ISTANBUL -- A major protest continues to heat up in Turkey as demonstrators clash with police in Istanbul and elsewhere.
For many Americans, the story is just popping up on the radar. But for one Portland man the stakes are much higher.
At his Southeast Portland home, Evrim Icoz is 6,000 miles away from his family and the chaos of his home city.
For days, he has been connected to Istanbul through his computer.
Related: Turkey police sweep Istanbul square
“I couldn’t get any work done. I was glued to Twitter to see what was happening,” he said. “I was super concerned.”
He's worried about a younger brother who keeps jumping into the protest.
“I haven’t heard back from my brother,” Icoz said. “I know he’s been tear-gassed many times before. My cousin has been tear-gassed, and they have been chased by police.”
What started in May as a demonstration to protect an Istanbul park from bulldozers has erupted into a standoff over cultural values and democracy itself. At one point Tuesday up to 10,000 protesters filled Taksim Square, their anger now aimed at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“It just makes me really upset the amount of disproportionate force that’s happening,” Icoz said.
He said as he watches the updates he’s torn. He wants his family safe, but he also wants his home country to show the world it can peacefully handle political disagreement.
“The response has not been reconciliation but escalation,” Icoz said. “I’m worried where it’s going to go.” Icoz is a professional photographer. He said if the protests continue to escalate, he might to buy a ticket and head over there to be with his family. And to document a potential turning point for his country.