It has been ten days since police took over Gezi Park in a cloud of gas and a deluge of pepper-spray tainted water. I had no idea when I sketched the Park's blue penguin, that it would all disappear that very night. We still cannot enter the park. At this moment, it is completely roped off with tape and heavily guarded by a myriad of policemen. Taksim is surrounded by busloads of cops, some clutching machine guns with bored expressions. This weekend they unleashed another fog of gas upon protesters— people who were merely standing, and tossing carnations in the air.
On Friday I was lucky to walk out of a pub to find the "Scooter Dog Guy" (as I call him) making his way through the very same clogged back alley in Tünel. I've been wanting to sketch this man and his pooch for years, but was never close enough to him until that night. Every so often, the mustachioed man can be seen riding his scooter around Istanbul, his faithful friend perched upon his shoulders— while wearing a pair of white sunglasses. I kid you not. Lately, the hound has received some notice, becoming known as the Riot Dog of Istanbul, due to his uplifting presence at the Occupy Gezi protests.
I have no idea how long I stood there in that dark alley, drawing and chatting to this fabulous duo, occasionally stopping to pet Riot Dog's patient head. I still can't believe I got the sketch!