The Istanbul protesters who drew out riot police over the weekend have some overseas admirers, it seems. Inspired by the demonstrations against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a handful of New York-based supporters are raising money online for a full-page ad, to be placed in either The New York Times or The Washington Post.
Barely a day into the campaign and with almost a whole month to go until the deadline, the crowdfunding campaign's already gathered $35,000 in pledges—two-thirds of its goal of $53,800. Most of the donations are in small amounts ranging from $3 to $100, but about four percent of the 833 contributors so far have kept the value of their pledges a secret, meaning the vast majority of the money raised so far has come from just a handful of people.
A back-page ad in the front section of the Post costs about $30,000. Securing a spot should be no problem, as far as funding is concerned. Getting space in the Times, however, could be a little trickier. According to the Times' rate card, full-page ads for causes and appeals in the international section run between $140,000 and $153,000, depending on the day.
The prospective ad appears to be mostly text, explaining how the protests evolved from a peaceful demonstration against tearing up Istanbul's Gezi Park, and calls for "the world's support."
"This is not just about a park," the ad copy reads. "Before the park was the closure of an Ottoman pastry shop, the arrests of journalists, laws on alcohol sales, constantly changing school curricula. Gezi Park and the subsequent police violence on demonstrators were just the latest examples of a fundamental shift away from basic civil rights."
The crowdfunding campaign recalls a similar effort by Occupy Wall Street protesters to air a 30-second television spot in November 2011. Supporters raised about $6,000 on another fundraising platform, Loudsauce.
Update: At 9 a.m. Eastern on June 4 with 27 days left to go, the Indiegogo campaign has met its goal—and exceeded it by more than $27,700.