Becca and Amy Visit Istanbul

Amy and Becca

We were delighted to have Becca and her friend Amy to stay with us in Istanbul. Although there were demonstrations against the government all over this great city while they were here, we managed to travel around undisturbed to see the sights.

We sailed down the Bosphorus...

 ...crossed from Asia to Europe and back on the ferries

...marvelled at the Turkish delight and baklava

...puzzled over Turkish menus

 ...visited the Grand Bazaar. 

 ...climbed to the roof of the Buyuk Valide Han

...photographed the view

...and visited Buyukada, one of the Princes islands.

Becca and Amy leave on their tour of the island.

Becca and Amy also managed to find their way to the Hagia Sophia by themselves, with some Turkish phrases written down to enable them to negotiate the transport.

On their last day, David took them to see Taksim Square and Gezi Park, so they could see for themselves what the fuss is all about. That was the day before Becca's birthday, so we took them out to a local restaurant in celebration.

 Becca was surprised when "Happy Birthday to you" rang out over the sound system.

...and silver confetti rained from above, as the waiters brought her a candle to blow out.
That dessert looks delicious too!

Now Becca and Amy are enjoying their tour of Europe. We hope they are having a wonderful time, and we are looking forward to meeting up with them in Italy next week.


A Luta Continua in Istanbul, Turkey

The protesters carry a huge flag, bearing the image of Kemal Ataturk

 The Flag of the Young Turks

The protests continue in Turkey. Here, in Bagdat Caddesi, there have been demonstrations every evening for a week. Today, there was the biggest demonstration we have seen, and this is after the Prime Minister ordered people to stop. The protest seem to be led by the Genc Parti, or Young Party, founded by Cem Uzan, as I see many people carrying their flags. Although not everyone demonstrating is young, the majority of them appear to be. Every sector of society is represented, from babies in pushchairs to the elderly, all want change. the most popular chant being, "Erdogan resign!"

The protesters have managed to close down Starbucks. They are angry because this coffee
chain was giving free food and drinks to the police, and closed their doors
when protesters were trying to escape the tear gas.

"Every Day I'm Chapuling!"

 That's the new expression, here in Turkey. It came about when the Prime Minister accused the protesters of being looters" and "extremists". The word he used was "çapul", which has various meanings, like loot, pillage; rage; plunder, spoil and maraud, among others.

This says, "We are looting, everywhere there is Taksim, everywhere protests. Tayip resign!"

In fact, the majority of protesters are doing nothing of the kind. The violence is only in a small area, everywhere else, people are protesting by parading down the road, waving flags, blowing whistles, banging cooking pots, and chanting slogans. There is a fun YouTube video showing people "chapuling"! See it here.

 Patriotic flags on sale in our street

What would Health and Safety say about this? That car was driving down the road!

Not sure what Justin Bieber has to do with the protests!
Actually, this is a play on words. Biber is the Turkish word for pepper,
and refers to the pepper spray used by police!

Here the protesters are booing, because this restaurant was another one
that shut its doors against desperate people fleeing tear gas. 

So where is all this going? I have no idea. We will just have to wait and see.


Demonstrations Continue in Istanbul!

 A great cheer went up when this vehicle arrived on the scene!

There is absolute chaos in Bagdat Caddesi now. The people have taken over the street and blocked the traffic. They are marching up and down chanting, clapping their hands, banging pots and pans, whistling, and singing songs; added to which, the few cars that manage to get through, are sounding their horns, while motorbikes rev their engines as hard as they can. Occasionally a huge cheer goes up, and the noise is extraordinary!

At the moment, there is no sign of police, so, although the noise is deafening, there is absolutely no violence. In fact, it is almost a carnival-like atmosphere! Unfortunately, they show no sign of going home, so it looks as though we are in for another long night!

Istanbul now!

Protesters wave the Turkish flag as they drive down Bagdat Caddesi

From our vantage point on our balcony, overlooking Bagdat Caddesi, we watch, as ordinary Turkish people protest. The noise is deafening, as every passing car continually sounds its horn. As I write this, it is two in the afternoon, but we suffered this noise throughout the night, until four thirty this morning. In the early hours of today, thousands of marchers waving flags and chanting, marched down our street, not once, but four times!

 Amazingly, I haven't seen anyone fall out of a car ...yet!

This all started out as a peaceful demonstration to prevent the park by Taksim Square being bulldozed, so that a shopping mall could be built over it. Unfortunately, the police response was unnecessarily brutal, as they sprayed the demonstrators with tear gas and water cannons. The result is that this has now escalated into an anti government protest.

Demonstrators in Bagdat Caddesi this afternoon

It seems that the people are tired of an authoritarian government that takes no notice of them and their needs, but forces through its own agenda without reference to its citizens. We are mere bystanders throughout this, as it is not our fight.

However, I will try to update any further incidences happening outside our door. Meanwhile, we are being deafened, as the protests continue...

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Press Centre
I couldn't resist this one!