Protests in Turkey: The Timeline and What People on the Street Want

The nationwide demonstrations in Turkey constitute one of the most significant events in the country’s recent history. As the events continue to unfold, it is important to keep track of the evolution of key developments, in an attempt to preserve an understanding of the bigger picture. This collective work aims to serve as a basis for a street declaration yet to be written by the opinion leaders, and also as an archive for future references (click here to read it in Turkish).

Timeline chart of events

On May 27th 2013, a small group of protesters gathered in Gezi Park, Istanbul, in an attempt to stop the clearing of trees that were being cut down to build a shopping mall. The protesters were met with brutal force by Turkish police, which quickly inspired a high level of participation in a public movement from people of diverse backgrounds and ideologies.

The uprising, which shares similarities both with the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement in the USA, was almost entirely ignored by Turkish mainstream media. Despite the lack of attention from media outlets, the demonstrations spread to many cities throughout Turkey, particularly Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Eskişehir by the third day.

Although the two-day silence of the government was broken by statements given to the press by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself, as well as his advisor Ibrahim Kalın, the condescending and threatening tone of these remarks failed to bring calm to the public unrest.

Encompassing the interests of a variety of people, this civil uprising is a great opportunity for a brighter Turkey. Given the significance of this event, it is essential to keep track of the milestones of this movement, whose many details are already fading out of our collective memory.

The timeline chart below aims to keep track of the evolution of events since the 27th of May:

The chart is currently being updated in Turkish, while there is an ongoing effort to translate it into different languages. It will very soon be available in English.

What do the people on the street want?

Initially, this movement may have been sparked simply by widespread opposition to the policies of AKP. However, interpreting these events in a broader context than sole AKP opposition, and identifying them as a struggle of the people against the oppression of the authority, may play an important role in the search for long-term solutions for Turkey.

In fact, the violence to which people have been subjected in Gezi Park, Taksim Square and other places throughout the country since the beginning of the protests portrays a picture not at all unfamiliar to the Turkish people.

University students wearing headscarves, workers seeking their rights, and minorities claiming their right to education in their native languages are examples of groups of people who have experienced this type of oppression and police brutality before. Perhaps one thing all clusters of Turkish society will agree upon is the fact that essential freedoms should not be the subject of arbitrary privileges that change with the rise and fall of different ruling ideologies.

This leaderless movement that started on May 27th will fulfill its mission only if the people succeed in explicitly stating their demands. Denial of freedoms have a prominent history in Turkey, and lack of freedom is not entangled with the potential departure of any rulıng party from power. Even the people who today support the policies of AKP once suffered from the same type of oppression before AKP came to power. Long term change in Turkey is not contingent upon the departure of AKP, but instead depends upon a complete list of demands for the ruling power to address.

Documenting the demands of the people, who are protesting on the streets, is an important beginning to a declaration that embraces all views, and as a democratic platform, social media is quite suitable to gather those opinions and demands.

The following list is a compilation of issues raised by individuals who posted tweets tagged with #OccupyGeziManifestosu, or comments on other social media outlets (no sorting criteria are used):

This list was last updated on 6 June 2013, Turkish Local Time 5:45 pm (EET, GMT +2).

We call the people of Turkey to complete this list to guide those who intend to compose a collective text.


This collective work is being updated as the events unfold, and is strengthened by your contributions. If you would like to contribute, we warmly welcome volunteers to translate the text and the timeline into other languages. If you would like to help us with translations, please contact

Authors and Contributors

The timeline chart in Turkish was created and is being updated by Mahir M. Yavuz, N. Kıvılcım Yavuz, Orkan Telhan, Ebru Kurbak and Ebru Baranseli. Information regarding  #OccupyGeziManifestosu was collated with the help of Asu’ya Tüyolar and Onur Güzel. Server performance is supported by S. Çağlar Onur and Barış Metin.

Turkish-English Translation

Original post in Turkish can be found here. Translation to English is completed by Onuralp Söylemez, Mine Şengel, N. Kıvılcım Yavuz and Okşan Yılmaz (sorted by last name). Proof reading and final edits were done by Anoush Dadian.


A. Murat Eren

Holds a PhD in Computer Science. Currently a Postdoctoral Researcher on Microbial Ecology in the USA. (a.murat.eren /

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  1. Gunseli Baysan

    I have really enjoyed going through the timeline. I have noticed that it is going through June 11th. Are you planning to uptade it through this day? If you do I would like to follow it.I am also trying to have a photobook about gezi protests. Thank you for sharing it on facebook.

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