Despite a shaky economic past which saw the country go through a period of instability - involving the devaluation of the Lira - things have very much taken an upward turn in Turkey and this is a very positive thing for TEFL teachers.
I turn back into the main street and approach the riot officers. "What are you doing here? Open your bag!" shouts one of them. "I'm a journalist," I say, waving my press card. He grabs my arm, opens up my bag and pulls out my gas mask: that's all the proof he needs.
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.
For the past three weeks, the park, along with the square, has become a hub of activity, with thousands of encamped protesters confronting water cannon and tear gas-wielding riot police. But despite the harsh rhetoric and the violence, the reality is that Prime Minister Erdogan has little to fear.
Further clashes have erupted on the streets of Ankara and Istanbul as the Turkish prime minister held a huge rally in front
Istanbul's Taksim Square, the scene of restive anti-government protests, has been sealed off by police after demonstrators
Hundreds of Turkish police clashed with protesters in Taksim Square, Istanbul on Tuesday. Rioters attacked the authorities
Turkish police used tear gas against the protesters in Taksim Square on Tuesday as protesters unleashed Molotov cocktails
Turkish police have stormed into Istanbul's Taksim Square, firing water cannon and rubber bullets into the air, leading to
These are interesting times in Turkey, times in which an open conversation, although often unforgiving, is taking place between factions who have long disliked each other, politically speaking.
Could this lead to a Turkish Spring? Unlikely. Turkey is a politically polarised country. Public discontent and frustration with AKP policies is growing but yet unlikely to become the majority. Erdogan and his party still believes they have the conservative majority behind them...
There have been fresh anti-government protests in Turkey, with some of the most violent clashes since the trouble started
The brutal reaction of Turkish police to the Occupy Gezi protests in Istanbul could have permanently damaged the country's
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.
Hasan Usta, his face lit up by the merest suggestion of a smile, nonchalantly lowers his metal spoon, filled with black sea
Bored of another festive break spent in your local pub, hoping not to run into 'that guy' (or girl) from last year? Perhaps
Visiting a city usually means that everything is within walking distance, so you can get out and explore on foot. Better for the environment and also I think more fun, since you can stop at coffee shops/bars/stores en-route!
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.
Madonna stunned fans in Istanbul, Turkey on Saturday night when she bared her right breast during her latest stop on the