As I was preparing to leave Istanbul in June 2013- my home for the past six months– a chaotic situation erupted in the central Taksim Square area near my apartment.  What initially began as a peaceful environmental protest evolved into an all-out anti-government rebellion. At the time, I lived a mere 10 minute walk away from the initial action, and was feeling a bit afraid of what I was hearing from friends and family via the Western media- the Turkish media opted to show programs on Antarctica instead of live coverage.  However, after investigating myself, I realized that it was an extremely peaceful attempt at revolution compared to most political upheavals occurring in the Middle East.  Granted, I only visited twice, during two separate “eyes of the storm”.  I wasn’t one of the thousands that was tear gassed in the middle of the night, nor was I shot with water guns and rubber bullets; I wasn’t dragged through the streets, nor was I part of the destruction.  But during that time, I saw the true intention of the Turkish spirit and, up ’til this day, I fully appreciate and respect (most of) their efforts- their will always be the occasional bandwagoners who jump on board purely for the sake of wrecking things and causing a commotion.

Check out the video for what the Istanbul Riots of 2013 really looked like.

Video created by Jamie Bowlby-Whiting at