And so I heard about the protests at Taksim Square in Istanbul. Just 5 days ago, hubby and I were supposed to take our daughter there for some shopping and sightseeing. The plan did not push through. We went to Cevahir Mall instead, the #1 biggest shopping mall in Turkey and #8 in the world, which is located in the district of Şişli.
Anyhoo, I witnessed a rally at Taksim Square 2 years ago. They were shouting something like, "Stop sending Turkish soldiers. We cannot kill our fellow Islam!"
People were protesting about the war in Afghanistan that time. Well, at least, from what I understand and remember after hubby's explanation.
This time in the same location, people are protesting against the government for its plan to demolish the Taksim Gezi Park and build a new shopping mall in the area. In my opinion, they are correct and they have the right to protest. Istanbul and other big cities like Izmir and Ankara are already congested. The traffic is terrible because cars and other kind of vehicle just park anywhere, both left and right. Apartments don't have parking lots as well as restaurants and stores. Building after buildings sprout like mushrooms. In order to picnic, you have to travel for hours until you can finally breathe the fresh air and see more greens.
Hey Istanbul, I saw your people parking on the side of a highway, picnicking in a center island of a freeway. You gather your families, barbecue and relax under those trees with the huge number of noisy vehicles that pass by. I know, I can see you are tired of that. At least you have this Taksim Gezi Park where you can bring your loved ones on a weekend, lay down on the grass, and watch the kids play, right?
So Istanbul, please fight for your right in preservation of your Taksim Gezi Park. You know your city needs some serious urban planning; you don't need another mall because you already have Cevahir. President Tayyip Erdoğan is playing hard to get, but still try and try.
Go Taksim! Go Istanbul!!