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LOCAL > Protesters are young, libertarian and furious at Turkish PM, says survey

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

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A majority of the Taksim Gezi Park protesters do not feel close to any political party, according to a recent online survey. DAILY NEWS photo / Emrah Gürel

A majority of the Taksim Gezi Park protesters do not feel close to any political party, according to a recent online survey. DAILY NEWS photo / Emrah Gürel

A majority of the Taksim Gezi Park protesters do not feel close to any political party and have said the prime minister’s authoritarian attitude caused the ongoing protests across the country, according to a recent online survey conducted among the protesters.

Seventy percent of the protesters said they did not feel close to any political party, while only 15.3 percent said they felt close to a political party, according to a recent online survey conducted by Esra Ercan Bilgiç and Zehra Kafkaslı, two academics from Istanbul Bilgi University between June 3 and 4.

Only 7 percent of the respondents said the political party they were a member of influenced them in joining the protests. However, the prime minister’s authoritarian attitude was influential for 92.4 percent of respondents attending the protests, while 91.3 of respondents said the police’s disproportionate use of force was influential. A large majority of respondents, 91.1 percent, said the violation of democratic rights influenced them to attend the protests. The silence of media on the demonstration influenced 84.2 percent of the respondents to attend the protests. More than half of the respondents, 56.2 percent, said the cutting of trees in Taksim Gezi Park was influential in their participation in the demonstrations.

What do Turkish protesters want?

A majority of the protesters demanded respect of liberties and an end to police violence while rejecting a military coup against the government.

The rate of those who demanded “an end to police violence” was 96.7 percent, while 96.1 percent demanded “respect of liberties from now on.” Only 37 percent demanded a new political party be established. A total of 79.5 percent of respondents said they did not want a military coup to intervene in Parliament, while 6.6 percent of respondents demanded a military coup.

Who are Taksim Gezi protesters?

A majority of the protesters defined themselves as libertarian and did not vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to the survey. A majority of the protesters who completed the survey, 81.2 percent, defined themselves as “libertarian.” A total of 64.5 percent of the respondents defined themselves as “secular.” Those who did not define themselves as “conservative” totaled 75 percent, while those who did not “vote for the AKP” made 92.1 percent. More than half of the respondents denied being apolitical. Out of 3,000 respondents, 75.8 percent said they had joined the recent protests in Turkey by going out to the streets.

Many people made noise from their balconies by hitting pots or turning off and on their lights in the evenings to support the protests across the country, which started in Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square to stop a shopping mall project that was to replace Gezi Park there.

Among the respondents, 63.6 percent were between the ages of 19 and 30.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had previously said the Gezi Park project triggered the protests but later the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and some extremists intervened on the ground to motivate the demonstrations.

June/05/2013

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