Self-immolation leaves Turkey shocked

Driven to despair by dreadful living conditions a construction worker set himself on fire outside the Turkish parliament on Friday. He survived with extensive burns. The incident has triggered a debate about social policy and the political left in Turkish media.

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Birgün (TR) /

The left must become a true alternative

The Turkish left must finally develop convincing answers to pressing social issues, Birgün urges:

“The fact that a worker could set himself on fire in front of the Turkish parliament because of his 'existential financial problems' illustrates the widespread despair among the people. Such despair is a result of the perception that there is no force, either social or political, that is in a position to change things. ... The no camp must now seek ways to turn the left into a genuine force with an independent voice. The protest and resistance movements in our country have had the wind taken out of their sails. Since the Gezi protests we've repeatedly been forced to buckle and toe the line. Only by developing a true alternative can this situation be overcome.”

Sabah (TR) /

The opposition as instigator

The pro-government daily Sabah is shocked by the words of opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who said that this action should have really taken place outside Erdoğan's presidential palace since the parliament is effectively suspended in times of a state of emergency:

“It's truly unbelievable. Can it really be the task of the opposition to advise citizens with existential problems to set themselves on fire? It's clear that because he has no more hope of winning [the presidential election] in 2019 and is tired of the opposition from within his own party Kılıçdaroğlu wants to commit political suicide. But because he lacks the courage to do so he wants the citizens to do it for him. How pathetic!”