Two weeks in Turkey: the story so far...

Published June 10th, 2013 - 13:24 GMT

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What started as a local outcry against a governmental move to build a shopping mall in an Istanbul park, has transformed into a national crisis for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and a personality crisis for Turkey itself.

The creeping authoritarianism of the ruling party, its open-armed embrace of neoliberal capitalism and a feeling that secular groups are being marginalised at the expense of Islamist interests, are recurring themes of conversation, and chanting, on Turkish streets. Continue reading below »

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Hair flailing as she’s hit with a powerful blast of tear gas, the ‘woman in red’ has become the reluctant icon of the Gezi Park protests. Istanbul-based academic Ceyda Sungar told the Daily Mail “Every citizen defending their urban rights...has witnessed the police violence I experience”
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10Hair flailing as she’s hit with a powerful blast of tear gas, the ‘woman in red’ has become the reluctant icon of the Gezi Park protests. Istanbul-based academic Ceyda Sungar told the Daily Mail “Every citizen defending their urban rights...has witnessed the police violence I experience”

Enlarge
Gas masks are the must-have accessory if you’re heading to a Turkey demo. If the police teargas doesn’t get you, then the smoke will! Protestors in Izmir put on quite a show, setting off fireworks and flares during a demonstration in Gundogdu square
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Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10Gas masks are the must-have accessory if you’re heading to a Turkey demo. If the police teargas doesn’t get you, then the smoke will! Protestors in Izmir put on quite a show, setting off fireworks and flares during a demonstration in Gundogdu square

Enlarge
Women have been prominent figures throughout the Turkey unrest, chanting and fist-pumping with the best of the boys. These ladies didn’t take kindly to PM Erdogan’s claim he would listen to ‘democratic demands’
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Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10Women have been prominent figures throughout the Turkey unrest, chanting and fist-pumping with the best of the boys. These ladies didn’t take kindly to PM Erdogan’s claim he would listen to ‘democratic demands’

Enlarge
The Gezi Park protest quickly took on the feel of a summer music festival, as students lounged around on the grass, drinking beer and eating out of plastic trays, so it was inevitable ‘the guy with the guitar’ would show up to strum a little Pink Floyd
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Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10The Gezi Park protest quickly took on the feel of a summer music festival, as students lounged around on the grass, drinking beer and eating out of plastic trays, so it was inevitable ‘the guy with the guitar’ would show up to strum a little Pink Floyd

Enlarge
When revolutioneering, it’s essential to get your message right, or the whole thing fizzles out. This slumped chap is clearly an amateur! Guy Fawkes? V for Vendetta? Either way, that’s definitely a victory sign. Or a peace sign. Or an order for two much-needed coffees
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Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10When revolutioneering, it’s essential to get your message right, or the whole thing fizzles out. This slumped chap is clearly an amateur! Guy Fawkes? V for Vendetta? Either way, that’s definitely a victory sign. Or a peace sign. Or an order for two much-needed coffees

Enlarge
Demonstrating is hard work. With all the chanting, running, crying it’s no wonder that these would-be revolutionaries have taken time-out for a little shut-eye. Ahhh, don’t they look sweet?
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Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10Demonstrating is hard work. With all the chanting, running, crying it’s no wonder that these would-be revolutionaries have taken time-out for a little shut-eye. Ahhh, don’t they look sweet?

Enlarge
Face-mask, double victory sign, this Ankara demonstrator knows exactly how to do it. Huge rallies were held after the government apologised to wounded protesters and said it had ‘learnt its lesson’
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Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10Face-mask, double victory sign, this Ankara demonstrator knows exactly how to do it. Huge rallies were held after the government apologised to wounded protesters and said it had ‘learnt its lesson’

Enlarge
With the Turkish riot police firing gas canisters on the peaceful Istanbul crowds, it was always going to end in tears. The government later admitted that it might have used excessive force against demonstrators
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Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10With the Turkish riot police firing gas canisters on the peaceful Istanbul crowds, it was always going to end in tears. The government later admitted that it might have used excessive force against demonstrators

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It’s all about peace, love and urban planning down at Taksim square, so what better place to head with your brand new life partner. The happy couple received quite the reception! Let’s hope she changed out of that dress before she met a Turkish policeman
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Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10It’s all about peace, love and urban planning down at Taksim square, so what better place to head with your brand new life partner. The happy couple received quite the reception! Let’s hope she changed out of that dress before she met a Turkish policeman

Enlarge
Anything they can do, Recep can do better. That seems to be the message from the Turkish Prime Minister, as he saluted crowds of Erdo-fans from his own private bus
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Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10Anything they can do, Recep can do better. That seems to be the message from the Turkish Prime Minister, as he saluted crowds of Erdo-fans from his own private bus

