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Who Are Turkey’s Protesters? The View From Taksim Square

An eyewitness report from Taksim Square in Istanbul.
Riot police use tear gas to disperse the crowd during an anti-government protests at Taksim Square in central Istanbul May 31, 2013. Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon on Friday at demonstrators in central Istanbul, wounding scores of people and prompting rallies in other cities in the fiercest anti-government protests for years. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX107MT

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I was, in my capacity as a reporter, among the thousands of citizens who thronged the streets of central Istanbul on May 31 in what some are labeling “A Turkish Spring” and “A Turkish Occupy” movement. Other commentators have resorted to the lazy old clichés of “secularists versus Islamists.”  Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists they are "provocateurs."

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