Turkey ~ Images, Hypocrisy, Commentary
"We are concerned by the reports of excessive use of force by police. We obviously hope that there will be a full investigation of those incidents and full restraint from the police force." - John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of StateThe Obama administration is speaking out on the violent official response to political protests in Turkey. And they are right to do so. Here is the series of images encapsulating that response.
The image depicts Ceyda Sungur being pepper sprayed - unprovoked - by a police officer in Gezi Park, the central locus of protest in Istanbul. You can find some background on the image here at The Guardian. More on the protests below. But this image does nothing so forcefully as recall images (like, for instance, this and this) of various American law enforcement officers spraying Occupiers across the country. So, first it is necessary to remind officials of the Obama administration of the coordinated, violent campaign waged against Occupy protesters in various cities here in the United States. As I have mentioned here before, there is ample evidence that that campaign was supported (perhaps actively coordinated) by Federal law enforcement agencies. In particular, Kerry's comments on the importance not just of free association but the right to assemble underscore just how anemic those freedoms are here at home.
Meanwhile the protests in Turkey has generated bunches of commentary from intellectuals of various sorts. Since most Americans no less than nothing about politics abroad, and the rest of us don't know nearly enough, perhaps a little digest will help! Economist Dani Rodrik, Nobel Prize winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, political theorist Seyla Benhabib, economist Daron Accemoglu . . . I will add more as they become available.
Update (6/6/13): Here is a commentary by Bahar Leventoglu, one of our successful PhD alums who, in addition, has herself waged a long, successful political-legal campaign for basic women's rights in Turkey - details here.