#GeziPark

Guy Martin

After a decade of rapid economic growth and an increasingly powerful position in the region there are clear reasons why Turkey's mildly Islamic Justice and Development Party (AK) is popular. But protests in Istanbul and other cities have uncovered an undercurrent of discontent.~~What started as a peaceful sit-in by environmental activists trying to dissuade the city authorities from building a gleaming new shopping complex, mosque and a replica of a former army barracks on the site of Gezi Park, a small island of green in an otherwise heavily built-up and traffic choked part of Istanbul quickly turned into an all out nationwide protest against the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, and his mildly Islamist AK Party.

Within days, hundreds of thousands of people had come out onto the streets of Istanbul and regional cities from Antakya in the South to Ankara, the capital. The protesters blamed the police forces for being unnecessarily heavy handed but also accused the Prime Minister of becoming increasingly autocratic after more than 10 years in power and having gained a just under 50% of the vote and a large majority in parliament after the last election.~~After initially brushing off the protesters and their demands and claiming that Twitter, widely used by the protesters, was a 'menace' and was being used to spread 'lies' he instructed his deputy Bulent Arinc to apologise for 'the use of excessive force' which was 'wrong and … unfair'. Guy Martin, based in Istanbul, witnessed the protests and documented the mood and spirit among the protesters.

 

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      Turkey

      Bystanders and hotel guests shout at the police from...

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      A teargas canister explodes next to the construction...

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      Two female protesters with yellow goggles and face...

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      A couple embrace at the entrance to Gezi Park during...

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      A protester poses in the destroyed wreckage of a bus...

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      A protester in the Osmanbey district of Istanbul...

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      Protesters in the Sisli district of istanbul (2km...

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      A man stands in front of buses damaged during...

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      A hotel security guard wearing a gas mask watches as...

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      Two young women look on as tear gas canisters are...

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      A tear gas canister lands in the construction site of...

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      A protester wearing riot gear used by the Istanbul...

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      Graffiti on the wall of the the former police...

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      An arab tourist takes pictures of protesters chanting...

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      People watch thousands of protesters battling with...

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      Protesters facing off with police at Gezi Park in...

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      Anti government protesters bang their hands on the...

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      A protester recovers from the effects of being...

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      Protesters gather at a corner of Gezi Park and watch...

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      People chant and take pictures as they watch...

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      A man drinks tea at a hotel balcony that overlooks...

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      A young couple prepare each other for confrontations...

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      An anti government protester poses in front of a...

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      A woman watches riot police clash with...

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      A man prepares to confront riot police in the...

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      An anti government protester attempts to build a...

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      A couple who have just retreated from being tear...

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      Anti government protesters retreat from...

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      A protester takes a rest during an anti government...

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      Protesters climb a wall to escape the fumes from tear...

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      A young protester recovers from the effects of being...

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      A protester in the Besiktas area of Istanbul...

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      A young woman faints from being exposed to tear gas...

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      A couple walks through the construction site at Gezi...

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      Pedestrians and anti government protesters walk over...

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      Protesters gather at the construction site of the...

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