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...
The young Turks at the sold-out show applauded politely as the group of musicians, very much their seniors, ambled onstage at the Istanbul Culture and Art Foundation's smart new venue. What awaited the crowd was something not best described as heavy: a performance that started with an enchanting drone and gradually built into a tremulous, raucous wail.
Infinitely available, free music also spells the end of most musicians earning a living modest enough to dedicate themselves to music making full-time. No more money to burn. It meant the band I played in for a decade, Stereolab, bowed out nearly four years ago, mainly out of exhaustion from a grinding tour schedule necessitated to drive ever-declining record sales.
Tonight, all eyes will be on Turkey where the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and Eurasia will be inaugurated.