Kurdish demonstrators in Taksim. Image: Özgür Gundem (Solidaridad Kurdistán)
By: Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse Posted on June 11.
On June 11 before noon, as I sat down at my desk to write this article, a few hundred meters away from my residence the police launched an operation to dismantle scores of barricades preventing entry of vehicles to Taksim Square and to remove the banners and placards on the defunct opera building and the Ataturk statute in the square.
Those barricades were put up by Gezi Park protesters after June 1 when the police evacuated Taksim Square.
Police forces, which had been an integral part of Taksim Square until May 31, have returned to Turkey’s social center and are working on restoring the AKP government’s authority over the square.
As police operations continued to disperse the crowds at Taksim and Gezi Park, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was getting ready to call his own crowds into the streets as a response to the mass protests targeting him since June 1. On June 16, Erdogan will stage a giant show of force by hundreds of thousands of his supporters at the seashore Kazlicesme district of Istanbul, just outside the Byzantine city walls.
Whether Turkey will proceed along the road to a widely based democracy or, instead of stability, head toward authoritarianism that will certainly bring about polarization and instability, will in large part depend on Erdogan’s attitude. For the time being, indications are for the latter option to prevail. Erdogan’s choices will also seriously affect the peace process with the Kurds.