We are currently in an apartment above Taksim square and Gezi Park. Our aim is to deliver to you the ambiance, answer any questions regarding context and provide you with any depth of understanding you desire. We will try to be as unbiased as possible, trying to mark our opinions as such. We'll be here all night. Lets Go!

A previous personal account on the events by us.

A video compilation recorded by us

Our live stream of Taksim Square is here. The Park, where most people are, is sadly not visible. This is the area leading up to it.

Images from the riots updated frequently.


Live Updates:

9:50PM - We have fireworks in the park!

10:40PM - More fireworks

11:00PM - The Live Stream is offline for now. Still open for questions.

12:00AM - Lots of singing and dancing at the park.

1:40AM - Except for the hundreds of camping occupiers, people are starting to leave.

11:00AM - We're still here. We will be here as long as there are questions coming.

Comments: 74 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

Poulern12 karma

Is it just turkish people there, or is it greeks and kurds aswell?

faggylord12 karma

There are Turkish citizens and residents of many origins present here. Kurds are definitely here in large numbers. Greek Turkish residents are probably less in numbers -because fewer actually reside in Turkey than Kurds-, but we are sure there are some.

JezusReturns11 karma

First of all, I have a lot of respect for all of you guys out there, keep tight. And I would like to ask how the rest of the world has responded to Turkey's state right now? Donated any money, food or other supplies maybe?

faggylord8 karma

Thank you. We appreciate your support.

As the protests are mainly peaceful, there is no breakdown of regular civil life. People go to work in the morning, and after work they come to Taksim and protest till late at night. Food and supplies are donated to those that occupy the park throughout the night by those that are transient.

We have however had a rather exciting support campaign that ran through indiegogo for a full page ad on the NYT. We are confident that there was a good amount of international turnout for this.

TMRtrashCD9 karma

Just 1 question. What is YOUR purpose for protesting? I know what the main goal is, but I want to know your real reason, not just a silly newscast.

faggylord26 karma

We can answer this in two parts. Our ideological reasoning and what we hope to achieve.

Our ideological reasoning is that the Turkish political leadership currently lacks a fundamental understanding of the tenets of democracy: Freedom of speech, freedom of press and the right to free assembly are virtually non-existent.

What we hope to achieve with these protests is to build the necessary national and international pressure on the government, so that they may acknowledge these tenets and allow for more contribution of the people, and their opinions in policy-making, as well as achieve a baseline of respect for personal liberty.

esseo8 karma

Do you feel like this is one weird game of internet telephone where the context and purpose of these protests are lost on most Western people?

faggylord6 karma

A little, hence the AMA..

Roman7367 karma

How much of this is driven by islamic viewpoints?

faggylord9 karma

Ambiguous question. Re: How much of the protests is an outcry to islamic tendencies of the government? This is a tough one to answer. The protesters are a very heterogeneous crowd. The beauty of it is that most of the groups present, have put aside their major differences in order to protest. While some groups are definitely motivated by secular arguments, or alternative takes on islam, we would say that the most prevalent sentiment is that the government is anti-democratic, and actively against free speech. Most protestors we hear on the ground chant "shoulder to shoulder against fascism".

Re: Are there islamic viewpoints among the protesters? Yes. There are two main groups. They are called "the revolutionist muslims" and "the anti-capitalist muslims". These groups probably make up around 5-10% of the protestors combined.

al_bin6 karma

Is this another wave of the arab spring or somethjng totally different? (I know Turkey isn't an arab nation but its still middle eastern)

What does winning look like?

Have the protests reached a point of no return?

What tactics seem most effective?

PS solidarity from the United States glad to see Turkey carring the torch of revoloution forward.

faggylord9 karma

  • This is quite different from the arab spring in both context and form. First, in terms of context, while Erdogan's behavior very much resembles a dictator, he is in fact a democratically elected leader. 50% of the country voted for the ruling party in fair elections. Therefore, the grievances of the people is not an argument on illegitimacy, but style of governance and policy-making. Second, in form, the Turkish riots resembles OWS much more than the Arab spring movements. The Arab spring involved much more violent armed conflict aimed at removing dictatorial regimes. The Gezi resistance, is a peaceful demonstration aimed at sending a message to the government and raising global awareness to the fact that the democratic system is not working like it should.

  • Well the ambiance in Taksim is festive. Lots of dancing and singing. However, we wouldn't call this one over just yet...

  • Depends. Will it last until either the government resigns or violently suppresses the movement? No. We believe most protestors would be satisfied with concessions less than a total overthrow. Is it at a point that it won't eventually die out? Yes. Until Erdogan either concedes certain points, or resorts to violence, it seems that Occupy Gezi will be there. We have no proof of this, but every day the crowd is larger, more tents are set up and a library has been built :)

nickvicious5 karma

1.) What is the 1 thing you'd most like to see come out of these protests?

