…had it not been for social media, the government would likely have succeeded in hiding the protests from many Turks. Turkey is a country that jails more journalists than Iran, and it is hardly surprising that the mainstream Turkish media, which has been additionally co-opted by the authorities through financial measures, broadcast pictures of beauty contests and cooking shows for several days while parts of Istanbul and other cities were blanketed with tear gas.
“On Friday [May 31] I saw on Facebook that there were riots, and I came here [to the center of Istanbul],” a 29-year old teacher named Ulas said in a bar near Taksim Square. “There were many people and we fought them [the police] all night. But on Saturday I spoke to some of my friends here in Istanbul, and they had no idea what was going on. One, a leftist, was at the zoo. This is because they were watching penguin documentaries on the mainstream channels.”
[Photos by Victor Kotsev for Fast Company]