New Internationalist

PHOTO STORY: Turkey has lost its fear

Web exclusive

What started off as an occupation in a park has provoked mass protest. Oren Ziv has captured striking images of the anti-government movement.

Oren Ziv
Oren Ziv

Anti-government protesters have taken to the streets in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and many other places around Turkey, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The mass demonstrations started following a struggle against a plan to demolish Gezi Park, in Taksim Square, central Istanbul.

Oren Ziv
Oren Ziv

Police and protesters clash, as police evict Takism Square: On 28 May 2013, Turkish police raided Gezi Park and attacked a small group of activists. An occupation had been taking place against the uprooting of trees in the proposed demolition and redevelopment of the park to make way for a shopping mall and museum.

As more people joined the protest in solidarity, police tried to oppress the struggle with violence, mass arrests, tear gas, plastic bullets and water canons.

Oren Ziv
Oren Ziv

A protester waves a Turkish flag on a roof top over Takism Square: As news about the police brutality spread, more and more people, many of them protesting for the first time in their lives, joined the demonstrations. On Friday May 31, police took over Taksim Square and Gezi Park, forcing all the people out. There were mass protests and riots and eventually the police left the area.

Oren Ziv
Oren Ziv

Protesters play cards and rest near their tents, in Gezi Park: Protesters set up a camp in Gezi Park, rected tents, a clinic, a public kitchen and a library. Tens of thousands of people came to show their support. The movement is now not just about the uprooting of trees in the park but a call to the prime mister to resign. Protesters oppose his gentrification plans for Istanbul, and new laws that will limit personal freedom.

Oren Ziv
Oren Ziv

Erdoğan speaks during a support demo in Istanbul airport: The prime minister has accused protesters of being violent and drunk. He ordered the eviction of Takism Square, which the police raided on the morning of Tuesday 11 June, and also gave a 24 hour ultimatum to the activists to leave Gezi Park. Protesters there expect police to move in very soon.

Erdoğan organized demonstrations to support of himself, in Istanbul and Ankara, saying he can bring more people to the streets then the growing protest movement.

Oren Ziv
Oren Ziv

Police arrest a youth during a night protest: As police evicted Taksim square, clashes took place between activists and police. Since the beginning of the protests over 1,000 people have been arrested, and hundreds injured.

Protesters holding hands as police use tear gas in Taksim Square: Even if Gezi Park gets evicted, it seems the anti-government protests will continue. In Takism Square and other cities around Turkey it seems people have lost their fear of the police and the government, and each attack brings more people to join the movement and show solidarity.

Comments on PHOTO STORY: Turkey has lost its fear

Leave your comment