Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Sunday, February 23, 2014

More Craziness Last Night

This past week, the internet censorship law came into effect in Turkey.  I thought there might be another protest this weekend and there was.  Last night I was in my room and I started hearing the familiar pop of firecrackers (which protesters throw at the police).  A little before 9PM I went out and just a couple of blocks away there was a protest in progress.  It seemed more organized than the one a couple of weeks ago because there were banners, signs, and organized chanting.  There were overturned dumpsters in the street and people were covering up their noses and mouths because of tear gas.  Some people had gas masks.  I got some video of it.  Up a block or so away there was a police van with a water cannon.  People were throwing bottles and fireworks at it, and the police were responding with water cannon and tear gas.  After a tear gas canister landed near me, I decided I had seen enough.  Tear gas is nasty stuff.

Here are some pictures of the aftermath this morning:

One of the things that was spraypainted is "AKP = Party of Hungry Dogs".  They got rid of this stuff pretty quickly this morning.

I got my Iranian visa this week so I am all set because none of the other places that I am going have a requirement to get a visa in advance.    Right now my plans are (roughly) to leave Istanbul next weekend (since my class finishes this week and our test is Friday).  From Istanbul I will head across the Sea of Marmara to Bandırma, and take a train to Selçuk which is near Ephesus.  From there I will head to Denizli which is near Pamukkale.  Then Ankara for a couple of days, then a slow two day train trip to Kars in the far northeast corner of Turkey.  Fortunately, in Turkey, a first class sleeper compartment is nice - and cheap too.  Then Georgia and Armenia, then back into Turkey, then traveling along the black sea coast, and then the southeastern part of Turkey (Diyarbakır, Mardin, Lake Van) before going to Iran.  I see that Lufthansa has a service from Tehran to Frankfurt and so right now I am thinking that, before going to Iran, I will buy a one way ticket to Frankfurt on Lufthansa so that I don't have to pay cash for it in Iran (because of sanctions, my ATM and credit cards won't work in Iran so I have to take all the cash I need there in US$ or Euros.).

One day this week, some of us went over to Kadıköy (a nice area on the Asian side of the city) after class and had lunch over there.  One of my classmates just got a job teaching English here and she was relating a hilarious story about the school where she is working now.  They are sending some of the students to work at a Pizza Hut somewhere in Texas to improve their English.  Texas has a really bad image outside of the United States.  For one thing, everybody outside of the U.S. knows Texas as the state that George W. Bush came from.   I said that I think people will be try to speak Spanish to the Turkish students because most of them probably look kind of like they could be hispanic.  To say nothing of the kind of English they will pick up.

We also had a class lunch (Iskender kebab) on Friday, with our teacher, near Taksim, not too far from where we have class.
Class lunch

I'm looking forward to getting out of this town and being on the road again.


  1. How is the censorship affecting you? No Google results? Blocked blog?

    It seems only last week you arrived in Istanbul. You are leaving already. We were in Ayvalik in Turkey in 1996, found it very charming, a touch of Greece for you. This reminds me - we know this lady in Shanghai who was is originally from Ayvalik. We think she is back in Turkey. We can put you in touch.

  2. I haven't noticed anything yet. I was having a lot of problems the day after the president signed the law but it turned out that was because my host owed money to his ISP. But yesterday a recording that is alleged to be a recording of the Prime Minister telling his son to hide a billion dollars appeared on YouTube. For now it's still there - I'll keep checking to see if it goes away. It's an explosive story here, and prevention discussion of the corruption scandals around the government was the reason for that law. It's here on YouTube: