Sinem wrote:

“The excessive force of the police should be and will be investigated, but this is definitely a provocation: you can see the flags of leftist groups in pictures. Istanbul’s population is 14 million—but Turkey has 70 million. So ‘Turkish Spring’ expectations are way too unrealistic just based on the numbers. If an election were held today, Erdogan would have pulled 70 percent of the vote.

“You’re not getting a fair and valid reflection of the way things are here. The reports are simply blowing things out of proportion.

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“After police withdrew, protestors continued to destroy, using sledgehammers, shop windows, cars, police buses. Leftist groups have vandalized and spread false rumors to start provocations. It is definitely not about a park or green area. the AK party has forested an area of area 2,225 acres, and according to the new plan they will make this area greener. It was simply provocation.”

I wrote her: It seems that the urban population in Turkey is suspicious of the PM’s intent when he bans the sale of alcohol in the evening – they feel the creeping takeover of state institutions by the religion. Are they entirely wrong?

Sinem wrote back:

“Regarding the alcohol ban, the law bans the advertising of alcohol, prohibits the retail selling of alcohol in shops between 10 PM and 6 AM—except in tourist areas—and forbids its sale to anyone under 18. It means that if you are an adult, you can still buy alcohol at a bar or a restaurant after 10 PM.

“Turkey is just 10 years behind Europe on this issue. These regulations are common all over Europe, and in North America. You can buy trucks of alcohol in Turkey, and no one will stop you.

“But every year thousands of people in Turkey lose their lives in traffic accidents. 65 % of all traffic accidents happen because of drunk driving. And in Turkey, the reason for 85% of the homicides, 50% of the rapes, 50% of violent crimes, 70% of domestic violence, and 60% of cases of mental diseases are linked to alcohol use—mainly at night.”

I must note that I just spoke on the phone with our regular blogger Rachel Avraham, who writes for United With Israel, and she’s been talking to several Turks of her acquaintances who said, yes, there were Communists involved in the riots, but the majority were your middle of the road, urban Turks who’ve had it up to here with the AKP. I’m looking forward to her posting on Monday.

Until then, I’m still stunned by the similarities between the Turkish and Israeli systems—which, actually, gives me a lot of hope for the future.

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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.