Wednesday, June 26, 2013


 I drew the above sketch on Saturday, June 15— the day the police invaded Gezi Parkı. I had no idea this would be the last time I could sketch Gezi as it was; a peaceful, fun, creative place where people of all backgrounds came together to speak out against what they believe is wrong for their country. I've never seen anything like it. That night, I watched in horror as the police stormed the park, kicking in tents and gassing everything that moved— even going so far as to gas a hospital and hotel lobby, where injured people and lost children were taking refuge. I will never understand the violence, the lack of compassion and the blatant lying— this was, and still is, a peaceful protest.

Last week, a man named Erdem Gunduz stopped in the middle of Taksim Square and silently stood, facing the Atatürk Kültür Merkezi. He stood for eight hours. Soon, hundreds of protesters joined in and just... stood. On the first night, several were arrested by the police who are now a permanent fixture— occupying the park and every possible entrance to the Square. This new form of civil disobedience spread like wild fire throughout the country, stopping people in their tracks for five minutes at the very least, to hours on end. Since then, we've had red carnations for the dead, and sit-ins, the protest changing form but never its message.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Kugulu Park, Ankara

Kugulu Park / Park with Swans - No swans in the small pond by today. Moved to another place not to be affected from gas.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Diren Gezi

Taksim Meydanı, June 1st: Smoke rising from Gezi Parkı— PeF
We have seen a little bit of everything these last days in Taksim. We have seen much more on those social networks that have been condemned. And we have sketched a few moments of the ongoing turmoil that has taken Istanbul and many other Turkish cities. These are drawings mabe be me and fellow correspondent Samantha Zaza, from June 1st till June 3rd. And from what I understand from what has been happening on the political side, it seems these will not be the last.

Taksim Meydanı, June 1st: A shower of tear gas canister shot by the police— szaza
Taksim Meydanı, June 1st: Protesters— szaza
Taksim Meydanı, June 1st: Protesters— PeF
Gezi Parkı, June 2nd: Children at the playground— PeF
Beşiktaş Meydanı, June 3rd: Police gathering behind Barbaros statue— PeF

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Galatasaray, Istiklal Street

There are not too many things to add to what has been reported in depth and wonderfully sketched by Szaza and PeF. What can I say is that I have seen the determination and committment of ordinary people. I witnessed the power of solidarity and helping each other. The above scene is from Galatasaray yesterday where there was a barricade of the police. After some time gassing started.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Occupy Gezi

Police gassing protestors in Talimhane, by szaza

For the past three days, people have gathered in Gezi Parkı in Taksim to protest the removal of trees for the massive construction project that the government begun last fall. The plan to turn one of the area's last green spaces into a shopping mall, moved people to peacefully occupy the park. In response, police have attacked protestors with tear gas and water cannons, injuring many, hospitalizing some. I do not know the exact figures, nevertheless, when I came home from work today, my neighbourhood looked like a war zone. Unarmed citizens are being gassed, sprayed point-blank in the face with chemicals, and assaulted by high-pressured water cannons. They even gassed the metro.

Police gassing protestors in Talimhane, by PeF

I tell you, it's madness outside. This evening, a few hundred of us were squeezed into the little hotel-lined streets, which were littered with broken glass, teargas canisters, and pieces of plywood. Fires were set, barricades erected, and the police, silhouetted figures in the orange smoky air, shot gas every other minute at us. A smoking canister bounced off the pavement and hit my left knee, while my right foot received a direct hit. The pain was intense, but then I felt the burning.

Protestors, by PeF
Protester with eye-soothing solution, by PeF
Protestors clapping and singing, by PeF
We eventually made it home safely, though many did not— people are seriously injured, and the Turkish media, who initially ignored the protests, is just now starting to cover the story. I was told by one protestor as he watched me sketch the scene, "Tell the world— you must tell the world what is happening here."

Visit my blog Harika to see the photos, and hear more of the story.