2.) Do you think this is/will bring the people of Turkey together or push them apart?

3.) Does the conflict in any way have anything to do with the war in neighboring Syria?

Thanks, guys! Cool stream.

faggylord6 karma

1) Answered above: What we hope to achieve with these protests is to build the necessary national and international pressure on the government, so that they may acknowledge the democratic tenets and allow for more contribution of the people, and their opinions in policy-making.

2) Its too early to say. However, there have been some encouraging signs of coming together.

-The LGBT groups who were very active since the start have been accepted by the people to a much larger extent than before. As you may imagine, the LGBT population is an alienated group in heavily muslim countries.

-Second, the three major soccer teams, who were violently attacking each other just a week ago, have combined their fan groups in joint protests and declarations. This would be unimaginable just two weeks ago.

3) We can't come up with a good reason to think that Syria has anything to do with these protests, so probably not.

redditerate4 karma

During the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests 50,000 - 100,000 marchers protested.

However, the news media in the USA reported very little on this protest. Despite protestors stopping traffic & marching right past news outlets such as Fox & CNN, nothing was said the following day.

Worldwide, and nationwide in Turkey, what are your thoughts on media coverage of the Turkish protests?

faggylord4 karma

National media coverage has been terrible during the first few days of the protests. Major outlets self-censored the events and ran cooking shows and penguin documentaries during the height of the protests. We believe these censorships were out of fear of the government, rather than any other deep agenda. Now it seems they got over their fear. We see much wider coverage these days. The international media gave a fair treatment of the events. CNN, BBC and others ran it as their top story. This has helped put pressure on national channels.

Here's what it looked like on tv during the first few days.

There has been widespread outrage and protests in front of the major news headquarters. Another purpose these protests served was to illustrate the extent to which the media is under government control. While it was widely thought of before, it was never demonstrated so impactfully.

Adiana11753 karma

is the tear gas as bad as it looks? 0.0

faggylord2 karma

Tear gas hurts, but you get used to it. After the initial rough introduction, I have even seen protestors venture out looking for it..

flywhiteguy163 karma

Props to you guys for standing up for your rights!

But I have heard many rumors that these protests are driven by radical religious movements. Is there any truth to these claims?

faggylord5 karma

Not at all, but you would have to be present to see the ambiance. Here's a video that may set the tone for you.

The driver is social media and the protestors are the young professionals and students mostly aged under 25.

mhscout3 karma

Your lives and cause are in my prayers. What can I do from here in the US? Is spreading awareness what I should aim for?

faggylord4 karma

Thank you. Yes, spreading awareness would be a great way to help out. It seems that we aren't able to adequately express whats going on. There seems to be a lot of confusion about this in the world.

mhscout3 karma

If you had to describe in one sentence what the protests are about how would you say? (I am going to use your answer to tell friends)

faggylord11 karma

The protests are about protecting our democratic rights to free speech and personal liberty in the face of an increasingly dictatorial government and paternalistic Prime Minister.

stunt4203 karma

I read an article that many of you consider yourselves to be libertarian. That you strive for a society that of an open and free of censorship internet. Free trade, social acceptance, and a rejection of foreign intervention. Is this a fair characterization of you as individuals and your movement?

faggylord5 karma

The movement is composed of various groups with widely differing agendas, often in conflict. The only agenda that brings these groups together into these protests is the dictatorial tendencies of the government. Freedom of speech, free press and personal liberties are a big part of this, but I wouldn't go so far as to say the agenda is libertarian. We have a long way to go before we may discuss libertarian ideologies. As of today, we still don't have a free press, people are jailed for expressing opinions, and the presumption of innocence before the law doesn't really exist.

JustThe_Doctor3 karma

It seems like President Gül supports/is generally tolerant of you guys. Do you see him as a ally in the government?

faggylord5 karma

The sentiment in general is cautious optimism. When we look into his past, it is possible to see certain statements that are openly anti-secular. We have tried to find the direct link to an article written in The Guardian on the 27th of November 1995 after an interview with Gul, then the deputy leader of the Welfare Party (an islamist party that was closed). We weren't able to find it, but this link provides the full article in English

However we acknowledge (and hope) that opinions change. His remarks this week, and generally warm attitude hints that he may be not an ally per se but a mediator.

Lolzrfunni3 karma

What are the cops doing? Are they taking any desperate measures or just letting you protest?

faggylord3 karma

The tensions have largely calmed down in Istanbul. The police are mostly gathered in Besiktas, a city hub 15 minutes by foot also where the PMs office is located. There are minor skirmishes at the borders with the more fanatic groups, but we do not expect a raid on Taksim tonight.

In other cities - Ankara and Rize tonight- there are heavy crackdowns taking place in the city centers.

Arrests were made in the city of Izmir today for tweeting. Around 30 protestors were arrested. The tweets may be found online and are mostly pictures or information regarding the locations of the police.

