Why Taksim Square, Istanbul's Heart, May Be The Turkish Government's Achilles’ Heel

turkeyA man poses for a picture on top of a barricade set by anti-government protesters near Istanbul’s Taksim square June 8, 2013.

Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times has published an amazing article about Taksim Square in the centre of Istanbul, Turkey — where protests against plans to demolish Gezi Park have entered their ninth day — and the power of public space.

Kimmelman, the architecture critic for the Times, details why Taksim is “the heart of modern, multicultural Turkey” and explains why the dissidence has been so successful:

“Revolutions happen in the flesh. In Taksim, strangers have discovered one another, their common concerns and collective voice.”

Another nugget from Kimmelman:

Mr. Kanipak, the architect, told me that the threat of Mr. Erdogan’s architectural intervention at Taksim “has for the first time helped to break down the walls of fear about opposing an autocratic state.” That said, tensions are swiftly rising after Mr. Erdogan’s latest speeches.

Check out the article at The New York Times >

If someone wants to know about the significance of what’s happening in Turkey, Kimmelman’s insights are a great place to start.

Here’s what the square, which lies about 2,000 feet from Prime Minster Recep Erdogan’s office, looked like on Saturday:

turkeyPeople shout anti-government slogans as they gather for a demonstration at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 8, 2013.

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