Gezi Park in downtown Istanbul has become the battleground in a struggle over the significance of Ramadan and a growing concern over the chasm that has opened between rich and poor in Turkish society.
Each weekend during Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, which ends on August 29 in Turkey, the Labor and Justice Forum, an unlikely coalition of socialists and religious-minded people, has offered a free Iftar, the meal that breaks the day’s fast. The simple offering of soup, olives and cheese for several hundred people is not only a charitable event, but also a protest against many Turks’ conspicuous display of wealth during Ramadan.
"Ramadan is a time that we have to remember the poor and remember that we can be hungry sometimes and we have to give our money to [the] poor,” commented Rumeysa Camdereli, a university student and one of the protest organizers. “This is what the protest tries to say to people who are having their [Iftar] meals in luxury hotels.”
To read the full story
Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.