For the last few days Turkey was the scene of violent clashes between protesters and authorities. In the first days of protests the traditional media was silent and people outside Turkey did not know much about what was going on. Except if you were quite active on Facebook and Twitter. However after a few days due to intense social media activity, the news spread fast. Still, some of the traditional media did not report anything or just reported what the officials say. Pictures did emerge. But some of the information that was transmitted through the media conflicted with what people on the streets of Turkey reported on social media.
This is how the story happened.
On Friday morning, clashes began between a few peaceful protesters and the police. The protesters were demonstrating against the destruction of the last park of Istanbul to make way for the building of a mall. From these clashes, the demonstrations spread across the country and took a more political turn, the protesters beginning to demonstrate against an authoritarian government.
The response from the police was pretty violent compared to the peaceful protests. As pictures emerged, it was revealed that police was firing with expired gas and used water cannons. Over 900 people got arrested, several got injured and two reported dead (according to english.ruvru.ru). Apparently Turkish media was ignoring the protests, as Twitter user Michael Calderone twitted:
“CNN International covers the Gezi protests while CNN Turkey shows cooking shows.”
Twitter and Facebook was otherwise full with reports from protesters who noticed that their media were ignoring them and were asking people from around the world to contact the big media corporations in order to report their story.
Today it seem the things calmed down and BBC reported that police have withdrawn from the Taksim square, the main area of the protests. Twitter users around the world have showed support for the Turkish protesters by posting pictures of people holding papers that said ” Turkey you are not alone”.
- Turkish Spring: Taksim Gezi Park protests in Istanbul (boingboing.net)
- Tweeting through teargas: violence in Turkey unfurls on the web as thousands protest (theverge.com)
- Turkey police clash with Istanbul Gezi Park protesters (disclose.tv)
- Turkey assesses protest damage (bbc.co.uk)