Following the general elections held on 7 June 2015 the AKP lost the absolute majority with which it had governed through the previous three parliamentary terms. Four parties managed to pass the high 10% electoral threshold.
The battle for Taksim which has spread across across Turkey in recent days is being waged economically and politically. Taksim is, after all, the hub of Istanbul's European side and a highly symbolic place both collectively and politically. The square is linked to the pedestrian Istiklal Street and its iconic tramway which on weekends fills with crowds from every part of the city and different countries around the world.
Nevruz, the commemoration of spring's arrival, has special connotations in Turkey this year. On Thursday 21 March, Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the PKK (Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Workers' Party) – labelled a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union – announced a ceasefire and called for the PKK's withdrawal from the country.
The Syrian civil war has inevitably ended up involving its Turkish neighbour. A first and dramatic consequence were the waves of refugees who began to abandon Syria in 2011. It is estimated that to date some 94,000 people have crossed the border and the United Nations predicts that by the year's end Turkey will have to take charge of 280,000 refugees.