The footage out of Istanbul this week was depressingly familiar. The water cannons. The riot police. The Occupy Gezi protesters who last year captured the world's attention -- Turkish flags waving above Taksim Square and all that -- once again feeling the brunt of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security forces as they once again take to the streets.
Claire Berlinski (@ClaireBerlinski
) has been watching the events from Paris with sadness but little surprise. "The protests never really ended," she told Crikey
. "They were just suppressed."
And suppressing popular anger is the best way of ensuring that it will eventually explode. Erdogan's proposed crackdown on social media and the daily leaking of tapes implicating him in "almost surreal" levels of corruption have helped to build the pressure. Tuesday's death of Berkin Elvin, a 15-year-old boy who had been in a coma since he was hit in the head with a tear gas canister last year, finally released it once again. "The protests didn’t just start again for no reason," Berlinski said.