Written by Tevhid Nazmi Baştürk
Both are home to people from very different cultures and walks of life as they are both bastions of diversity. The fact that these two great cities have so much in common, from the menial similarities such as weather and geographic positioning, to the much more important and defining aspects of urban culture such as city planning and ordinances, that after viewing the events of the past month, involving the Occupy Gezi protests in Istanbul, one is left to think; what if these protests had occurred in New York? Would the police reaction be different? Surely the United States, the iconic poster child of democracy has laws to prevent such hostilities, right? But upon closer inspection, it becomes evident that the similarity between the two cities transcends those of culture and the menial, extending deep into laws and bureaucracy as well.
The Times Square of Turkey
The Gezi Park protests, when substituted into a parallel situation within the context of the United States, and when examined through the lens of the U.S. demonstration laws, we are led to the conclusion that despite how the U.S. media attempted to portray the nature of the protesters as "peaceful" while attempting to vilify the Turkish police and state, the same set of scenarios would yield to the same, if not a more drastic response in the US.
Under the lens of the United States' laws on protesting, not only were the actions of the protesters outside their legal means, the mass destruction that they brought with them would entitle the events that transpired to be an issue of national security. Thus, due to the new, atrociously strict coverage of the laws brought on by H.R. 347 that has stripped the public of much that is offered by the first amendment, the police forces in the United States would be permitted to react in a manner far more severe than their counterparts in Turkey.