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Gezi Tanıklığı / Witnessing Gezi

In May-June 2013 mass demonstrations in Turkey took place, initially to contest the gentrification of Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park. After the violent eviction of a sit-in at the park by the police, outraged protesters clashed with the police forces and, subsequently, supporting protests and strikes took place across the country. People from various political backgrounds (liberals, republicans, anarchists, socialists, communists) addressed issues like of freedom of the press, of expression, assembly, and the government’s encroachment on Turkey’s secularism. Social media played a key role in the organization of events, especially due to the reluctance of the Turkish media to broadcast the protests (especially in the early stages). In overall, 5 million people have taken an active part in almost 5,000 demonstrations across Turkey whilst 11 people were killed and more than 8,000 were injured due to heavy police repression.

The photojournalist Emin Özmen who witnessed the protests that sparked supporting strikes across Turkey turning into a resistance movement of great importance for the country has created ‘Witnessing Gezi’ aiming to present the human aspect of this civil resistance, a crucial event of the last 30 years in Turkey.

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