Local/Regional News
5:10 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

UK Professor Recounts First Days Of Turkey Protests

LEXINGTON, Ky. - One University of Kentucky department head recently got a first-hand look at the anti-government protests spreading across Turkey. Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce director Carey Cavanaugh traveled to Istanbul for what he expected would be a standard trip to discuss the country’s economic and political trends.

Director of UK's Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, Carey Cavanaugh
Credit uky.edu

Cavanaugh was attending a meeting at a hotel near the initial small-scale protest that sparked a series of demonstrations across Turkey. What he witnessed, he says, was an ill-conceived police response.

"Normally in a protest you would ask demonstrators to leave. You would give them time to leave. If they don't leave, then you go and maybe arrest them or take that kind of action. Here they instantly started launching tear gas grenades," he says.

Cavanaugh says a host of complaints, ranging from government overreach in economic growth to new rules limiting the purchase of alcohol, are fueling the protests. That diversity of the concerns is one reason Cavanaugh doubts Turkey has an “Arab Spring” style movement on its hands.

"There's a feeling that the government is not listening to the demands of people as it moves forward with all these projects and that's brought in this mix of people, all demonstrating, but not necessarily the kind that would ever coalesce together into a movement," Cavanaugh says.

Cavanaugh came to UK following a Foreign Service career where he served in, among other places, Berlin, Moscow, and Rome.