Sunday, June 2, 2013


By now, everyone has probably heard about the protests/riots taking place in Istanbul, Ankara, and yes, even here in Adana.  What started as a protest over the construction of a shopping mall in a public park in Istanbul's popular Taksim Square (where we were just vacationing last weekend) turned into anti-government protests against the current administration and Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  

S and I have heard several accounts of displeasure and downright hatred of Erdogan from our local Turkish friends since we arrived in Adana five months ago.  Many Turks view his government as too Islamic-centered, and not secular like the founder of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk, believed it should be.  Ataturk is revered almost as a god-like figure here.  You can't walk one block without seeing his image in a store window or on the back of a car. Streets, parks and even airports are named for him.  Erdogan, although he has reportedly boosted Turkey's economy since taking office 10 years ago, has governed with a more conservative outlook, exactly the opposite of what Ataturk stood for, by setting strict rules on alcohol consumption and sales, cracking down on PDAs (there was a kissing protests a few weeks ago for this exact thing) and even doing away with a lot of holiday celebrations put in place by Ataturk nearly 90 years ago.  People are angry.  People don't want to see their country turn into something other than the equal and fair democracy that it was designed to be, and they feel Erdogan is attempting to do that.  The construction in Taksim Square was just the straw that broke the camel's back, in my opinion.  

Where these protests will lead is anybody's guess.  I figure things will turn back to normal when Monday morning rolls around and everyone realizes they need to get back to work.  But you never know.  For now, people are raising flags, chanting and attempting to peacefully protests a government they disapprove of, which is truly the democratic way.  I hope the police get that message.  And I hope the people of Turkey get what they truly want and deserve.  

Below are some photos from the protests here in Adana.  The first few photos were taken by me as we walked home from dinner last night.  Everyone was chanting and singing and marching peacefully and with purpose.  The last few are from a Turkish website that detailed the events that unfolded after the cops showed up.  It's a shame this is happening and I hope it ends with a peaceful and fair resolution.

Notice the group of men with red flags in the first pictures, and then see them again in the last picture.  


  1. Thinking about you all there in Adana. Stay safe.

  2. You guys stay safe too! How are things in Ankara? Everything is calm here during the day, but by evening it starts to get wild...

    1. Very calm at the moment. Last night the noise started in our area around 9 pm and just kept going and getting louder. We are not near any big attraction pull, but it was like something kicked a hornets' nest and the whole area started buzzing angrily. We don't have TV and I am wondering if the response came after a televised address. It was interesting to see random people going from walking around and pot banging to organizing a small group, then a bigger group, and then a full out angry march into already protesting traffic and down the road.

  3. Same here. Calm during the day with people going about their everyday tasks, then as soon as evening hits, the protests start up and people start gathering. The pot banging and lights flashing last night was wild. We don't have TV either, but my friend told me they were doing it during Erdogan's televised speech as a way to drown out his voice. The entire city was doing it here--people honking horns, banging pots, chanting and flashing lights. It will be interesting to see where things lead or for how long this will go on...

  4. Wanted to let you know I linked to you on our blog. If you object, let me know and I'll unlink. Hoping you are having quieter evenings lately.