"I had never been to Gazi before in my life and I just want to see it, to see what is happening there," he says. "We live in Taksim, we see this peaceful
protest even though we got a lot of gas, but we don't know what is happening in Gazi really...I started taking pictures of kids and trees, and then I saw the
big flag, the big Turkish one on the police station. I started taking pictures of that...and I posted on my Facebook while I was standing there, because
there was a lot of activity."
Utku says that as he was walking away, he was detained and taken back to the police station for interrogation.
"They didn't really hit me or anything...but they were very violent with their language, shouting at me," he says. "They asked why would a 30-year-old
investment banker living in Nişantaşı go to Gazi? And I said now something is happening, and we start hearing about this neighborhood on the news, but we
don't really know what is happening. We hear people are on the streets, and that police are using tear gas on them...they said that isn't the reality, that
they are in a war zone, that they fight with illegal groups and people throwing Molotov cocktails at them...they started talking about their friend who died
in December when an illegal group threw a Molotov cocktail and he burned. It was crazy. His picture was on the wall and they kept showing his picture,
saying nobody knows about him, nobody talks about him."
When asked, police officers at the Gazi station said they weren't allowed to speak to the press without permission, although a few of them seemed as though
they would have liked to, given the chance. When prompted about the two photographs of officers in full regalia prominently displayed in the waiting room,
one of the police did confirm that the men died when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at them during a protest last year.
But then, of course, there's the more brutal side of the Turkish police the world has witnessed in the past two weeks. After the clashes die down in Gazi
on Monday and the tanks do one last sweep, spraying water and gas in their wake, a teenager and his 10-year-old brother walk casually behind them. The
older boy picks up a spent gas pellet that's had its serial identification number removed.
"See this?" he asks? "They take off the numbers so you don't know what kind of gas they use. Some, we can tell. But this -- who knows what we're
According to Erginyaviz, police violence has led to many deaths and injuries among neighborhood protesters. "The cops are picking targets," he says. "It's
written on the gas pellets, 'Do not shoot directly into the crowd.' But two of our friends are in intensive care from being targeted by cops, and there are
many who've been less critically wounded in recent days."
While the notoriously fickle international media seems, at least for the moment, to have maintained interest in the sustained protest in Taksim, Gazi
residents say journalists are rarely seen in the neighborhood, and only when Gezi Park is quiet. There seems to be a fair amount of collaboration occurring
between the two, very different areas of Istanbul, though -- despite reservations on the part of some Taksim protesters, who see their Gazi counterparts as