Madness in Taksim: how the people brought flowers and the police answered with water cannon

They came in peace, bearing flowers for the dead. And the police answered them with water cannon and clubs, tear gas and rubber bullets. What new madness was this? In Taksim Square today Recep Tayyip Erdogan's police turned a peaceful, non-violent protest into a night of mayhem. As I write, police are chasing protestors through the back streets of Beyoglu, usually one of busiest night life areas of the city, tear gassing bars and restaurants, and terrorising people in their homes. Huge … [Read more...]

Love in a Time of Tear Gas

A strange way to spend my 38th birthday, holed up in a small hotel round the corner from Taksim Square, waiting to see what comes next in the struggle for Turkey's soul. But then these are heady days to be alive in Istanbul. Last night I went to one of the city's parks where protestors had gathered to discuss their next move. Hundreds sat packed together, listening to a succession of speakers, while others sat in groups under the trees as night fell, drinking beer, laughing, sharing the sense … [Read more...]