Taksim at Night, Taksim on the March

Kadiköy portside, few footsteps down from my flat; a sea of flags cloaks the view on the Bosphorus. It seems as if every single demonstrator brought his own banner. There you see green, here a mix of white, and blue; yellow and red prevail. Windows closed, I can hear the agitators talking to the masses through their megafones in my room. I don’t know what they say, but I’m pretty sure the demonstrators in general are to be found on the left side of the political spectrum. Just now, I returned from doing my groceries, and I got a glimpse of insignia of the working classes. I also saw a picture of a moustached man, not familiar to me (thus it’s neither Erdogan nor Atatürk). From the few words I was able to read on the banners all I understood were “imperialist” and “Gezi”.

Thinking about it now…already the fact that they’re demonstrating implies they’re left-wing, doesn’t it?

The atmosphere is peaceful. Even though several hundred Turks are out there, the only three policemen I saw were sitting in a café close to my flat. No cars are on the streets, traffic seems to have been eliminated largely. Only yesterday, I’ve heard from a traveller in a pub how her flat got gased during the purge of Taksim square few months ago. Today, nothing similar will happen in Kadiköy. Still, the breeze of public unrest and democracy working at its most basic roots is interesting to see.

What does this have to do with Taksim at night? Well, I was there yesterday and the night before. On one occasion with my flatmates, on the other with a small group of other travellers, offspring of a much bigger group that had met in a pub in Kadiköy few hours earlier. I estimate that I was around ten to fifteen years below the average age. Alas, what does age matter?

In Istanbul, going out on a weekend almost inevitably seems to bring you to Taksim sooner or later. I admit I was surprised; Taksim square is big, but not as vast as I had expected. Certainly not as big as its historic significance might be regarded one day.

No pictures today. Recently, Erasmus students have been deported back to their home countries for being active in the protests. I want to play it safe and prefer to take no pictures of the demos. There was never the option to participate for me in the first place. I’m a foreigner and a guest in this country, I know way too little about the situation to actively support a side. I also doubt they were pictures made of me during the nights before, but even if they are…no need to publish them 😉

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