On the Front Lines in Turkey: 10 Photos From the Anti-Government Protests

Scenes of chaos have rocked Istanbul for days.


Editor’s note: Since Friday, Turkey has been roiled by anti-government protests. For the latest, go to our updated explainer here.

The view through the windshield of a wrecked bus in Taksim Square, Istanbul, on Saturday. There was generally a celebratory feeling during the day, with protesters walking around, singing, dancing, and eating watermelon. Though this bus was torn up and covered in spray paint, when the occasional protester would try to cause further damage, those around him would yell, “Yapma, yapma!” (“Don’t do it, don’t do it!”)

Protesters hang out of a building on Istiklal Street, near Taksim Square, cheering. The graffiti “Katil polisler” means “Killer police”; “O.Ç. Tay[y]ip” stands for “Orospu çocu?u Tayyip,” or “Son of a bitch Tayyip,” referring to Turkey’s prime minister.

A young man wearing a gas mask in Taksim Square on Saturday afternoon. By the weekend, vendors were selling surgical masks and gas masks on the streets and near the front lines of the protests.

A flipped car in Taksim Square on Saturday afternoon.

Protesters cheer near the front lines on Sunday night near Be?ikta?. Tear gas hangs thick in the air; the man with the umbrella is using it to shield himself from gas canisters. When riot police were forced back, people yelled “Gel, gel” (“Come, come”) to those behind them so the crowd would advance.

Sunday night: Protesters near the barricades, built in the middle of a normally busy thoroughfare. This was one of many; another barricade, further along, consisted of an excavator hijacked by protesters and a couple of trucks. The excavator had forced police back, but shortly after this photo was taken, the police redoubled their efforts and forced the crowd to retreat at a sprint, as police reportedly struck protesters down with batons.

Men standing on the street

Protesters in Taksim Square Monday night.

a crowd gathered around a fire

A man holds a flare in Gezi Park. As a helicopter circled overhead, members of the crowd booed, aimed green laser pointers at it, and shot flares into the sky.

A hurt woman on her back

A woman lies on a blanket in Gezi Park, suffering from the effects of tear gas. Tear gas was periodically dropped from the helicopter Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

People with gas masks on in the street

Protesters suffering from the effects of tear gas in Gümü?suyu. One protester stood in the midst of the crowd with a water bottle of homemade solution (antacid and water) for flushing out the eyes of those suffering from the effects of tear gas, as well as an inhaler for asthmatics.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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