“A big game is being played … They are trying to damage the Turkish economy.” […]“They say the prime minister is very tough. Do you want me to bend my knee and say raise up these terrorist organisations’ banner? Sorry, but this Tayyip Erdogan will not change,” he said, comparing the events of the last few days with those that preceded bloody military coups in 1960 and 1980.
Meanwhile, the lira has hit a three-year low, and Turkish stocks are slumping. The Turkish Central Bank announced that it plans to intervene directly in the currency market to stabilize the lira and calm the markets.There is little indication there will be a quick or forthcoming resolution to the protests. Erdogan remains massively popular, especially among the country’s rural conservatives. Over more than a decade in power, Erdogan has made strides in religious freedom, rapid economic development and improved relations with country’s Kurdish minority. Nonetheless, the protests and the government’s heavy-handed reaction suggest that much of the country is not completely satisfied with the regime. While the protesters aren’t a cross-section of Turkish society, they don’t fall neatly into the Islamist and secularist divide as depicted in so much Western media.All of this comes at a time when the Obama administration needs Turkey’s help as it looks to address the civil war in Syria, instability in Iraq and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The continuing unrest in a country that American officials have held up as a model for other Middle Eastern countries points to greater trouble ahead.[Turkish protestors and riot policemen clash on June 1, 2013, during a protest against the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park. Photo courtesy of Getty Images]