Gezi resistance in Istanbul: Something in between Tahrir, Occupy and a late Turkish 1968 (Anarchist Studies 20.2, Autumn 2013)

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Publication date: November 1, 2013

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Süreyyya Evren

It started with a small group of activists trying to defend a public park against government’s plans to build a huge shopping mall. In few days, as police used increasing violence against that tiny cluster of protestors, more and more people came to show their support. On 31 May, the whole country woke up at 3 a.m. to find that a small protest had turned into a huge revolutionary moment. Taksim Square and Gezi Park (in central Istanbul) were ‘captured’ on 1 June and remained government-free zones for two weeks … It was a bit ethereal for everyone: a stateless mega city-centre! The Taksim Commune! And anarchists were clearly not the only people who enjoyed the temporary autonomous zone. The heterogeneous movement was politicised through a common process. Different political stances converged for the first time. There was clearly a ‘multitude’ on the streets during the uprising and this multitude is still active in different forms. What happened, how did it develop? I believe that the events repay discussion.