How Erdogan’s language fans the flames

Ali Yenidunya writes: It is now almost two weeks since mass demonstrations arose against his Government, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan shows no sign of relenting in his decision to re-develop Istanbul’s Gezi Park, the catalyst for the protests, or to give way on wider demands, such as holding police accountable for violence that has killed three protesters and injured thousands.

Instead, on Tuesday, Erdogan justified police attacks to clear Istanbul’s Taksim Square and other protest sites: “What were we supposed to do? Kneel in front of these people and ask them remove the banners? How would those illegal rags be removed from public buildings?”

The Prime Minister stigmatised dissent, “Violent actions that took place in many cities of Turkey have camouflaged themselves behind the Gezi Park protests.”

This is dangerous language. It divides the country into two inimical camps, simplifies the crisis, and embedding it in a politics in which “democracy” is defined only through the “ballot box” and every opposing demand is labeled “illegitimate”. [Continue reading…]

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