A photographer's view of the Turkish protests
- 28 June 2013
- From the section In Pictures
A month on from the start of street protests in Turkey, photographer Jake Price shares some of his images and looks back on his time covering the clashes in Istanbul's Taksim Square and the issues behind the unrest.
I chose these photos because they represent a cross-section of what I experienced during the two weeks I was in Turkey covering the protests that engulfed the nation.
I flew there more interested in the undercurrent that exists in society and intended to shoot portraits and interviews, but when the violence erupted I had no choice but to cover it.
I am now working on a multimedia piece looking more deeply into the reasons behind the unrest and people's need to take to the street
Working in Turkey was difficult and I was hit with a tear-gas canister about 6in (15cm) from my head while covering a protest. I was lucky.
We felt we were being targeted and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's blaming of foreign media for the unrest did not make our lives easier.
Away from the protests I was drawn to the ferries that Istanbul is famous for. It's there I found some hope to the situation, examples that day-to-day life flows more strongly than the heated political rhetoric.
I was drawn to one moment in particular. As we were leaving Galata, two women sat talking to each other absorbed in a conversation, clearly emotional, and next to them sat a women in sunglasses and wearing headphones.
Both in the same space and obviously from very different backgrounds, but they were sharing a bench on a lovely day.
This acceptance, on a day-to-day level, is what defines Istanbul and the feelings of so many across the nation.
That said, I'm afraid for what's happening, particularly as it relates to language. This escalatory, combative rhetoric confounded and depressed me.
I've witnessed the results of the "us v them" language first hand in Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Uganda. The main difference with Turkey is that it has so much going for it, whereas the nations I mentioned were mired in poverty and were already in the midst of progressed division. But, in many respects life is good in Turkey.
Over the past decade, its economy developed and to see it fall apart because of ideology would be a catastrophe on an unfathomable scale. But history has long tentacles and perhaps their grasp is stronger than anyone could imagine.
The day after the security forces cleared Gezi Park in Istanbul, scene of the initial spark of unrest, they pushed into nearby neighbourhoods chasing small bands of protesters, and the area was then locked down. People spoke in hushed frantic tones in the apartment I was in. Fear, real fear. Fear with true consequence hung heavily around us. For the first time I saw people close their windows and turn off their lights.
And then, just as quickly as the security forces had entered, they withdrew. The lights came back on, windows opened, people banged on pots and pans and yelled in protest.
Here are some more of Jake Price's pictures from his time in Turkey. He plans to return again to complete his multimedia piece in the near future.