Turkey’s Authoritarian Turn
The huge demonstrations that engulfed Istanbul over the weekend were initially prompted by a small grievance: the government’s decision to build a shopping mall and a replica of Ottoman military barracks in an old, much beloved park where I played as a child. The impending destruction of Gezi Park and Taksim Square, an important civic space with beautiful water fountains and flower stands, has touched a nerve because it seems an effort to erase the face of the old, majestic Istanbul, which has largely disappeared in recent years in favor of shallow, gaudy, stupefied consumerism.
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Seyla Benhabib is a senior fellow at the Transatlantic Academy, an initiative of The German Marshall Fund of the United States in Washington, DC.