Standing: The Newest Form of Protest in Turkey

After weeks of violent clashes, a Turkish artist tries a motionless form of resistance -- and starts a movement.

On Monday night, Turkish artist Erdem Gunduz arrived in Istanbul's Taksim Square, the site of weeks of ongoing protests and violent clashes with police, and tried something a little different: he put his hands in his pockets, gazed at a picture of Ataturk, and stood perfectly still. He stood there quietly for five hours, and as the night wore on others joined him:

standing-banner.jpg
Erdem Gunduz stands in a silent protest at Taksim Square in Istanbul on June 18, 2013. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)

Gunduz's quiet vigil has spawned a wave of similar shows of defiance all around Turkey, as groups of people paused in government buildings, in front of state-run media, and elsewhere, and essentially planked -- vertically -- for democracy:

Some of the standers interviewed said they were demonstrating for peace, rather than for a particular side. The unrest has left four people dead and about 7,500 injured, according to the Turkish Medical Association.

This morning, Turkish police dispersed the crowd standing in Taksim, detaining several protesters. Later, others returned and resumed standing, according to the AP.

standing2-big.jpg
(Marko Djurica/Reuters)

The Democracy Report

"I'm standing against all violence," Koray Konuk, one of those arrested, told CNN. "I'm standing there so that the events that we've been witnessing and the events taking place over the last two to three weeks can come to a standstill."

Presented by

Olga Khazan is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covers health.

What LBJ Really Said About Selma

"It's outrageous what's on TV. It looks like that man is in charge of the country."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What LBJ Really Said About Selma

"It's going to go from bad to worse."

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

More in Global

Just In