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Turkey’s Civil Revolt: Istanbul Rising

On Friday, May 31, Turkish riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray into a peaceful protest held to save Gezi Park, one of the last green areas in central Istanbul. This set off the biggest civil uprising in the history of the Turkish Republic, calling for Prime Minister Erdogan’s resignation. The unrest has spread like wildfire to more than 60 cities where protests are still ongoing. We landed in Istanbul the day it all kicked off.

Gezi Park is a small rectangle of grass and trees just north of Taksim Square, in the center of European Istanbul. Separated by concrete barriers from a particularly congested traffic circle, it doesn’t have a lot going for it in the way of charm or landscaping. But it does have trees—six hundred and six of them, according to some reports—which makes it a distinct space in the heart of one of the world’s fastest-developing cities.

Last year, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Gezi Park would be levelled to make room for a reconstruction of the Halil Pasa Artillery barracks, which had been built there under Sultan Selim III, more than two hundred years ago; the reconstructed barracks would then be converted into a shopping mall. On May 28th, a peaceful demonstration convened in Gezi Park to protest the bulldozing of the first trees. The weather was, and continues to be, beautiful. But over the course of the week, Occupy Gezi transformed from what felt like a festival, with yoga, barbecues, and concerts, into what feels like a war, with barricades, plastic bullets, and gas attacks. Just before dawn on Friday, police raided the demonstrators’ encampment with tear gas and compressed water

  • Nikhil M

    I just happen to be staying in Besiktas (Nov 2013) and wanted to know about the riots that had taken place in this area a few months ago. This documentary provided a short yet informative assessment of the happenings of that week. Thank you!

Duration: 18:12
Country: Turkey
City: Istanbul
Language: EN
CC available: EN
Resolution max: 1080p
Video Source: YouTube
Provided by: VICE
Published on: 2013-06-12
Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Rate video
Ø Rating: 4.22