Gezi Parkı

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Some photos I took this morning in Taksim square and Gezi Park. Not a policeman in sight. The energy was positive, and it felt almost like a festival.

The global media is focused on Istanbul, where police violence seems to have died down a bit, especially in Taksim. However, police attacks on protesters continue in cities across Turkey, including Ankara, Izmir, Adana, and Rize. Please keep yourself informed on the situation in Turkey. Click here for a great list from Amnesty International on what you can do to help.

Olympos

Last week a few friends and I went to Olympos, a small area on the southern coast of Turkey in Antalya Province. We stayed in a hostel filled with fruit trees, lounged on the beach, and swam in the Mediterranean. It is a beautiful place and I know I’ll be back someday.

The view of Mount Olympos from the beach

The view of Mount Olympos from the beach

The Mediterranean. We swam around that point and into a cave!

The Mediterranean. We swam around those rocks and into a cave!

Kahvaltı (Turkish breakfast) at our hostel

Kahvaltı (Turkish breakfast) at our hostel

Exploring the Roman ruins of Olympos

Exploring the Roman ruins of Olympos

These pink flowers grew everywhere

These pink flowers were everywhere

Our last day at the beach - Maura, Ariella, Sabreen and me

Our last day at the beach – Maura, Ariella, Sabreen and me

Where freshwater meets the Mediterranean in Olympos

Where freshwater meets the Mediterranean in Olympos

Current events in Istanbul

Hi friends! The current events in Istanbul and the rest of Turkey have been front page news around the world so I’ve been getting a lot of questions asking me how I am and how it is here. I’m completely fine. Where I live is set away from the areas where bigger protests are taking place. Protests are occurring all over the city and country, but it seems that police violence has been more concentrated in the Taksim square/Beşiktaş area.

I am still piecing together the current events because Turkish media coverage of the protests has been shamefully lacking, but I am trying to stay informed on what is happening in my city. For those who aren’t sure what is going on, I encourage you to click here to read a recent article about the protests. The following video also shows the progression of the protesting and the police violence that followed in Istanbul.

Last night in our neighborhood, people protested by banging pots and pans and flickering their house lights. It was incredible to see and hear. Later, we joined a group marching from our university into Etiler. Students, families with their little kids, and elderly people all marched, banging pots and pans, waving Turkish flags, and chanting, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Erdoğan.

The following video was filmed by a Boğaziçi student and shows students marching from our university towards Taksim square on Saturday.

The images I have been seeing of police brutality are sickening to say the least, but at the same time the videos and photos of the thousands of people who are standing up to their oppressive government gives me a lot of hope. Check out this blog to view photos of current events.

Please educate yourself about what is happening right now in Turkey! It is great that this uprising is gaining a lot of international attention but outside pressure must be put on the Turkish government. Click here for ways to get involved and let the Turkish government know that this violence against their own citizens will not be tolerated. Send your positive thoughts and solidarity to the Turks who are fighting for their freedom! This affects anyone who cares about democracy and human rights. Thank you for reading!

Recently

Istanbul has been fortunate enough to experience 9 days in a row of nothing but warm, sunny days.

I spent a day with friends, eating a kilo of strawberries from our local market and looking out over the Bosphorus.

My roommate made me this delicious cookie!

Personalized and everything!

Personalized and everything!

I had a day off from school for May Day, or Labor Day. This happened, but I was far away from the protests.

A friend and I took a day trip to the beach at Kilyos, located on the northern end of Istanbul on the Black Sea.

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I visited Hannah and Ryan for a barbecue. This morning, we walked along the Bosphorus in Sariyer and saw a sailboat race.

A photo from a 2010 race on the Bosphorus, photographed by Kaan Verdioğlu

A photo from a 2010 race on the Bosphorus, photographed by Kaan Verdioğlu

Currently: hearing the celebrations for Galatasaray’s Champions Cup win – virtually every car driving by is honking its horn, there are fireworks going off in multiple places in the city, and I’m hearing a lot of chants… “bir, iki, üç, dört!” (one, two three, four – the number of goals Galatasaray scored in this particular game).

Spring break in summary

Dublin: got to see my friend Maura and the city she’s been living in, enjoyed the pub scene and a pint (or two) of Guinness, saw the Book of Kells in the Trinity College library, took a train to the coastal suburb of Howth, experienced just about every type of weather, wandered around St. Stephen’s Green, ate a burrito for the first time in about 4 months

Great pub in Dublin where Maura took me to listen to an Irish band

Great pub in Dublin where Maura took me to listen to an Irish band

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Maura and me in Dalkey on a blustery, but sunny day

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Hiking the cliffs of Howth…my favorite part of the trip

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Trinity College library, a bookworm’s dream

Edinburgh: had my first real solo travel experience, almost cried when I saw the exchange rate of Turkish Lira to pounds, toured a haunted graveyard (where I saw Tom Riddle’s grave), tried on a few kilts, hiked Arthur’s Seat for a great view of the city, saw the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, enjoyed some more Guinness and whiskey, tried the tiniest bite of haggis, stayed in a fantastic hostel and met some great people from all over the world

Greyfriar's Kirkyard, a cemetery that is supposedly one of the most haunted places in Europe

Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, a cemetery that is supposedly one of the most haunted places in Europe

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Another view of the cemetery and surrounding houses in the Old Town

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St. Gile’s Cathedral

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View from Arthur’s Seat

A great trip, but it’s good to be home – and good to be able to call Istanbul home, at least for now.

Mom and Dad in Istanbul

Dad and me at the Hagia Sophia

Dad and me at the Hagia Sophia (note the Rick Steves guidebook…the best!)

Mom in the Grand Bazaar

Mom in the Grand Bazaar

I had a great visit with my parents while they were here last week. It’s so nice to feel like I know enough about this city to show them around.

Spring break is almost here! At the end of the week I leave for my trip to Ireland and Scotland. Once I get back, I only have four weeks of classes left. Time flies…