Over the last few days the protests in Istanbul over the planned demolition of a park have turned violent and have spread throughout the country. Even in rather mild middle class neighborhoods, people were honking car horns, pounding on pots and pans and turning lights on and off in protest of the government’s heavy handed response to the protests.
In the lead-up to the 89th anniversary of the Turkish Republic on 29 October, political values have never been more openly debated, thanks to a public consultation process, initiated by Turkey’s parliament, for a new constitution. To understand more of the background to this national debate and to the protests see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20028295
In fact, the initial heavy handed response from the police triggered an angry reaction from a large part of society to many recent issues including a recent ban on night time alcohol sales, changes in the school curriculum and policies toward Syria. All of these give the impression to many that the government has an agenda to implement a stronger Islamic state – some accuse the Prime Minister of acting like a dictator.
There are lots of different opinions about these things, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of room to doubt that there are many angry people all over Turkey and there’s no telling where that might lead.
So please do pray for Turkey. Violence is not the way to solve the problems with the government or the issues about the direction of the country. Pray for wisdom for those in authority, for an uncharacteristic humility in leadership and for restraint on the part of protestors and police. Pray too for the Christians in the country to be able to react to the situation with wisdom and grace.