While domestic media unearthed every miniscule detail of 2013's most controversial trial, international affairs continue.

The media, unfortunately, has a tendency to focus on one topic with such microscopic intensity that all other events are rendered irrelevant. Without the media's x1000 microscope, world news is unfocused and pushed aside in favor of whatever event is deemed more scintillating.

Such is the case with recent developments in the anti-government protests in Turkey. They may not intentionally create an overwhelming desire to diagnose oneself with information overload, but the media can often go too far with one topic and forget about all others in turn.

My column's common theme of recent political unrest in Turkey is bound to con- tinue. Demonstrations have exponentially decreased in both numbers and intensity, but Turkish citizens are still dealing with the aftermath of what could have potentially sparked a civil war.

Prime Minister Erdogan's Islamic regime and authoritarian leadership attempted to destroy Istanbul's Gezi Park, the last real park in the city filled with high rises, but failed due to the negative response from citizens. In Gezi Park and in parks and cities all over the country, protests had Turks clanging their kitchenware and chanting sayings to express their

disbelief in the leader who once seemed so promising when he was elected 11 years ago. Those protests that ended in harsh police

response and four deaths might be expected to have broken the traditionally secular state's people, but it only brought them closer together.

In those same parks where so many people risked their lives demonstrating against Erdogan and his recent political decisions gathers a plethora of Turks who are exercising their democratic rights by speaking in front of fellow citizens and spreading their views on their country's government.

"After protests, forums sprout in Turkey's parks," wrote Sebnem Arsu in a July 7 New York Times article. She described how the forums are not related to any particular politi- cal party, but just feature regular citizens and their opinions. Because police (and their boss, Erdogan) forbid loud noises in public areas at later hours, the audiences cross their arms in disagreement with the speaker at the time, shake their arms in agreement or do a circle motion to encourage a conclusion and let a new speaker take the stage. This particular forum Arsu wrote about is taking place at Abbasaga Park, but these types of forums are becoming more and more popular in Turkey now.

And for good reason.

It's ironic how the revolts and protests of only three weeks ago lead to the innocent, silent sharing of opinions at late hours of the night. What seemed like the end of all government for Turkey actually encouraged citizens, who may not have considered it before , to really examine the government that's in office and re-evaluate what can be gained from these events. As Arsu writes, these forums aren't attempting to create a new government or replace the existing one, their only goal is to keep citizens informed and express opinion, keeping up "the pressure on Mr. Erdogan's administration."

Additionally, the protests have not only created platforms of opportunity available to every citizen but also alleviated some preju- dice that was once much more prevalent only ten years before.

The first gay rights parade in Turkey was held in 2003 in Istanbul and involved only a small amount of people, according to another one of Arsu's articles. Erdogan's Islamic regime put a strain on the benefits that something similar to the U.S.'s D.O.M.A. could provide for Turkish citizens, which could have potentially caused a stir during the parade. But yet, it was peaceful.

"It's, after all, not just L.G.B.T. members, but all of Turkey under oppression," said citizen Meryem Koyuncu Igili in Arsu's article, who attended her first gay rights parade this year. "We no longer see anyone different from one another, and seek rights for all."

This union and acceptance among the citizens of Turkey exemplify exactly what is to be gained from the political distress they have experienced. Instead of moving farther away from each other and creating a gap between reality and policy, Turks have joined together with support, recognition and a common goal to return their country to it's should-be secular state.

Melodi is a sophomore in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at merdogan@utk.edu.