David and Becca on the start of our day out
Sunday was a glorious day, so we decided to take Rebecca to Istiklal, the famous street for promenaders, that runs between Tünel and Taksim Square. On reaching Istiklal, we were surprised to see riot police standing by, next to a huge water canon. We thought at first it might be to do with the football match later that day, we soon found out, however, that a huge demonstration was planned for that day.
Thousands of people filled the streets. The slogan on their caps read,
“Have your say against the Armenian lie”, and they were waving both the Turkish and Azerbaijani flags
As we walked along the three kilometers of this long street, we were joined by thousands of people commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre, in which hundreds of ethnic Azerbaijani civilians were killed by the Armenian army. Aparently, people even travelled all the way from Azerbaijan just to take part in the march.
Although there were riot police armed and ready along the route, the march passed off peacefully and we never once felt threatened.
The Azerbaijanis waved their countries flag, but wore headbands,
declaring that they too were Turkish
David and Becca in the middle of the demonstration
This sign says, "We are Turks", and in front are Azerbaijani veterans,
carrying Turkish flags
Survivors of the massacre
This sign says, "We live to survive because we are Turkish".
The people marched to Taksim square, where they held a rally,
but we decided it was time to go, so we fought our way through
the crowds, and took the dolmuş home.