The Guardian is reporting a scene that is both chilling and comical in Istanbul. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been warning protesters that his patience is running out and his police force are using gas and water cannons to clear areas of the city. As discussed earlier, the media has been virtually silent about the media in final proof of the death of a free press in the country. However, Western reporters were surprised by Turkish reporters and cameras were seen at the park and then learned why: the government was about to stage a fake riot.
As Western reporters looked on, “small group of four or five “demonstrators” throwing molotov cocktails at police. At one point they advanced on police lines in a comic Roman-style phalanx while holding the flag of a fringe Marxist party. The “protesters” were in fact middle-aged undercover police officers, staging a not very plausible “attack” on their own for the benefit of the cameras.”
Of course, the government has done nothing about the staged riot. Instead, it is clearing the streets by force. In one of the worst escalations of government abuse, lawyers who have been assisting arrested protesters were themselves dragged out of Istanbul’s Çağlayan court and roughed up.
The staging of the riot reflects the fact that the Turkish protesters have been largely peaceful — denying the police an excuse to crackdown.
He has shown the same intolerance as other Islamic Spring government for free speech, secularism, and democratic process. What is distressing is that Turkey once was the most secular of Islamic countries and offered an alternative to the religious model of countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia.