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Turkey's Youth Fighting Back

Europe | April 20, 2017, Thursday @ 09:00| 141 views

Illustration Photo: Euronews/Print Screen

Sulukule is one of Istanbul’s oldest neighbourhoods. Located in the west of the city, it has played home to Turkey’s Roma community for a thousand years.

It is one Istanbul district that has been hit particularly hard by the hammer of gentrification, driven by private sector and governmental agencies currently threatening Sulukule’s centuries old heritage.

The neighbourhood has become a symbol for those opposing the Turkish government – the powerless against the powerful.

This anger and frustration was an inspiration for the rap group Tahribad-i Isyan. They are the loudest tool of the the unheard Turkish youth.

The trio, each from different backgrounds, released their first album a month ago.

Their lyrics: a call to arms for a generation they believe should fight for their rights, rather than leaving Turkey behind.

Band member Asil Sland said: “People say that its impossible to live in this country. Actors are saying this, artists and everyday people. We say: if we also leave this country, then there will be no one left, to make it a better place. That's why, stay here and make it more livable. We can achieve that with music or with art.”

This generation has one thing in common: they all grew up under the AKP-government. Due to the political tension, many of them are frustrated and want to leave the country.

Another group looking to bring about change is 140Journos.

Co-founder Engin Önder and his team are active on 16 different platforms. Here in a hidden street in Istanbul’s Kadiköy district, the online platform bypasses the censured Turkish mass media everyday. Debates are held on Whatsapp, workgroups on Facebook and live broadcasts on Periscope. The platform is a pioneer of New Media Journalism in Turkey.

Önder said: “During the Gezi Park protests, media, due to their ecopolitics, they didn't cover anything. And that was the thing that brought cameras back for us. We took to the streets, because media wasn´t covering what we wanted to see. So we said we can actually create what we want to consume.”

The young generation in Turkey is the future of the country.

While many dream of leaving to escape a political system they feel has forgotten them, some want to remain, and work for a more free and democratic Turkey.


Tags: Sulukule, Roma, gentrification, symbol, Government, Tahribad-i Isyan, impossible, 140Journos, AKP-government, co-founder, remain

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