and Twitter.

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63 Responses to “It’s More Communist Provocation than ‘Turkish Spring’”

  1. By the way I am talking about the group who manipulates, aggravates, exploits the peaceful protesters and vandalizes streets and resorts to violence… Of course there are people who don't like Ak party and they should protest peacefully. But this is something else!

  2. Sam Westrop says:

    So when autocratic Islamists protest autocratic Government, it's 'democratic protest'? But when a diverse array of Turks are beaten and shot by autocratic Islamists, it's Communist agitation?

  3. Yori Yanover says:

    Sam Westrop · This "autocratic" leader has earned 70% of the vote. He liberalized the economy. Annual GDP growth in Turkey is between 5 and 7 — by far the best in Europe.

    It doesn't take a majority of demonstrators to turn a peaceful rally into a battle zone, it takes a few trained and ruthless agents. I'm old enough to have seen these things with my own eyes — I'm sure the tactics haven't changed.

    The cops screwed up for sure — as did the cops in Oakland, CA who pepper sprayed demonstrators who were sitting down with hands cuffed behind their backs. Does it make the U.S. government autocratic? Of course not.

    Turkey, like Israel, is about 70% traditional and religious. The atheistic left is feeling pushed out. They grow older, they have few offspring, they're losing — and the only way they can come back is by starting up something, maybe keep it up a while, give the army a reason to muscle in. Those are your democrats.

    But, of course, if the majority votes for a religious party they can't possibly be democratic. We all know religious people are oppressive.

  4. Hakan Ergin says:

    Dolmabahçe Mosque Taksim terrorists. Bezmi Valide Sultan Mosque, the mosque has suffered a great event.They drank alcohol and smoking mosque.

  5. Avi Ibrahim Balser says:

    Dear Sinem, your analysis is correct and accurate. The people elected Erdogan and his government. It is THEY – the people who want him past his second term. Turkey is a democracy. If they want to make a change the know how to do it – not by violence, but by voting. These protests on a minor issue if a park would have remained quiet and peaceful except for the Communist provocateurs who infiltrated the peaceful crowds and turned them violent. They know they are a small minority in Turkey, and have little chance of succeeding in the poles, so they want to throw Turkey into unrest, their old method of taking criminal possession of a country.

  6. Avi Ibrahim Balser says:

    You are dead-on right, as usual.

  7. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    Yori Yanover With voter fraud rampant!!! The largest number of independent press imprisoned in the world!! An autocratic islamist regime that has NO problem imprisoning all opposition. As for Ottoman Israeli relations, Erdogan and Gur have been quite direct in their push to end the Jewish State, even having their shills promote a venture for Israel to fall under the aegis of ottoman control

    By the way, Israel is NOT mostly religious albeit it mostly Jewish. The plethora of propaganda in defense of a genocidal ottoman wannabe is amazing!

  8. Sam Mauda says:

    Wake up!!!!!

  9. Sam Mauda says:

    I will continue to wake you up till it happened …lol

  10. Yori Yanover says:

    Arie's Pragmatic Politics · I agree with you on the arrested journalists, but if you study the CPJ report (http://cpj.org/imprisoned/2012.php) a lot of them were Kurds, and that takes us to a totally different side of the Turkish story of their national paranoia over minority rights. They do put away a lot of journalists, although often it's not for what they write, but on "security" charges.

    They do have a problem with that, as does any regime that locks people up on vague security charges. I know of one such regime in North America, that even sends people without trial to black prisons in former communist countries, don't ask. But I don't defend either regime.

    A poll published a year ago or so by Ha'aretz found the 70% of the Jews in Israel consider themselves anywwhere from traditional to religious. Right wing parties never lost their majority among the Jewish voters since 1977.

  11. Nevena Ruzic says:

    do you honestly think that? or someone else wrote it?