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1

Hair flailing as she’s hit with a powerful blast of tear gas, the ‘woman in red’ has become the reluctant icon of the Gezi Park protests. Istanbul-based academic Ceyda Sungar told the Daily Mail “Every citizen defending their urban rights...has witnessed the police violence I experience”

Image 1 of 10Hair flailing as she’s hit with a powerful blast of tear gas, the ‘woman in red’ has become the reluctant icon of the Gezi Park protests. Istanbul-based academic Ceyda Sungar told the Daily Mail “Every citizen defending their urban rights...has witnessed the police violence I experience”

2

Gas masks are the must-have accessory if you’re heading to a Turkey demo. If the police teargas doesn’t get you, then the smoke will! Protestors in Izmir put on quite a show, setting off fireworks and flares during a demonstration in Gundogdu square

Image 2 of 10Gas masks are the must-have accessory if you’re heading to a Turkey demo. If the police teargas doesn’t get you, then the smoke will! Protestors in Izmir put on quite a show, setting off fireworks and flares during a demonstration in Gundogdu square

3

Women have been prominent figures throughout the Turkey unrest, chanting and fist-pumping with the best of the boys. These ladies didn’t take kindly to PM Erdogan’s claim he would listen to ‘democratic demands’

Image 3 of 10Women have been prominent figures throughout the Turkey unrest, chanting and fist-pumping with the best of the boys. These ladies didn’t take kindly to PM Erdogan’s claim he would listen to ‘democratic demands’

4

The Gezi Park protest quickly took on the feel of a summer music festival, as students lounged around on the grass, drinking beer and eating out of plastic trays, so it was inevitable ‘the guy with the guitar’ would show up to strum a little Pink Floyd

Image 4 of 10The Gezi Park protest quickly took on the feel of a summer music festival, as students lounged around on the grass, drinking beer and eating out of plastic trays, so it was inevitable ‘the guy with the guitar’ would show up to strum a little Pink Floyd

5

When revolutioneering, it’s essential to get your message right, or the whole thing fizzles out. This slumped chap is clearly an amateur! Guy Fawkes? V for Vendetta? Either way, that’s definitely a victory sign. Or a peace sign. Or an order for two much-needed coffees

Image 5 of 10When revolutioneering, it’s essential to get your message right, or the whole thing fizzles out. This slumped chap is clearly an amateur! Guy Fawkes? V for Vendetta? Either way, that’s definitely a victory sign. Or a peace sign. Or an order for two much-needed coffees

6

Demonstrating is hard work. With all the chanting, running, crying it’s no wonder that these would-be revolutionaries have taken time-out for a little shut-eye. Ahhh, don’t they look sweet?

Image 6 of 10Demonstrating is hard work. With all the chanting, running, crying it’s no wonder that these would-be revolutionaries have taken time-out for a little shut-eye. Ahhh, don’t they look sweet?

7

Face-mask, double victory sign, this Ankara demonstrator knows exactly how to do it. Huge rallies were held after the government apologised to wounded protesters and said it had ‘learnt its lesson’

Image 7 of 10Face-mask, double victory sign, this Ankara demonstrator knows exactly how to do it. Huge rallies were held after the government apologised to wounded protesters and said it had ‘learnt its lesson’

8

With the Turkish riot police firing gas canisters on the peaceful Istanbul crowds, it was always going to end in tears. The government later admitted that it might have used excessive force against demonstrators

Image 8 of 10With the Turkish riot police firing gas canisters on the peaceful Istanbul crowds, it was always going to end in tears. The government later admitted that it might have used excessive force against demonstrators

9

It’s all about peace, love and urban planning down at Taksim square, so what better place to head with your brand new life partner. The happy couple received quite the reception! Let’s hope she changed out of that dress before she met a Turkish policeman

Image 9 of 10It’s all about peace, love and urban planning down at Taksim square, so what better place to head with your brand new life partner. The happy couple received quite the reception! Let’s hope she changed out of that dress before she met a Turkish policeman

10

Anything they can do, Recep can do better. That seems to be the message from the Turkish Prime Minister, as he saluted crowds of Erdo-fans from his own private bus

Image 10 of 10Anything they can do, Recep can do better. That seems to be the message from the Turkish Prime Minister, as he saluted crowds of Erdo-fans from his own private bus

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Riding out the protests must be the Turkish government’s short-term goal. But in the long run, the country faces a greater challenge to reconcile democracy, secularism and Islam, a test whose outcome will be critical for the whole region.

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