Gezi Generation

Young people who fought to change Turkey / Istanbul, spring 2013

On 28 May 2013, a huge number of people, the majority of them between 20 and 40 years of age, took part in the largest anti-government protest in recent Turkish history. They were there to try to stop the urban development of Gezi Park, near Taksim Square in Istanbul. The police reacted very violently and the Taksim area became a veritable urban battle eld with TOMA – armoured vehicles with canons blasting water mixed with acid. Day after day the young people continued their peaceful protest despite the police using rubber bullets and tear gas against them. Many protesters and foreign journalists were arrested. Five young people died during the protests. Protests and strikes erupted all over the country as a result of what was happening and the battle for Gezi Park turned into the symbol of a ght against a wide range of social problems.

At the heart of these were the liberty of the press, freedom of expression, the right to gather and the government’s questioning of the secular nature of the Turkish state. Gezi Generation is a documentary photographic project that, through a series of portraits of some of the protagonists of the protests, tries to investigate the motivations, the ideals and the ambitions of the ‘progressive’ wing of Turkish society. It is a decisive moment in the history of Turkey. The country is divided internally by two distinct and, apparently, incompatible, ways of viewing the world.