Protests in Istanbul

Lou and Protests

Dr Luis Cabrera (Reader in Political Theory, POLSIS Department, Debuty Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics) was in Istanbul in early July for a study on democracy and individual rights. This visit co-incided with a period of political protests in Turkey.

It was an invaluable experience for him to be able to speak to the protesters in the streets, hear their reasons for opposing the government and making their stand. Most offered a critique of what the saw as a heavy handed majoritarianism by the government.

The protestors argued that winning an election doesn’t provide a mandate to take any action you like, and they singled out restrictions on the freedom of press and expression, as well as some restrictions on alcohol sales. Many saw the government as seeking to impose its leaders’ religious mores on Turkey’s hard-won secular society. The interviews, along with interviews of ruling party leaders, NGO and civil society representatives in Istanbul and Brussels, will inform a case study specifically on trans-state democracy and what the implications could be for strengthening individual rights protections if Turkey is finally admitted to the European Union. The study will be part of an upcoming book titled Rights, Diversity and Cosmopolitan Democracy. Below are some of the pictures taken by Luis Cabrera.