Skip to main content

Erdogan, Gezi Park And the Headscarf

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan argues that the Gezi Park protests have to do with the headscarf ban in public places, saying the protesters don’t really know a thing about freedom.
A woman runs as protesters taunt the riot police during a protest at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 11, 2013. Turkish riot police fired tear gas and water cannon at hundreds of protesters armed with rocks and fireworks on Tuesday as they tried to take back control of a central Istanbul square at the heart of fierce anti-government demonstrations.   REUTERS/Murad Sezer (TURKEY  - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)   - RTX10JWS

There is no doubt that the constitution written after the 1980 military coup opened a bizarre page in Turkish history by preventing female students with headscarves from attending public university. But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has been in power for more than a decade now. And it is getting really tiresome to hear him link every issue to that wrong action, forcing the civilian population who are not AKP constituents to feel individually responsible.

Speaking today [June 11] at his party’s weekly parliamentary group meeting, Erdogan accused those who have not been able to defeat him at the ballot box of trying to find a new way, through the Gezi Park protests, to defeat him. “Although the Gezi Park protests are presented as being innocent … the truth is they’re really far from it,” he said. Erdogan is convinced that there is a foreign plot, in which the international media is playing a significant role, trying to cut short his achievements and therefore Turkey’s development in its democracy and economy.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.