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Turkey

  • Turkey alliances over Syria conflict strained by Egypt coup

    Ankara's strong stance on the Syria conflict helped bolster its status as a rising leader in the region. But its approach to the coup in Egypt could undo that. By Ilhan Tanir In early 2012, I visited Damascus and its suburbs and stayed there for two weeks. I met with Syrians of diverse professions, from shoe repairmen and teachers, to college students. I interviewed half a dozen commanders of the then-nascent Free Syrian Army local battalions, who sometimes hosted me at their family homes. Neither civilians nor FSA members had any difficulty explaining why they rose up against the Assad…

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  • PHOTOS: 'Stand-still' protests quietly take over Taksim Square

    Text and photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org Turkish choreographer Erdem Gunduz stood unnoticed in Taksim Square for several hours on Tuesday before his presence at Istanbul's flashpoint was announced on the social network Twitter and went viral. Hundreds soon joined his protest in solidarity. Later, Turkish police intervened, clearing the square and arresting several demonstrators. On Wednesday, hundreds came back, standing still in protest from morning until late at night.

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  • PHOTOS: Turkish police take over Taksim Square, push back protesters

    After nearly two weeks of holding Istanbul's central square, Turkish police raided and took back Taksim Square from protesters Tuesday, pushing the protest camp back into Gezi Park where the demonstrations began in late May. Photos and text by Oren Ziv ISTANBUL -- Turkish police took over Taksim Square Tuesday morning, pushing the anti-government protests into Gezi Park. Despite over 30 barricades built on the roads leading to the square, police forces entered the square within minutes, firing tear gas and using water canons against protesters who tried to block their approach. The clashes continued throughout the day as protesters set up…

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  • PHOTOS: Ankara protests grow as Istanbul clashes subside

    Photos and text by Oren Ziv and Yotam Ronen Istanbul: Police and protesters did not clash in Istanbul on Thursday night for the first time since the anti-government demonstrations began. Inside Gezi Park, protesters created different systems to serve the thousands of inhabitants, including: a medical clinic, library, a space where supporters can donate food and more. For the first time in days, the local municipality agreed to come to the park and remove the massive amounts of garbage that had accumulated. In Takism Square, people were dancing and singing until the late hours of the night. Ankara: Turkey's capital saw…

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  • Last Metro to Taksim, part 5: The siege of Constantinople

    A night that is almost too calm turns violent, then calm again, and then comes the day to make conclusions. Photography by May Castelnuovo. Click here for the full series.  It's 2 a.m. when we arrive back to Istanbul from Bursa. Istiklal Avenue is busier than at noon. Street musicians are everywhere, many playing "Bella Ciao," the struggle's adopted anthem. On our first day here, hearing it played in the square was a thrill. It took three days for it to become a chewed-up hit. Even here, with all these people about, the spirit of the struggle seems less than invincible. Young folk…

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  • PHOTOS: Anti-government protests swell in Turkey's capital

    Photos and text by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org Turkey's capital, Ankara, last night saw a rise in the numbers of participants in the anti-government demonstrations that erupted across the country over the past week. Around 1,000 people participated in Monday's demo in Kizliay, the capital's main square, while approximately 8,000 joined Tuesday night's protest, as workers unions called their members to hold a strike and join demonstrations. Despite the size of the demonstration, both protesters and the police worked to prevent violence. Today (Wednesday), the capital is expected to see even larger protests, according to local activists and journalists.     Related: Last…

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  • Last Metro to Taksim, part 4: The expedition

    It's time to take a look around and see what's happening off the square, way off the square. Photography by May Castelnuovo. Click here for the full series.  ISTANBUL/BURSA, Turkey -- On the day we arrived, the metro station at Taksim Square was closed. The following day was a Monday. We took the train into town expecting to alight at least one station north of the square. To our surprise, the train went all the way to Taksim. The station was open and we emerged from it with our first sense of normality. It wasn't the normal kind of normality. For one, there…

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  • PHOTOS: Turkey's protests grow as labor unions join

    Photos by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org Protests continued in Istanbul's Gezi Park and Taskim Square amid intense use of tear gas and other forms of excessive force by Turkish police forces. Left-wing labor unions on Tuesday joined the protests, which began on May 28 over plans to redevelop Gezi Park but have spread to other cities and have expanded to address the Turkish government's increasingly authoritarian policies. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has apologized for police tactics, saying, "the use of excessive force shown against the people who initially started this protest with the motive of protecting the environment was wrong. And it was unfair.…

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  • Last Metro to Taksim, part 3: Enter night

    The Istanbul team heads into the clouds of gas. It starts off pretty well. Photography by May Castelnuovo Click here for the full series.  ISTANBUL -- On Sunday night, newly reunited after the lost kidney scare, May and I went to dine with two compatriots. One was Or Heller, Channel 10's man, whom we tried to reach earlier, and Anshel Pfeffer, who reports here for Haaretz. I bit into the delicious Adana köfte and thought of Ruthie, who loves Istanbul so much, and would have come here if not for her work. What should I bring her when I return? Adana…

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  • Last Metro to Taksim, part 2: Day

    Two Israelis out to explore Istanbul's awakening are joined by two locals, or rather by 200,000 locals, and for a dance, no less. Yet they find themselves lost in memories of home, then simply lost. Photography by May Castelnuovo. Click here for the full series.  ISTANBUL -- We are at "The Kebap" restaurant, near Taksim square, right where we left off and with a great view of the Bosphorus. Now noises rise from the street outside. Young people are climbing from the ferry port of Kabatas: suburban kids from the Asian side. While at noon the ravaged square played home to a…

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