By Murad Sezer
Anti-government protests have gripped Turkey for almost two weeks, and Istanbul’s famous Taksim Square and adjoining Gezi Park have become a center of the demonstrations, with thousands flocking there to voice their opposition to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK party.
Ayse Diskaya is one of them. She is a 48-year-old housewife, an active member of the left-wing cultural organisation Halkevleri, a women’s rights activist – and now a Gezi Park protester. Riot police cleared the square early on Wednesday but Ayse says she will return to Gezi Park later in the day.
By Murad Sezer
Taksim Square is the heart of Istanbul. It’s the meeting point for lovers, tourists and protesters.
On the weekends if you stroll around the square and crowded Istiklal street, a hub for shopping and bars, you can witness various political demonstrations. Women protest against domestic violence, soccer fans gather, anti-government far leftists groups rally and on Saturdays mothers demand to know the fate of their missing relatives. Riot police are never far away, so it’s no big surprise if you smell tear gas all of a sudden in the middle of Taksim.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon on Friday at protesters occupying a park in central Istanbul, injuring scores in the latest violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.
The protest at Gezi Park started late on Monday after developers tore up trees but has widened into a broader demonstration against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish riot police in Istanbul fired water cannons and teargas on Wednesday to disperse tens of thousands of May Day protesters, some of whom threw stones at security forces as they tried to breach barricades to reach the city’s main square.
The city’s governor, Huseyin Avni Mutlu, said 22 police officers and three civilians were wounded in the clashes.
ANKARA/CEYLANPINAR, Turkey, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Around 9,000
Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey in the past 24 hours, the
U.N. refugee agency said on Friday, one of the largest single
day influxes, while Turkish state media said 26 defecting Syrian
army officers had also arrived.
More than 120,000 registered Syrian refugees are now
sheltering in Turkish camps, and tens of thousands of
unregistered Syrians are living in Turkish border towns and
AKCAKALE, Turkey (Reuters) – Turkey stepped up retaliatory artillery strikes on a Syrian border town on Thursday, killing several Syrian soldiers, while its parliament approved further military action in the event of another spillover of the Syrian conflict.
Seeking to unwind the most serious cross-border escalation in its 18-month-old crackdown on dissent, Damascus apologized through the United Nations for shelling which killed five civilians in southeast Turkey on Wednesday and said it would not happen again, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said.
AKCAKALE, Turkey (Reuters) – Turkey stepped up retaliatory artillery strikes on a Syrian border town on Thursday, killing several Syrian soldiers, while its parliament debated authorizing further military action in the event of another spillover of the Syrian conflict.
Syria’s staunch ally Russia said it had received assurances from Damascus that the mortar strike had been a tragic accident and would not happen again and Syria’s Information Minister conveyed his condolences to the Turkish people.
By Murad Sezer
All photographers make plans to deal with possible clashes. They are ready to protect themselves and their equipment when covering a potential riot (or a May Day demonstration as I did a few days earlier). But you don’t expect to be doing that before a soccer match, or any other sports events.
While covering the May Day protests I don’t carry a camera bag or a laptop. I head out with my two camera bodies, spare memory cards, a gas mask and a wireless lan transmitter attached to the camera body to file my pictures – that’s all.. It’s more comfortable and easy to cover if any riots break out. But to cover a soccer match is a different story. If it’s a cup final or a decisive match like last Saturday’s Fenerbahce – Galatasaray Turkish Super League Super Final, we bring along much more equipment. I pack a hardcase with a laptop, 3 camera bodies, four lenses including a 400 mm f2.8 super telephoto, remote control devices to set up a camera behind the goal, network cables, a mini tripod etc. And usually we don’t even think about the safety of ourselves or our equipment. Normally during half time or at the end of the game we set our cameras down and rush to file pictures from the field or in the photographers’ working room.
In the second half of the 2010-2011 Turkish football season Galatasaray moved to its new home ground in Istanbul, the Turk Telekom Arena, a 52,000-seat multi-purpose stadium replacing the Ali Sami Yen Stadium.
The fate of the legendary Ali Sami Yen Stadium is now sealed.
The demolition of Ali Sami Yen, one of the most iconic venues in Turkish football and the home to one of the three oldest Istanbul football clubs Galatsaray for 47 years, started last week. For almost half a century, the yellow-and-red lions hosted their rivals in this temple with the slogan “welcome to hell”. The stadium played host to victories against European giants FC Barcelona, A.Bilbao, AC Milan, Real Madrid, E.Frankfurt, and a historic victory against Neuchatel Xamax. Most notably it was the scene of Galatasaray’s triumphal UEFA Cup campaign in 2000.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish protestors angry over the depiction of an Ottoman sultan drinking alcohol and wooing women in a new television series threw eggs and chanted “God is Great” outside of the broadcaster’s studio on Sunday.
A group of about 100 protestors, accompanied by a band playing Ottoman military music, marched to the offices of the entertainment channel Show TV, which broadcasts “The Magnificent Century”, in Istanbul’s financial district of Levent.