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Erdogan’s Authoritarian Transformation |

Erdogan’s Authoritarian Transformation |

Ten years ago, protests broke out in Gezi Park in Istanbul. They represent the rupture between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the liberal part of Turkey – and a turning point in the president’s political career. Just on the anniversary of the wave of protests, Erdogan has to face a run-off on Sunday.

five trees. On the night of May 28, 2013, exactly ten years ago, excavators advanced in Gezi Park in Istanbul and cut down five trees. It should be the beginning, the beginning of the end of a small green area in the middle of Taksim Square, the hub of the capital in the European part. But the rigs stopped the next day. A small group of environmentalists occupied the park, hanging banners, and an opposition Member of Parliament stood in front of the machines. In the following days, the events could no longer be stopped. The protest camp was violently cleansed, causing an outpouring of pent-up anger and disappointment in large parts of the population. An unprecedented wave of protests was formed in the history of the republic.

Posters at the time read: “We are right, we will win,” and given the inflationary use of water cannons: “If we were afraid of gas, we would not fart.” The end of Little Garden was supposed to be the end of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as an internationally famous politician in a rising country. Gezi Park was Erdogan’s sworn enemy, the point where he made his political transition, it was the beginning of his authoritarian transformation. It is precisely on this symbolic anniversary that today’s president has to face a runoff election.

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