Modern societies are infinitely complex entities. But every now and then singular events furnish a surprising, if ephemeral, sense of clarity. Turkey’s recent Gezi Park crisis is one fitting example. What began as an innocuous sit-in against the proposed development of a small green space adjoining Istanbul’s main Taksim Square quickly escalated into a prolonged nation-wide uprising, courtesy of gross government miscalculation to try and quash the protestors with disproportionate force. The result: two weeks of clashes that left in its wake five dead, thousands injured, and an ever deeper schism between PM Erdoğan’s conservative rule and the secular segments of Turkish society. In the process the country’s image as a calm harbour in a turbulent region has been heavily tarnished, the exact economic and political costs of which remain to be priced. For information on the events and some interesting commentary, see here, here and here. What clarity can we glean from these events? Mainly, that the recent policy path of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) is no longer sustainable, as I argue in four broad points below. It is high time the AKP come to terms with plain realities on the ground and retool its priorities. Continue reading