Turkish protesters use Indiegogo to crowdfund full-page ad in New York Times

5 Jun 2013

Image via the campaign's Indiegogo page

As we now enter the sixth day of protests in Istanbul, Turkey, an online crowdfunding campaign has succeeded in raising money for a full-page ad in The New York Times in order to share the protesters’ message with the world.

The Indiegogo campaign started out with a target of US$53,800 and a timeline to reach it by the end of the month. But in just a few days the campaign has far surpassed its target, with over US$91,000 pledged so far by over 2,000 funders.

The campaign was started by Murat Aktihanoglu, who describes himself as a tech entrepreneur, author and investor, and is based in New York. A deal is said to have been negotiated with The New York Times for a full-page spread costing US$52,030 (a discount price, apparently). As for the rest of the money, the group is taking suggestions via Reddit as to how it should be used.

Social media activism

What began as a small demonstration on Friday against the development of Gezi Park near Taksim Square has swelled into city-wide unrest in response to excessive force used by police at the park protests.

Since the key role it played in 2011’s Arab Spring, activists have taken advantage of social media to spread their message and organise protests and demonstrations. Anti-government protesters in Istanbul are no exception, and the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reportedly described social networks –particularly Twitter – as a menace to society.

Meanwhile, the state-run Anatolia news agency has reported that police have detained at least 25 people for tweeting misleading and libellous information.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.