Commenting on the recent protests in Taksim's Gezi Park, Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk said in a statement on Wednesday that the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is oppressive and authoritarian.
Turkey has been rocked by violent demonstrations since Friday, when police launched a pre-dawn raid on a peaceful sit-in protesting plans to uproot trees in Taksim's Gezi Park in İstanbul. Since then, the demonstrations by mostly secular-minded Turks have spiraled into Turkey's biggest anti-government disturbances in years.
“It is a huge mistake by the Erdoğan government to have come to the point of uprooting trees in an area that holds special memories for millions of people without asking them. The source of these reckless politics is the authoritative and oppressive tendencies of the government,” Orhan Pamuk said in comments on the incidents.
“The fact that İstanbulites do not easily give up their memories and are ready to stage political demonstrations gives me hope for the future,” Pamuk further stated.
Under Erdoğan's leadership, Turkey has boosted economic growth and raised its international profile. However, he has been a divisive figure at home, with government opponents complaining of his unilateral decision-making.