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, July 18, 2013

Reframing the agents of resistance at Gezi Park

By Alparslan Nas

Open Democracy - 17 July 2013

As the bearer of an underlying democratization process in Turkey with all its paradoxes, AKP still goes unchallenged insofar as the different groups of opposition who became visible in Gezi Park still cannot put forth convincing arguments to win the “50 per cent”.

The word, “resistance” has not been widely heard in Turkey till recently, and the unfolding of the Gezi Park events. We have been pushed into a universe of discourse which interprets these events as ‘black and white’, especially with reference to the deeds of Erdoğan. Envisaging a third way has never seemed so difficult, especially within the frame of a leftist perspective. Yet certain questions await unanswered; who is really speaking through resistance?

Erdoğan: dictator or saviour?

Leftist politics in Turkey has always been closely aligned with the Kemalist modernization process, since both construed “Islam” as “the uncivilized other”. In the past eleven years of the AKP government, those who have intrinsically close ties with the modernization process have difficulties in comprehending the ways in which Erdoğan’s government has managed to improve the level of social welfare for the silent majorities. As columnist Markar Esayan noted in his essay in Turkish, members of the privileged classes cannot comprehend how people’s lives have changed since the price of a simple medication fell from 100 liras to 10 liras.

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