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Protests in Turkey, state violence, and how doctors are helping: it’s about much more than a park

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f3789 (Published 11 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3789
  1. Murat Civaner, associate professor, Department of Medical Ethics, School of Medicine, Uludag University, Bursa, Turkey
  1. mcivaner{at}gmail.com

Police attacks on peaceful protestors in Turkey have included detention of doctors trying to treat injured people, writes Murat Civaner

My 8 year old son, Arda, asked me about all the noise outside. I told him that people were protesting against the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, because he wanted to cut down the trees. Arda was surprised. He started shouting: “Prime minister! Don’t cut down the trees! If you do there will be floods, erosion, and landslide.”

The protests all over Turkey started in a park in Taksim, Istanbul. The government wants to convert it into a shopping mall and apartments, which would be lucrative for constructors, businesses, and politicians. But what I could not tell Arda was that this is not just about the trees and a park. The outrage comes after years of state oppression of society, the judicial system, the education system, universities, and the press.

People are sick of the government meddling in their lives. For example, it tries to dictate how many children families should have; it defends antiabortion regulations; …

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