SPOTLIGHT: ISTANBUL, STUDIES IN CONTRAST
Taksim Square is both symbolic and convenient: Flat in the middle of the bustle of Istanbul, it can serve as a meeting point for locals and tourists — and protesters. It is where many of the most ardent supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gathered after tanks took control of the streets Friday night, and where they even found secularists normally opposed to Erdogan's Islamist rule standing with them against the coup attempt.
But this alliance of convenience is bound not to last. Writing in left-wing Istanbul daily Sozcu, Bekir Coskun notes the contrast between Erdogan's crowd that took to the streets to celebrate "the victory for democracy" and the crowd that three summers ago demanded Erdogan's resignation during the Gezi Park protests, just off of Taksim Square. "Neither your â€˜uprising' nor your â€˜democratic victory' makes sense," Coskun writes. "Because there is no room for bullets in our â€˜uprising.' Instead, there are songs, poems, humor and flowers."
How this weekend's failed coup plays out for Erdogan and the future of Turkey remains to be seen. But the initial burst of unity is indeed quickly fading, notes Turkish scholar Kutlu Yildizhan in the Istanbul daily Cumhuriyet: "To be opposed to the Islamist government for any reason or to criticize them or to even suggest an alternative to their way of governance has become enough to be labeled a traitor." For leaders who are eager to talk about values, it seems the value that matters most in Turkey right now is loyalty.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- IOC meets to decide on Russian Olympic sanctions.
- Michigan funeral for Michael Krol, one of the slain Dallas police officers.