Saturday, 15 June 2013
It's not all tear gas and water cannon.
As I write this post, the TV is broadcasting live from Taksim Square. The police are clearing the area with water cannon, following the fleeing protesters into the lobby of the Divan Hotel and filling the foyer with pepper spay or tear gas. The newsreader sitting in the studio is looking decidedly nervous as femail protesters are saying exactly what they think of their prime minister, words that are not usually allowed to be broadcast. It's an ugly, upsetting scene that makes me despair and wonder how the situation will ever resolve itself. I sympathise with the protesters, I too have stood in line before armed police, protesting to save trees and prevent massive desecration of an unspoilt area to fill the pockets of already rich individuals, and although we weren't subjected to water cannon and tear gas, we had live ammunition fired over our heads, and this was long before Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came to power. Over-reaction of the authorities to peaceful protest and destruction of nature is nothing new in Turkey and those that have a rosy view of past governments should not forget this. You may be wondering what this photo has to do with the protests. Absolutely nothing. This was Mazı Beach yesterday; as tempting as always. I was at Lake Bafa on Thursday and in central Bodrum today and can confirm to anyone who has booked a coastal holiday in Turkey that all is safe and calm. My daughter works for Mark Warner holidays and her guests are still enjoying their windsurfing and sailing. Turkey has always been a big contradiction of a country and as areas of Istanbul seethe the rest carry on as normal. Please don't be like Matt and Lillian in the Archers and cancel your trip to Turkey. The majority of us here are still waiting to give you a warm welcome.