A year after the Gezi Park uprising – a protest that began as an act to save trees – exploded into anti-government riots around the country, sparking cohesive community efforts to fight urban sprawl, the face of environmental activism and awareness in Turkey has changed.
Among the many issues bringing protestors together at Gezi Park, the now-iconic site of struggle in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, is the demand for women’s liberation.
Now approaching its third week, the "Occupy Taksim" movement, a peaceful sit-in to save Istanbul's Gezi Park from redevelopment, has taken on a festival-like atmosphere, with protesters organising to stand guard around the clock, provide uninterrupted food and water supplies, and carry out a self-initiated cleaning of the grounds.
As protests in Turkey stretch into their second week, the precise terms and conditions that could bring the social unrest to an end are unclear, though many speculate about what would end the deadlock between the government and protesters.
Sitting with hundreds of other protesters in the centre of Istanbul's Gezi Park Thursday night, Arzu Marsh rummages through her backpack to show off what she calls her makeshift "emergency kit": medical masks, a red spray-bottle filled with a liquid
that lessens the effect of tear gas, a scarf and some food.
Few imagined that the symbolic act of standing in front of bulldozers in Istanbul's Gezi Park in an effort to block a development project near the city's central square would have caused the reaction it did.
"Peace at home, peace in the world" is the official motto of the Turkish Republic. Coined in 1931 by the republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, it implies a causal relationship, but the events this week in Istanbul and dozens of other cities of Turkey suggest that causality can work in reverse order, too.