Shopping Revolution?

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Shopping Revolution?

No one could have imagined that the initial sit-in demonstration against the development of a parkland site in central Istanbul into a shopping center would turn violent, go countrywide and have repercussions right across the world. The protests, which have now spread to 48 Turkish cities, have made international headlines. The photo of the demonstrator in the red dress has become iconic – overnight.

A fiery combination of excessive use of force and virulent political statements were ignited by social media. One writes this blog in full awareness of the tragedy of these developments: it has thus far led to the deaths of two people and resulted in hundreds of injured on both sides. Many have said that it has created an unprecedented split in Turkish society.

The re-development of the park near Taksim Square was indeed a linstock to an inferno that has reflected growing discontent in the country. Before the protests erupted, recent actions from government worried and frustrated many secular Turks. The ruling party had criticised TV shows, made frequent statements opposing alcohol consumption, and spoken out against public displays of affection.

9 days in, it is inappropriate to speculate on what impact the park’s proposed development had as trigger to such tumultuous events. It would however be remiss of us not to take heed – it is an event that will shock the town planning world to its core.

Hugo Minchin, Account Manager

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