What began a few days ago as a peaceful attempt to save a tiny park in the middle of the heavily urbanized city of Istanbul, has turned into a nationwide anti-government protest that has many experts comparing the situation to the 2011 revolutions in Northern Africa and the Middle East.
The chain of events leading to this large scale uprising began on May 28th, 2013, when a small group of young environmentalists gathered inside Istanbul's Taksim Square for a sit-in to try prevent the bulldozers that were waiting to raze down one of the city's last remaining patches of green and replace it with large complex comprising of a shopping and cultural center and mosque. Besides being concerned about the uprooting of trees, the protesters were also upset about the demolition of the historical sites inside the square's Gezi Park.
The peaceful protest turned out to be the perfect political opportunity for members of the country's main opposition group, the Secular Republican People's Party who joined in and changed the agenda from saving trees to asking the country's Prime Minster Tayyip Erdogan, to resign.
As police tried to break up the ever increasing and if rumors are to be believed violent protestors, people all over the country started to get enraged and as of June 6th, 2013 the protests had spread across all of Turkey's major cities.
While the opposition party definitely has its agenda, the people of Turkey have joined in to protest not just the demolition of this one park, but the numerous green spaces that are constantly being razed down to make room for commercial centers. What is irking them the most is the fact that the development is all done with no input from them whatsoever and is not ordered by the local Municipal authorities, but by officials from the Central government, who many suspect are accepting bribes in return. Not only that, the Prime Minister is also showing similar autocratic rule with regards to social issues, freedom of press, as well as, any opposition that comes his way.
Though most experts believe that the Prime Minister has too much support from his people and no real credible opposition to be ousted like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia's Zine El Abidne Ben Ali were, his handling of this uprising by sending in troops, calling it undemocratic and forbidding the press to report on it for a few days, has upset a lot of Turkish residents - Is it enough to get him ousted at the upcoming October elections? Only time will tell!
Resources: forbes.com, cnn.com