It's late evening when I receive a text from someone I was sitting with earlier. "Police are coming, things are starting, watch out, we're running..." In front of me in Taksim Square, riot policemen are assembling alongside the infamous 'TOMA' riot control vehicles. Between them and thousands of heckling protesters, a group of activists are joining hands to form a human chain.
The handcuffs are digging into my wrists. To my left a riot policeman is rough-handling a young detainee who can't stop crying. It's hot, I haven't eaten for hours, and I don't have my press card. Istanbul was supposed to be a stopping point on my way to visit my grandparents. I never thought I'd end up in police custody in front of a man insinuating that I was linked to a deadly bombing.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan has held power for 10 years, during which period his country has experienced unprecedented economic growth and international prestige... Erdoğan has to realize for the sake of Turkey's future is actually the hardest thing for any human being to appreciate - that his own judgment is in danger of being distorted by 10 long years in power.
The anti-government protests in Turkey have made one thing clear: Erdogan, the Prime Minister, is not listening to his focus group. As any business owner knows, the thing about focus groups is that you don't always get to choose them. And with new media, you certainly don't get to choose who rates and criticises you in the public sphere.
In the coming weeks UN, NATO, EU, USA, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel and many others will have intense debates on what to do. Will the talking heads finally reach common ground and start acting accordingly? Stopping this war, is it really too complex, as many people tend to think? I don't think so.
Last week Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, called for a ceasefire with the Turkish state. The announcement garnered widespread international coverage largely because the announcement was made to coincide with the Persian/Kurdish New Year and not long after the government announced it was in direct talks with Ocalan himself. But will this lead to a meaningful lasting peace?
Erdogan is a shrewd, mature politician, intimately acquainted with this and other tenets of international relations. With him as captain, Turkey re-emerged as a financial behemoth in the region and flexed its political muscle. Yet he failed to foresee the ultimate direction of his ship: a painful choice between Scylla and Charybdis, the two mythical sea monsters.