Turkey has been embroiled in demonstrations and police crackdowns for 11 days now, but the wider world is still largely in the dark as to who is involved and why emotions are so high. Sadly enough, many are lumping the protests in with the wider “Arab Spring” and assume it is another case of disenfranchised youth versus an established corrupt regime. Worst still, casual observers in the West are feeling an “uprising exhaustion” from all the various movements and protests. Feeling this effect, and hoping to counteract the general malaise and indifference to their plight, a group of the Turkey dissidents have taken to crowdfunding and advertising to rally support for their cause.
Murat Aktihanoglu, Oltac Unsal, and Duygy Atacan are all New York residents active in the local Tech Scene. Frustrated with the lack of coverage on the events and the general apathy of the American public, the group took to IndieGoGo to raise $53,800 to produce and place a full-page ad in the New York Times. They reached that goal within the first 24 hours. The campaign has gone on to raise a total of $108,291 as of 6/10/13. In the campaign, the group said:
Millions are outraged by the violent reaction of their government to a peaceful protest aimed at saving Istanbul’s Gezi Park. Over the course of Prime Minister Erdoğan’s ten-year term, we have witnessed a steady erosion of our civil rights and freedoms. Arrests of numerous journalists, artists, and elected officials and restrictions on freedom of speech, minorities’ and women’s rights all demonstrate that the ruling party is not serious about democracy. Time and again, the Prime Minister has mocked and trivialized his nation’s concerns while Turkey’s own media have remained shamefully silent.
With the money successfully raised and the content of the ad crowdsourced as well, a full-page spread in the New York Times appeared yesterday. This was the original promise of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing in general. Allowing groups of like-minded citizens to collaborate and tackle projects too large for any one of them is why platforms like IndieGoGo exist. That these platforms are now being used for more than teen movies and iPhone robots is a sign that they are maturing toward the general population. Crowdsourcing has now taken the Turkey protesters to the front of mind for many Americans during their morning routine. With this kind of media savvy, we could very well see a different international response to what we have seen with Syria.
Photo Credit: Murat Aktihanoglu/Twitter
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