that started over government plans to turn a local park into a mall transformed into broader demonstrations against the increasingly authoritarian government of the long-time prime minister, Recep Erdogan, embodied by the government’s heavy handed response, and media blackout of, protests.Last spring, protests in Istanbul
As is often the case with popular anti-government protests, Erdogan blamed the opposition for escalation. Amnesty International accused the Turkish government of various human rights abuses in their response to protesters. Its report said 8,000 people were injured and at least three killed. A relevant Wikipedia article identifies 11 people killed in protests, the last being 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died nine months after being struck in the head, according to his family, by a high-velocity gas canister thrown by Turkish police at protesters while he was going to the grocery store. The death has reignited protests, as the AP reports:
The unrest swelled within hours of news that Berkin Elvan, 15, had died in an Istanbul hospital, nine months after losing consciousness with a fractured skull...
Protests were reported in at least nine other cities. Authorities could provide no details on injuries to protesters or police.
Human Rights Watch has called on police officers implicated in the incident that led to Elvan’s death to be imprisoned, something which has obviously not happened.
Earlier this year, the Turkish government dismissed 350 police officers after finding out the government and ruling party were the target of a wide-ranging corruption investigation they claim they shouldn’t have been kept in the dark about.