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Istambul was Plaza Altamira
Istambul was Plaza Altamira

The chavista model of the modern autocracy – dismantle democratic checks and balances while simultaneously keeping a democratic façade by winning elections – is possibly our only remaining non-traditional export. Case in point: Turkey, where thousands are currently protesting Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “dictatorship.”

This Foreign Policy piece has some interesting, distressingly familiar background. The money quote:

“By 2012, Erdogan presided over the 17th-largest economy in the world, had become an influential actor in the Middle East, and the Turkish prime minister was a trusted interlocutor with none other than the president of the United States.  Yet even as the AKP was winning elections at home and plaudits from abroad, an authoritarian turn was underway. In 2007, the party seized upon a plot in which elements of Turkey’s so-called deep state — military officers, intelligence operatives, and criminal underworld — sought to overthrow the government and used it to silence its critics. Since then, Turkey has become a country where journalists are routinely jailed on questionable grounds, the machinery of the state has been used against private business concerns because their owners disagree with the government, and freedom of expression in all its forms is under pressure.

In what was a surreal scene – but sadly one that was altogether unsurprising to close observers of Turkey — CNN International on Friday was covering the protests live in Taksim while at the very same time CNN Turk, the network’s Turkish-language affiliate, was running a cooking show as the historic heart of Turkey’s largest city was in enormous upheaval. This dynamic of Turkish press censorship and intimidation, in which media outlets critical of the government are targeted for reprisal, has resulted in the dismissal of talented journalists like Amberin Zaman, Hasan Cemal, and Ahmet Altan for criticizing the government or defying its dictates. This type of implicit government intimidation is unreasonable in an allegedly democratic or democratizing society.”

PS.- Brownie points for the first to figure out the meaning of the title.

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  1. the best part is that I’ve already seen some clueless chavistas showing messages of support for the Istanbul protesters… que no vengan llorando cuando les aplaste una tonelada de ironía

    • Your daily Hathos, courtesy of Aporrea:

      “Como es ya sabido y típico (de los troskos) se lanzan verdades unidas con mentiras: El pueblo turco y la clase obrera se está despertando y subvirtiendo el orden establecido, contra un gobierno ur-fascista, proto-islamico y racista por convicción; hasta ahí todo claro (según el articulo de opcion-chirinos), exceptuando nombrar la participación de los comunistas turcos y haciendo énfasis en la participación de los social-traidores trotskistas de allá, que metiendo como gazapo, hablan del “regimen terrorista de Siria” y la supuesta “revolución” que se da en ese pais; por que no traes a colación el comunicado de solidaridad con los “rebeldes sirios” que (no se cual de tantas) la fracción trotskista ha publicado en favor de los fundamentalistas islamicos, como los que actuaron en Libia y apoyados en el imperialismo, que intentan destruir a ese bastión del anti-imperialismo y del socialismo arabe?

      Trotskismo, puta del imperialismo..

      “El Che, en una ocasión dijo que el eslabón más alto de la especie humana es ser revolucionario. Yo digo más, el eslabón más alto del ser revolucionario es ser comunista”
      Fidel Castro Ruz

      Militante del Partido Comunista de Venezuela.”

      • These blokes are absolute idiots. So: are they Stalinists? Anyway: they adore the same caudillo who said he was 1) not a socialist, 2) one of a Third Path, 3) one of the Rhineland capitalism, 4) a Maoist, 5) a Trotskist, 6) a Marxist, 7) not a Marxist but a Chavista.

  2. No surprises here – communists, islamic fundamentalists and ultra-orthodox religious anti-scientific zealots in general are essentially undistinguishable animals

  3. I prefer a phrase in the language of God:
    A cada cochino le toca su hora.

    And yet we should be cautious: as usual, there is a certain divide between pluralistic forces in the metropolitan centres and the conservative movements from the rural or semi-rural areas…same as in Iran and, to a lesser extent intent, in Venezuela.

  4. “istamul was Plaza Altamira” no, you are so wrong. “Istambul (taksim) was Tahrir square” you must then correct and say “Plaza Altamira was a sorry excuse of a protest and a costly and bitter joke”

    • I agree with Gota. What I can’t get over is the fact that people in Istambul actually do go out and protest while people in Vzla are afraid to do so and are told to “stay home” because the gov. “estan tirando un peine”. How else do you remove a dictatorship, with a cacerolazo out of your window because you are too afraid to leave your home and protest in the street the way you should? The reality is that the Maduro gov was very successful in terrorizing the opposition into not protesting or complaining, which is the way things are in North Corea or Cuba, the reality also is that slowly Vzla resembles more a full dictatorship. The Capriles plan of nonviolent resistance is failing, travelling to Colombia and talking to Santos is doing nothing to remove Maduro. As long as the opposition thinks that the solution to the Maduro problem is letting the rest of the world know what is happening to Vzla the problem won’t go away, only the “bravo pueblo” has the solution on their hands, follow the example of Turkey and start complaining now…

  5. Joe Schmoe @June 4, 2013 at 8:08 am:It’s worth noting that the “deep state” actually was guilty of plotting a coup in Turkey.

    1) It is true that the Turkish Army regarded itself as the final guarantor of secular government and democracy, and that on three occasions (1960. 1971, and 1980) the Army intervened, taking power from civilian politicians who appeared incapable of maintaining order. In each case the Army voluntarily returned power to civilian authority a few months or years later.

    2) There is no credible evidence of any plot by Turkish army officers to overthrow Erdogan. Most of those arrested for alleged participation in such a plot have never been charged or tried. About half are journalists, not officers. The trials that have been held have been obvious farces, with totally unbelievable evidence presented, and defendants prevented from introducing evidence or cross-examining the witnesses against them.


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