Photos from protests in Istanbul’s Taksim square
Turkey has been witnessing a growing wave of protest since 28 May 2013. The protests began in Istanbul against the Government’s plan to demolish Gezi Park located in Taksim square, Istanbul. The Government’s intention is to redevelop Gezi Park into a complex that will include a replica Ottoman-era barracks and a shopping centre. A small group of environmental activists initiated the protest against the Government’s plan and “occupied” the Park. However, the police’s swift and brutal response against the protesters on 30th and 31st May escalated and spread the protest throughout Turkey. Although the protests initially started at Gezi Park’s redevelopment project, it has become a national protest against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s pro-islamic, authoritarian, and anti-environmental policies. The protest brought various groups together including Kurds, nationalists, LGBT activists, trade unions and football fans for the first time to demonstrate against the Government policies. Facebook and Twitter were key tools in organizing and sustaining the protests. The Prime Minister described the protestors as vandals (Çapulcu), extremists and part of an international conspiracy to undermine Turkey and toldprotesters to clear the park. In the meantime the response to the peaceful protests continued to be violent. On 15th June 2013 the riot police entered the Taksim square again and dispersed the protesters and cleared the park by using tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons. The protests in other cities were also repressed in the same way and according to the Turkish Human Rights Foundation, four people have died and approximately 5,000 people have been injured during the protests. The protests continue and some protesters have adopted a new position where they stand silently.
The photos were taken in Gezi Park, Taksim square on the 3rd and 4th June 2013 by Wayne Daley and Sanya Karakas.