  12. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    The JP continues it s push to become the Haaretz of the US: Allegedly Jewish promoting an agenda to destroy the State and subjugate it to foreign entities. Let’s review some realities:
    First of all, the comment by the editor that Obama overreacted and used violence against Occupy Wall Street? DO you have no base in reality? It was Obama and Pelosi that openly and actively promoted OWS and then condemned “over-reaction” by local police after the PDs had enough of OWS attacks on people property and police where numerous cops were in fact hurt.
    Now, the reality of the Ottoman Regime:
    Turkey is NOT a “secular Democratic State!” Turkey has the largest number of journalists imprisoned in the world. That is fact! Like Obama, the Turkish (some would say Ottoman) regime is continuously embedded by fraud. And to call Turkey “secular” is disingenuous at best. The JDP is steep in Islamist demands and a push for Shari’a. Laws are now being enacted whereby Shari’a is at its core. And to critique the government or Islam is a sure road to a jail cell or be attacked by government security agencies – much like the other ruler Erdogan calls his best friend – Obama!
    “Demonstrations instigated by Communists:” Reality in the Middle East is that every protest is either initiated by Communists or by the “Zionist conspirators,” to many in the Arab world one and the same.
    “Changing the regime through arson and destruction is out of the question in any democratic system. The nation decides if the government should stay in power, not a handful of malcontents.” Turkey is NOT a democratic secular government and the writing of that is beyond disingenuous – it is an outright lie. But then, Josef Goebbles once wrote: “tell a lie often enough and big enough, and sooner or later it will be believed.”.
    The Ottoman’s stated goal as far as Israel goes has become more and more obvious: demonization, excoriation, and threats! Even while Syria engages in a brutal civil war the ottoman ruler Erdogan finds time to push Assad to stage a military attack against the Jewish State. And since Erdogan has consolidated his ruthless power in Istanbul, his own personal threats of military violence against the Jewish State have grown. And he will now double down on his hatred for the Jewish State by staging a visit to Gaza, run by a world-defined terrorist group, to provide them support, promise weaponry, training and financing.
    And a reality check: It is the author of the article that has written other articles promoting the concept of a Middle East under Ottoman hegemony and control, with “member” states answering to the Ottomans. Explain where that would be different from the previous Ottoman exploitation?
    To review: It falls on the despicable that a media describing itself as “Jewish” promotes an apologist and propagandist for a regime that would appreciate nothing more than being recognized as being responsible for the end of the Jewish State. I am surprised however that unlike other articles by the writer, the editor of JP did not post a cautionary threatening to ban all that would dare critique the writer, censorship at its best (and common in Turkey under the Ottoman regime).
    Amazing how gullible some media is. Or is it just gullibility?

  13. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    Explain why Turkey has the highest number of journalists imprisoned globally, all for critiquing the ruling party? So much for "peaceful protest"

  14. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    Yori Yanover "paranoia of minority rights" By definition oppression and tyranny. And really, a poll by Ha'aretz of all media? The same Ha'aretz whose publisher Schocken jimself penned an editorial calling "universal Jewish intermarriage the cure for global peace," his way of again calling to end Judaism.

  15. Avi Ibrahim Balser says:

    Yes, my words on my own. I believe what I wrote earlier. I know Israel is upset with Erdogan over a few incidents including a speech of a few months ago. However for the country of Turkey he has been an amazing leader and the Turkish people have a right to choose him. This is NOT like the so-called Arab Spring, this is a Communist attempt to destabilize Turkey.

  16. Avi Ibrahim Balser says:

    And, YES, I agree Erdogan had made mistakes, and his mouth gets him in trouble. I can identify with that, LOL.
    But look how much Turkey has improved under Erdogan. No wonder the people like him. While the US economy is in shambles, together with most of Europe, Turkey is thriving, and paid off its debt to the IMF.
    When we pay off our debt to China, then we can talk …LOL

  17. Yori Yanover says:

    Arie's Pragmatic Politics · The JPress has one agenda: promoting Jewish life according to halacha, and a faith in God. We don't support Erdogan, we condemned his long list of anti-Israeli statements and acts. We don't think he is a friend of Israel, not in the least.

    But he is an elected prime minister, not a despot. And he is definitely a political and military ally — not potentially, but right now. When Israeli attack planes go into Iran, they'll be stopping in a Turkish airfield to refuel. When Syria collapses even more seriously, Turkey and Israel will have to collaborate from either end of the map.

    In that context, without choosing sides, Erdogan represents political stability and economic prosperity, while the Communists that are setting office buildings on fire represent chaos.

    You do the math.

  18. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    It's more Ottoman brutality then any protest.


  19. Avi Ibrahim Balser says:

    {{{{ Smadi }}}} Sam <3 <3

  20. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    "elected" Where opposition is jailed en masse. The Iranians claim their last election (2009) was also "democratic" and "only 300" were killed. A despot by definition is one who jails and engages in violence against opposition – as we see him doing now! A despot by definition is one who jails journalists who critique him. And he has the highest number of jailed journalists globally – more then any "openly" jihadi regime! You presume any Israeli warplanes will be "refueling in Turkey." Really? Do you have intelligence that no one else has? And Syria is not collapsing anytime soon. Russia is making sure that Assad survives and obama has proven himself incapable of standing up to any foreign State, especially Russia. And do we preefr an Assad regiem or an al Qaeda regime in Syria for that is the option.

