Turkey’s Civil Revolt: Istanbul Rising
(VICE, June 2013)
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.
The New Gezi Park Protesters: Istanbul’s Gentrification Wars
(VICE News, Aug 2014)
This weekend’s presidential election in Turkey is as good as decided. The mass protests surrounding Gezi Park, the corruption scandals, the Soma mining accident — none of these incidents will stop the majority of Turks from electing Recep Tayyip Erdogan as president. Among other things, this means that ambitious development projects will likely multiply — and with them, the controversies Erdogan’s AKP party aggressive policies routinely provoke. The Gezi uprising that rocked Turkey in June 2013 was sparked by a government project to transform the park in central Istanbul into a gigantic mall. And while a relentless police crackdown has led many of last year’s protesters to abandon hope, the problems at the heart of Erdogan’s vision for Turkey’s urban development have not gone away. Those directly affected by the aggressive development of their neighborhoods are often left with only one of two options: to despair, or to fight. One group that has decided to take the fight to the government is the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front, or DKHP/C. This extreme-left party, labeled a terrorist organization by the EU, is entrenched in many of the disenfranchised neighborhoods that have become targets for ruthless urban development. To stave off the forced relocation of inhabitants, the DKHP/C militants are prepared to combat not only the police, but also violent drug gangs that terrorize their neighborhoods, which they believe are collaborating with the state. VICE News travelled to Istanbul to meet the DKHP/C on its home turf, document its fierce clashes with the police on May Day, and understand what motivates these violent, self-proclaimed champions of the poor.
From Grief Over Kobane To Chaos: Istanbul’s Kurdish Riots
(VICE News, Oct 2014)
As the battle between Kurds and Islamic State militants rages on in the Syrian border town of Kobane, Kurds in neighboring Turkey are becoming increasingly angry at the Turkish government’s failure to intervene. And so protestors have taken to the streets in cities such as Ankara and Istanbul to show their support for both the Kurds fighting in Kobane and the Kurdistan Workers‘ Party (PKK), a resistance group in Turkey classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and several other Western nations. VICE News traveled to Istanbul, where a memorial march for two fighters who died in Kobane devolved into a night of chaos. Amid clouds of police teargas, we spoke to members of a PKK youth wing as they threw Molotov cocktails and shouted support for Kurds in Turkey and Kobane.