Faces in the Crowd

By John Wreford

The ill-fated coup attempt was only a few hours old when the mosques started to rally people to the streets to defend the homeland and democracy. The President, after evading the would-be usurpers, addressed the nation via Facetime saying “Go to the streets and give them their answer.” And to the streets they went.

All photos belong to John Wreford ©

All photos belong to John Wreford ©

As the first rays of dawn glimmered from the Asian shore across the Bosporus, the coup had been foiled. In no small part by the masses of protesters who threw themselves in front of tanks on Istanbul’s imposing Bosphorus bridge, which spans the straight dividing the city, and by the protesters who marched on the airport and on Taksim square.

By the following evening, crowds had flocked to Taksim square. Momentous screens were soon erected, the flag sellers and street vendors moved in. An air of Tahrir prevailed. As an incentive to travel from the far reaches of this monstrous city, public transport was free to use. Democracy had prevailed.

For the next three weeks, a sea of red flags fluttered and the crowd chanted its support for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, proclaimed its disdain for the accused perpetrator of the coup, Fethullah Gülen, and celebrated its virtuous national unity.

Images of the thronging crowds were soon on the front pages of the world’s newspapers, the nightly news broadcasts and circulating on social media. As the President said: “the world is looking at you now.”

These are some of the faces in the crowd.


John Wreford is an Istanbul-based photographer. You can follow him on his Website, or on Facebook.

This photo-essay was originally published on Your Middle East, and has been syndicated here with permission.

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