Slatest PM: Turkish Protesters Find Hero in "Standing Man"

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 18 2013 4:20 PM

Slatest PM: Meet Turkey's New Super Hero, "Standing Man"

170769074
Turkish choreographer Erdem Gunduz (C) stands on Taksim square following what had been a lone protest June 18, 2013. The man stood for several hours unnoticed before his presence on the flashpoint square went viral on the social network Twitter. He was then joined by hundreds of others who in solidarity decided to join his protest by standing for hours on end.

Photo by Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Turkey's "Standing Man": Reuters: "A lone, silent vigil by a man in Istanbul inspired copycat protests on Tuesday, as police detained dozens of people across Turkey in an operation linked to three weeks of often violent demonstrations against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. Overnight in Ankara, riot police used teargas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of people who had gathered in and around the government quarter of Kizilay. But in stark contrast to the recent fierce clashes in several cities, hundreds of protesters merely stood in silence in Istanbul, inspired by a man who lit up social media by doing just that for eight hours in the city's Taksim Square on Monday. 'I am just an ordinary citizen of this country,' Erdem Gunduz, dubbed the 'Standing Man' on Twitter, told Hurriyet TV. ... As dusk fell on Tuesday, hundreds followed his lead, standing quietly and facing either a giant portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, or a phalanx of police officers keeping watch over the crowd a short distance away."

Meanwhile, in Brazil: Associated Press: "Enormous demonstrations have shaken cities across this continent-sized country, and more were expected Tuesday in some of the largest outpourings of frustration in decades over red tape, high prices and shoddy services in a rising economic power. Mostly peaceful marches in at least eight big cities on Monday drew more than 240,000 people nationwide, Brazilian media said, though demonstrations in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte were marred by vandalism and violent clashes with police. Several dozen people were reported injured. The protests began over a hike in bus prices in the city of Sao Paulo, but were also fed by images of that city's police beating demonstrators and firing rubber bullets last week during a march that drew 5,000 people."

Advertisement

Snowden on the Move?: Reuters: "Iceland has received an informal approach from an intermediary who says Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed the U.S. government's secret surveillance programs, wants to seek asylum there. ... In a column in Icelandic daily Frettabladid, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson wrote that a middleman had approached him on behalf of Snowden. 'On 12 June, I received a message from Edward Snowden where he asked me to notify the Icelandic government that he wanted to seek asylum in Iceland,' Hrafnsson, who is also an investigative journalist in Iceland, told Reuters. The Icelandic government, which has refused to say whether they would grant asylum to Snowden, confirmed it had received the message from Hrafnsson."

Happy Tuesday, and welcome to The Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.

NSA Defends Surveillance Programs: Washington Post: "Intelligence officials said Tuesday that the government’s sweeping surveillance efforts have helped thwart 'potential terrorist events' more than 50 times since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and the officials detailed two new examples to illustrate the utility of the programs. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, officials cited a nascent plot to blow up the New York Stock Exchange and a case involving an individual providing financial support to an overseas terrorist group. 'In recent years, these programs, together with other intelligence, have protected the U.S. and our allies from terrorist threats across the globe to include helping prevent the terrorist — the potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11,' National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander told the committee. He said at least 10 of the plots targeted the United States."

Boehner Puts Up Immigration Roadblock: New York Times: "Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday that he would not bring any immigration measure to the floor for a vote unless it had the support of a majority of House Republicans, raising potential new obstacles to Congressional approval of a broad immigration overhaul. ... Mr. Boehner’s comments will make it harder for him to buck conservatives on an immigration overhaul, something that many consider crucial for Republicans hoping to regain their national standing with Hispanic voters. His position will also make it harder to strike a deal between the House and the Senate on a final immigration measure if the legislative process gets that far."

Instant Analysis: Boehner's comments come as his rank-and-file have become increasingly vocal about their unhappiness with his past decisions to break the so-called "Hastert rule," the unofficial principal where a speaker refuses to allow a vote on a bill that doesn't have the backing of the majority of his own caucus. Boehner has already broken that rule a handful of times this year, including to provide Hurricane Sandy relief and pass the Violence Against Women Act. Asked after today's meeting if he felt he could lose his job if he violated the unofficial rule this time, Boehner conceded: "Maybe."

Biden Talks Guns: Washington Post: "Declaring that 'we have not given up,' Vice President Biden on Tuesday warned that lawmakers who opposed the Obama administration’s proposals to stem gun violence 'will pay a political price.'  Biden appeared in a White House auditorium to announce that the administration has completed or made significant progress on nearly two dozen smaller-scale executive actions aimed at strengthening existing background checks, improving record-keeping and providing schools and communities with emergency management plans. ... But with their agenda blocked on Capitol Hill, Biden acknowledged that the progress report on the administration’s actions — he said 21 of 23 executive actions rolled out in January have been nearly completed — would not be enough to make serious headway in the fight against gun violence."

A Few More Quick Hits From Slate

See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.