Taksim Protests Turkey: Can Indiegogo Help Crowdsource a Revolution?

Turkish protesters have taken to popular funding site Indiegogo with a new campaign to build momentum on what some are calling a fledgling revolution. The campaign, which calls for $53,800, seeks to raise enough money to place a full page ad in the Washington Post or the New York Times

They had raised $55,000 in under 24 hours. At the time of writing, they had $63,638 …with 27 days left.

"We want the world to hear from Turks themselves about what's happening in Turkey," the page reads. "We want the world to support us as we push for true democracy in our country."

The page was set up by three activists — Murat Aktihanoglu, Oltac Unsal, and Duygu Atacan — and claims to represent the thousands who began protesting over the weekend against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his 10-year-old administration. Demonstrations were sparked over the weekend when the Turkish government attempted to bulldoze a park and turn it into a mall and replica of an Ottoman-era army barracks, though protesters also claim that the government has increasingly resorting to authoritarian tactics to assert Islamist policies throughout the country. 

Over 250 commenters have contributed to the text of the ad, which is begin written collaboratively on the site. "We are the Turkish people," the most recent draft reads. "No organizations, parties, or affiliations."

"Turkey is at a pivotal juncture," it continues. "Before the park came the arrests of journalists, elected officials, laws restricting the sale of alcohol, systemic de-secularization of future generations through Islamification of school curricula … The demonstrators are from different ideological, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. They are young, old, religious, secular, gay, straight, foreign, domestic, fringe, anarchist, mainstream, women in headscarves, women in tank tops, Alevi, Sunni, Jewish, and Christian. This is Turkish Democracy in action."

Having hit their goal, the page says that they plan to continue to collect donations for the duration of the campaign, and are soliciting requests for how best to spend the extra money. 

The Turkish Interior Ministry reports that it has arrested 939 demonstrators, with 79 wounded, though a Turkish doctors' group reports that injuries are actually closer to 1000.

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T. Chase Meacham

Student at Georgetown University studying theater and government. Writer, director, and Secretary of the Arts for the Georgetown University Student Association.

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