Some may argue that a city museum in Istanbul would be redundant. Istanbul is itself a living museum, they might say as they trip over unmarked relics and ruins that literally dot the streets here. But this lets people off the hook for the wholesale destruction Istanbul has faced on a near constant basis since, well, always. Istanbullus like to eulogise their city but don't seem particularly interested in preserving it.
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.
The brutal reaction of Turkish police to the Occupy Gezi protests in Istanbul could have permanently damaged the country's reputation, a leading exper...