Police brutality played a large role in the development of the riots. Here is a website depicting the events.

Shizly3 karma

How is the military reaction on the situation? Tonight we had someone on the news we escaped her hotel and came back from here vacation early. She said that she saw police and military clash with eachother. Thoughts?

faggylord3 karma

We don't believe a police-military clash ever took place during these demonstrations. The military is entirely silent. No statements have been made thus far.

What sets these protests apart from others in the past is that there is absolutely no reliance on or expectation of military intervention. This is entirely a civil movement.

Roman7363 karma

After the results of similar protests in other Mid East countries resulted in unstable goverments and in some cases far worse problems, do you believe that this is the correct way to achieve change in the government? Already deaths have occured and the momentum seems to be steadily increasing. Are there worries this could escalate and cause adverse consequences for the public and the overall state of Turkey?

faggylord3 karma

Consequences are hard to predict. However, unlike the events surrounding the Arab Spring, the Turkish riots have stabilized at a much more peaceful point. Taksim square and Gezi park now resemble the OWS movement in its prime only more vocal and perhaps with a clearer message. Gezi park is mostly occupied by young professionals and college students. There's a lot of singing and dancing going on. And here's a library. Most of the violence occurs on the borders between the police and protestors, with more fringe groups. These incidents are isolated and are getting less intense.

Our opinion is that this protest had to happen. This message had to be heard and recognized in the government and globally. Beyond this is quite uncertain.

takhana3 karma

How peaceful is the protest so far? How do you (generally) feel about those who oppose you (police, army officers)? x

faggylord3 karma

The level of violence followed a parabolic curve. Initially, Gezi Park was occupied by environmentalists peacefully protesting against building a mall instead of the park. The protests were violently and brutally stopped by the police. As the protests evolved from a local environmental concern to a national reaction, so did the violence scale up. Once this became a global affair and could not be contained, the government responded with more restraint. At this point for the most part the movement has transformed into a continuous festival at Gezi Park and Taksim Square.

There is great resentment towards the police, the national media outlets (who self-censored the whole thing for the first few days) and the government as a whole. This photo journal should give a glimpse of the level of violence and emotions.

grimvard3 karma

Püsküüt müsküüt lazımsa getireyim akşam. Lazım mı? Geçen gün bir kamyon bıraktım gerçi.

faggylord2 karma

aslansin, eyvalla

Rietendak2 karma

Good luck out there!

What would happen if Erdogan 'gives in' by declaring there will be early elections in two months? He'd get fewer votes, but would probably still be the largest party. Would it change the protests? Would they continue?

faggylord3 karma

The aim of the protests is to put pressure on the government so that they may let go of their dictatorial tendencies. This involves the guarantee of free speech, freedom of press and personal liberties. We believe that, rather than actual resignations or elections, the protests would be quelled by a better appreciation of core democratic tenets.

BWReg2 karma

I'm traveling to Istanbul in two weeks and am currently still booked to stay in Taksim Square. What do you predict the situation will be like there around then?

faggylord3 karma

We feel like it will be safe to be there. Violent events are isolated, few in number and distanced from the park. It will also be a great opportunity for you to be present as history is made!

Pumpkin_Scissors2 karma

Are you worried about the movement tapering off with out any concrete results like OWS?

faggylord3 karma

It is our belief that this won't happen. Two reasons: First, emotions seem stronger and voices louder. This is because the pressure from the government has been adding continuously over the years.

Second, Erdogan's defiant commentary has thus far added to the intensity of the crowd. It is unlikely that he will let go of his pride.

Megaharrison2 karma

Are you an alcoholic?! Erdogan told me so.

faggylord2 karma


3ndemic1 karma

Are there any ambitions among the protestors to get into the European Union?

faggylord2 karma

Although many groups within the protests have differing, strong opinions on the matter, getting into the EU is not really a topic of relevance at these protests.

frndly_nbrhd_cptlst1 karma

Does witnessing these events change your opinion of gun control? How would these riots be different if the citizens were armed?

faggylord7 karma

The purpose of this riot does not much relate with the topic of gun control. Indeed, virtually none of the citizens were armed with guns, knives or any other weapon - except for the few on the front lines who used stones.

The protests are not aimed at overthrowing the government by force, but rather peacefully getting our voices heard. It resembles OWS in nature, only we think we are louder :)

gbabedababe0 karma

Do you like Şahan Gökbakar? I am American but have seen recep ivedik and loved it.

faggylord2 karma

He's a popular comedic figure. We think he's ok.

Jazzyjeffery-1 karma


faggylord3 karma

We think that we have served our purpose. Remember that this is a collective movement and we each do what we can. A few thousand eyeballs is what we hoped for and what we got.

ImGoing2Hell4This-23 karma

Should I root for the Islamic terrorists in power that like us or the Islamic terrorists that are protesting?

faggylord9 karma

Actually, there is a large amount of atheists and secularists here, us included.