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

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rethinking secularism, World affairs: An excursion through the partitions of Taksim Square

By Jeremy F. Walton

The Immanent Frame - June 10, 2013

Taksim Meydanı. Partition Square. Although it has taken on potent new resonances in recent days, the name of Istanbul’s throbbing central plaza commemorates a now-forgotten history, the function of the site during the Ottoman period as a point of “partition” and distribution of water lines from the north of the city to other districts. Already long the favored site of demonstrations in Istanbul, Taksim is now the scene of the largest anti-government protests in Turkish Republican history. And the name of the square speaks volumes—what better word than “partition” to describe the increasingly politicized cleavages that have defined Turkish public life over the past decade, finally achieving international reverberation with the current protests? A host of trenchant, difficult questions, both analytical and political, accompany and orient the ongoing demonstrations in Taksim and elsewhere throughout the country. How rigid and inexorable are the partitions that demonstrators and government spokespeople alike identify as the cause of this outpouring of populist indignation? Above all, what should we make of the near-inescapable insistence that one particular partition, an irreconcilable antimony between secularism and Islam, is the tectonic arrangement responsible for the upswell of political tremors in Turkey?

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