The front page of today’s edition of Taraf, a left-of-center (according to Wikipedia, anyway) newspaper published in Turkey, circulation around 80,000, is full of penguins. Now you should know that Taraf has locked horns with the Turkish military before, and is not exactly beloved of the Erdoğan government either.
But what you want to know is “What’s with the penguins?” This is what’s with the penguins:
Turkish newspaper Taraf ordered not to report on data surveillance in Turkey. So it publishes penguins on front page. pic.twitter.com/WHf2TFQ146
— Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) June 16, 2013
Data surveillance? Where have I heard that?
If you haven’t been keeping up, here’s the BBC timeline so far:
31 May: Protests begin in Gezi Park over plans to redevelop one of Istanbul’s few green spaces
3 June: Protesters establish camps with makeshift facilities from libraries to food centres
4-10 June: Protests widen into show of anti-government dissent in towns and cities across Turkey; clashes between police and demonstrators
11/12 June: Night of clashes see riot police disperse anti-government demonstrators in Taksim Square, which adjoins Gezi Park; camps in the park remain
13 June: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issues a “final warning” to protesters to leave Gezi Park
14 June: Government agrees to suspend Gezi Park redevelopment plans until a court rules on the issue, PM holds talks with members of a key protest group
15 June: Police move in, clearing protesters from Gezi Park
But that’s not the whole story either. Again, the Beeb reports:
What began as a demonstration by environmentalists has mushroomed into something far bigger: a fight by disparate groups for greater freedom in Turkey and a preservation of the country’s secular order.
They see a government with an authoritarian, neo-Islamist agenda: the highest number of journalists in the world in prison, restrictions on alcohol sales, massive construction projects prioritised over human rights.
“This is not an Arab spring”, one protester, Melis Behlil, told me.
“We have free elections here. But the problem is that the person elected doesn’t listen to us.”
“The person elected doesn’t listen to us”? Where have I heard that?