In one of the greatest revolts of 2013 and in the midst of strong economic growth, Turkey blew up in a series of riots and occupations that began with the simple defense by anarchists and environmentalists of the last green space in the center of Istanbul, Gezi Park. In reaction to the police repression, hundreds of thousands of people occupied Taksim Square. The movement included women, youth, old folks, radicalized football hooligans, Left organizations, anarchists, muslims, atheists, Kurds, and Turks, and it spread to all the major cities of the country. The movement built itself on the basis of barricades, occupations, gatherings, and battles with the police.
Among the first to say that the “violent” ones (referring, as always, to protestors and not to cops) was President Erdogan. Later, when a crowd defended a barricade in the plaza against a police assault and some molotov cocktails were thrown, pacifists and others filled Twitter and the internet with the accusation that those responsible were undercover cops. Later the same day, the cops raided an office where 70 of the rioters had taken refuge. One of the detainees, who in photos is clearly seen as one of the main people throwing molotovs, was Ulas Bayraktaroglu, a well known former political prisoner and member of a socialist party. Quickly, the pacifists modified their conspiracy theories so as to not be openly contradicted by the facts and come off as total fools. They searched for other ways to attack and criminalize those who defend themselves.