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Turkey's Velvet Revolution

Nothing is predictable in the aftermath of the tempest at Istanbul’s Taksim Square.
A man is hit by a jet of water as riot police use a water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in central Ankara June 1, 2013. Erdogan made a defiant call for an end to the fiercest anti-government demonstrations in years on Saturday, as thousands of protesters clashed with riot police in Istanbul and Ankara for a second day.     REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES
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ISTANBUL — I have been living in Istanbul for 40 years. I have never seen days like the last two in my city. I never thought I would be living through times like these.

I am writing these lines as a veteran of revolutionary situations and extraordinary days. Which one should I recall?  I am someone who was in East Berlin in November 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down and stayed on for days to live those momentous days; after Berlin, I was in beautiful Prague to experience the Velvet Revolution; in 1987 and 1988, I witnessed the Palestinian intifada in Jerusalem, and in other towns of the West Bank and Gaza; I was there during those memorable days of August 1991 when Boris Yeltsin stood up on a tank but the military coup collapsed, Gorbachev returned to the capital and the Soviet Union disintegrated. And, finally, in I was in Beirut during the week of March 2005 when the Syrians evacuated Lebanon.

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