Turkey: May Day and More

ISTANBUL – Police fired in the air and fought pitched battles Tuesday with demonstrators around a central Istanbul square during tense May Day rallies, reports said.

Protest in Istanbul

Police fired warning shots when they came under attack from a stone-throwing crowd trying to force its way into Taksim Square which had been declared off-limits to a left-wing May Day rally, the Anatolia news agency reported.

The Anatolian Times

This follows on the heels of hundreds of thousands — some say one million-– demonstrating against the growing strength of Muslim Conservatism in the government, and declarations by the Army that it would not standby if the secularist state were weakened by religious forces.

Turkish demonstrations

Not only that, but Kurds in Turkey and across the borders in Iraq and Iran, have thrown some hot shot into a region already filled with flash-ready gunpowder.

As usual when religion is one of the horses of history, others are closely yoked – nationalism, militarism, power, privilege, wealth. I don’t know if it’s a 4 horse hitch, or 6. It’s not clear to me which horse is the lead at the moment nor is it clear which hands hold the reins. The mountains of Turkey are dangerous roads to be careening down at a full gallop.

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