Zoe Williams

Links: Keep calm and carry on?

Protests in Turkey
A whirling sufi wearing gas mask in 2013 protests in Turkey in Gezi Park (2 June 2013) –  CC-BY-SA “Azirlazarus”, Wikimedia Commons

The biggest news over the last week of course has been the events in Turkey, and speculation about the movement – “Occupy Gezi” or the “Turkish Spring” – is everywhere. So, are we witnessing the beginning of a revolution, or will these protests go the way of Occupy and fizzle out over the coming months?

According to some at Foreign Affairs, the protestors are primarily “peevish elitists” and “anti-capitalist Muslims” and, with 50% of voters behind him, Erdogan doesn’t need to worry (especially given Turkey’s recent economic success).

Or, it could be that Erdogran’s conservative cultural agenda, which places restrictions on alcohol consumption and access to abortion; tensions over urban development; and his proposed move from a parliamentary to a presidential system with extensive new powers for the president, has sufficiently worried the other 50% of the population that didn’t vote for him.

Either way, it’s important to know that, while the Arab Spring was tweeted, whatever’s going on in Turkey is going to be “Vined” (is that something we’re going to have to say now?)

For more on Turkey, here’s a post from The Monkey Cage with links to some interesting details not being widely reported. Also note this data on Twitter usage in the protest.

Continuing with a regional and thematic focus, while the Arab Spring unrest has apparently made Dubai even richer Tunisia’s president says the country’s progress is jeopardized by persistent poverty.

Meanwhile, Egypt is passing legislation that strengthens government control over NGOs, potentially denying them domestic and international funding says Human Rights Watch.

It’s not all bad news though – while the Chinese government likes to censor any mention of the June 4th Tiananmen Square massacre, some clever people have found an ingenious way around that.

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