Society, Politics, and Economy in Modern Turkey: Sociology of Turkey - Maintained by Tugrul Keskin
We are at a point in our work when we can no longer ignore empires and the imperial context in our studies. (p. 5)
― Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Turkish Spring with a Leftist Bent

Qantara -  12.06.2013

What began as a protest against plans to build a kitschy shopping centre on the site of a small park in the heart of Istanbul has escalated into a conflict of values. By Ian Buruma
One interpretation of the anti-government demonstrations now roiling Turkish cities is that they are a massive protest against political Islam. What began as a rally against official plans to raze a small park in the centre of Istanbul to make way for a kitschy shopping centre quickly evolved into a conflict of values.
On the surface, the fight appears to represent two different visions of modern Turkey, secular versus religious, democratic versus authoritarian. Comparisons have been made with Occupy Wall Street. Some observers even speak of a "Turkish Spring".
Clearly, many Turkish citizens, especially in the big cities, are sick of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian style, his steely grip on the press, his taste for grandiose new mosques, the restrictions on alcohol, the arrests of political dissidents and now the violent response to the demonstrations. People fear that Sharia law will replace secular legislation, and that Islamism will spoil the fruits of Kemal Atatürk's drive to modernise post-Ottoman Turkey.

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