Occupy Istanbul: Portraits of Turkey’s Protest Kids

Asmin Kogak participates in the sit-in at Gezi park in Istanbul. She is 17 and studies in a private high school.
Photo: Loulou d’Aki

In the days before Istanbul’s Gezi Park was cleared of its makeshift campgrounds by riot police, a remarkable culture had already taken shape. The temporary residents of the park — slated for destruction by Turkey’s goverment — tended to be young, stylish, and a bit bookish. Among New York–based journalists covering the protests, it was sometimes observed that the Turkish youths might blend in well walking down the street in a neighborhood like Williamsburg or Greenpoint. But the glue that held the camp together was collective anger. Asked even the most general of questions, their rage tended to spill over immediately. They wanted the park saved. But more important, they wanted a more tolerant and respectful culture in their country. They didn’t want to live in fear that their prime minister would impose conservative, Islamic strictures on their lives. Mostly, they wanted him out of office, stat.

Swedish photographer LouLou d’Aki spent several days in Gezi camps talking to, and taking pictures of, its residents. The protesters in this gallery of her work are all residents of Istanbul, all in the their teens or early 20s.

Portraits of Turkey’s Protest Kids