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Protest Aftermath Stokes Anti-Government Anger in Turkey

A judicial clampdown on demonstrators and lenient treatment of deadly police conduct hardens anti-government sentiment in the wake of Turkey’s protests.
Mothers of slain Turkish protesters lead a march in Ankara on July 26, 2013 to demand justice.

Ali Ismail Korkmaz, 19, was savagely clubbed in the head during recent anti-government government protests in Turkey. While he fought for his life for five weeks, almost no effort was made to find the assailants, who, witnesses say, were plainclothes police and government sympathizers. When the young man perished on July 10, the local governor’s reaction bordered on the cynical as he suggested that fellow protesters could have beaten up Korkmaz to defame the police. As the probe finally moved on, key security camera footage from the crime scene was mysteriously damaged, while the photos of officers on duty in the area, provided by police to prosecutors to “help” identification, turned out to be years old.

Korkmaz’s case is emblematic of the shield rising around the violent police conduct while a judicial onslaught targets the demonstrators, hardening the very sentiment that unleashed the protest wave — that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is growing authoritarian and polarizing the nation. 

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