Five things to understand about Turkey's protests

The unrest is unlikely to become a “Turkish Spring,” but it is testing democracy in Turkey.

2. What happens next?

Burhan Ozbilici/AP
Security officers stand as Turkish riot police spray water cannon at demonstrators who remained defiant after authorities evicted activists from Gezi Park, near the city's main Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, June 16.

Protests have quieted since June 16, when Erdogan ordered police to clear out Gezi Park. The prime minister has offered the possibility of a referendum to decide the future of the park and a court will decide the legality of the commercial development proposed to replace the park.

Such measures are unlikely to resolve protests that now embrace a much broader spectrum of issues. “Gezi Park is a symbol of freedom,” said protester Aytekin Ates on Saturday night, hours after the park was cleared and as police and demonstrators still clashed. “It’s not about the park. It’s about fascism and human rights.”

Opposition groups have continued to protest with nonviolent methods, such as standing for hours in public places. They’ve also held vigils for the five people killed and thousands injured. Mass protests are likely to return if the core issues at stake remain unresolved.

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