Twitter Visualization of Gezi Park Protests

Demonstrators have filled the streets of Istanbul and other Turkish cities to protest the increasingly authoritarian attitude of Prime Minister Erdogan. Explore hourly trending social media conversations related to Turkey’s Taksim Gezi Park movement.


The Data: Hourly Trending Twitter Hashtags

As a way to visualize what individuals at both ends of the political spectrum are saying, created the above chart to depict daily updated, hourly trending Twitter hashtags referencing Turkey’s demonstrations. Our goal with this project is to remove language barriers and layers of propaganda, by providing a fresh and intuitive map of the conversations related to the Taksim Gezi Park protests. 

The Issue: Turkey at a Crossroads

Protestors have charged that Erdogan meddles in the personal lives of citizens – by condemning abortion or trying to control the sale and consumption of alcohol. The crowd at Taksim Square claim to represent the new face of the republic: young and educated people with no political affiliation who simply want to protect their green space and exert their rights to a peaceful coexistence.

To crackdown on the protests, the government deployed an army of riot police and gendarmerie effectively suppressing the demonstrations over the weekend. Tactics included bulldozing Gezi Park, cordoning off streets, and firing teargas and water cannons enriched with chemical substance on protesters in the center of the city. The police not only took aim at the demonstrators themselves, but also at the medics and hospitals attempting to help the injured, any business owners who provided shelter, and the foreign news media covering the events in the absence of local media outlets. Stretches of motorways encircling Istanbul and public transportation were also closed off by police to prevent protesters from getting into the city center. Furthermore, in some of his toughest language yet, the prime minister and his aides called his opponents terrorists and blamed the foreign press and leaders for plotting against Turkey.

More than a hundred protestors are believed to have been detained during Saturday night’s demonstrations in the areas of Istanbul. Since then, the protests have taken on a different form. On Monday, images have emerged of performance artist Erdem Gunduz standing quietly in the large, open square – the epicenter of three weeks of often violent unrest. Copycat “Standing Man” protests have spread globally, providing the disaffected population with a new strategy to peacefully protest.  

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed dismay at the violent confrontations in Turkey between Turkish security forces and protesters demonstrating against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and called for restraint. 

4 casualties were reported in addition to 7822 injured of which 59 were severely injured, according to Turkish Medical Association(i).


(i) The Health Status Of The Demonstrators


Project Info

  • Data Analysis: Deniz Zorlu
  • Visualization: Phil Yen, Saskia Ketz
  • Copy: Deniz Zorlu, Mark Uzunian
  • Open Source Code: Nathan Yau