    Erdogan is not politically stable. The riots, his over-reaction (proving like Obama he cannot fathom dissent and reacts like obama does), and his beginning to stage blame is indicative of a regime in trouble. The author, acting as Erdogan's proxy, blames Communists. Erdogan is already blaming "outside agitators" (historically Zionists) and social media. Sound familiar? The same attacks preceding other falls of Islamist and Arab regimes. And your own author has written articles promoting Ottoman "guidance" throughout the region, codewords for the new Ottoman Empire.

    And "communists setting buildings on fire." Again, you are looking at the issue through the eyes of one propagandist for the regime. Other more objective media say otherwise

  21. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    "A few incidents?" Erdogan has threatened war with Israel!! He has castigated Assad for not attacking Israel!! He routinely demands that Israel be excluded from NATO and be restricted from the EU. And he is heading to Gaza to promote the terrorists in Hamas, and supply and finance them. Erdogan is an Islamist with the Islamist goals. And I find it humorous that the "communists" are being held to blame. It won't be long before Erdogan blames the Mossad.

  22. Yori Yanover says:

    Arie's Pragmatic Politics – You win, Schocken is a so and so. Now what?

  23. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    The typical path of accusations in islamist states as to why there are protests:
    First it's the Communists!; Then it's social media; By tomorrow, it will be "Zionist instigation and imperialism".

    'Social media is the worst menace to society,' says Recep Erdogan after thousands take control of Istanbul's main square".


  24. Yori Yanover says:

    Arie's Pragmatic Politics · The problem with your gushing paragraph is the fact that Turkey is prosperous. It is doing better than most European countries, and it has the highest growth rate. You don't get that in a system that constantly jails people and imposes its rule by force. At least not anywhere outside China. And Turkey's business class are all secular. They're bankers and industrialists and shippers and hotel owners — if they didn't think Erdogan was a stabilizing force, they'd take their money elsewhere.

    See, the problem is that you're not interested in exchanging views, you want to win. I answered your point about the JPress agenda — but you let it fly by you because you couldn't score on it.

    So, I'll tell you what — I'm giving you 10 points, you're way ahead, I declare you the winner of this debate.

  25. Yori Yanover says:

    Because they're afraid of the Kurds and the Communists. I'm not condoning it, but that's the reason.

  26. Avi Ibrahim Balser says:

    Hmmmm maybe the Mossad IS to blame, after all we know how some in Israel hate Erdogan, I would really not put it past them ..LOL
    Your agenda is clear, Arie. Let's just agree to disagree.
    And, brace yourself — if I were forced to choose between living in Turkey or in Israel, I would choose TURKEY without a second thought.

  27. Avi Ibrahim Balser says:

    Besides, it is irrelevant if some outside of Turkey hate Erdogan. It is not their country. The PEOPLE OF TURKEY love him. That is their right. They do not need to please you or anyone else. They vote for whom the choose.
    Many people hate Bibi. But nobody outside of Israel has a right to tell Israelis whom to vote for.

  28. aqbsoulte agree 100% Avi———he did many good things and sure u need a kind of stzrong hand to not let ppl dance on your nose.and i don t see him as a dictator as mayn report now.

  29. Ilkhan Samat says:

    Any ordinary Muslim Turks would not do what they do, like burning Police cars, public buses, trying to burn and destroy government buildings, banks and stores , attacking Police with stones and anything they find, insulting and swearing to the Prime minister and to voters of his Party which means at least %50, they are definitely something else but not Muslim Turks. This is some big international organization against new and big Turkey, but we know who they are and just watching and waiting them to stop this patiently but if not we will not just continue watching for sure.

  30. Ilkhan Samat says:

    Any ordinary Muslim Turks would not do what they do, like burning Police cars, public buses, trying to burn and destroy government buildings, banks and stores , attacking Police with stones and anything they find, insulting and swearing to the Prime minister and to voters of his Party which means at least %50, they are definitely something else but not Muslim Turks. This is some big international organization against new and big Turkey, but we know who they are and just watching and waiting them to stop this patiently but if not we will not just continue watching for sure.

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