What began as a peaceful sit-in to protest the uprooting of trees from Gezi Park, one of Istanbul's last open green spaces near Taksim Square, has morphed into a broader Occupy movement against the Turkish government.
Wandering around the barricades near Istanbul's Taksim Square, I kept asking myself, "How could a few 'occupiers' manage to mobilize millions here and beyond, in 77 provinces of Turkey and dozens of cities in the world?"
Equating the protests in Istanbul's Taksim Square with those held two years ago in Cairo's Tahrir Square, and calling the Turkish unrest a "Turkish Summer" comparable to the "Arab Spring" is ridiculous.
History has prominent examples that demonstrate the power of non-violent resistance against government repression. The Turks are in the process of crafting a story that exemplifies how the power of humor and innovation can be effectively harnessed against repression and abuse.
In a country divided between east and west, a park in the center of Istanbul has sparked what activists are calling "Taksim Solidarity," others the "Turkish Spring." The reality is that the events in Turkey are neither.
As the battles in Istanbul's central Taksim Square, and across Turkey continue to grow, it is clear that what began as a relatively isolated protest intended to stop the demolition of trees and halt the construction of a shopping center has far deeper roots.
What began as an attempt to prevent the culling of trees by a handful of individuals in a disheveled park quickly spiraled into a widespread national protest against perceived government encroachment of Turkey's secular way of life.
Your great country stands at the gateway between east and west. Istanbul is legend in the history of civilization. Your resistance today may well be a turning point between all of us and a return to the dark ages.
We ask the prime minister of Turkey and his government why he allowed for the violence to begin in the first place against peaceful protesters who are simply asking for freedom of speech and for their rights to be heard.
While Turkey is different from the Arab Spring countries, for the first time in 30 years a real movement is emerging. Even though the protests started over the government's decision to destroy the symbolic green park in Taksim they are now much more.