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

Friday, May 23, 2014

Between Two Rationalities: The Possibility of an Alternative Politics in Turkey

By Bülent Küçük

Jadaliyya - May 23 2014 

How can the results of the recent municipal elections in Turkey be understood amidst the constantly changing political landscape: graft scandals, revolting judicial decisions, changing political alliances, and an ever-increasing polarization? It can be argued that only preliminary lessons can be drawn when analyzing an ongoing historical process for historical and structural clues. This is a state that cannot overcome a widening social opposition, which views elections as the only conduit for democracy (while tampering with these very conduits themselves), which is only able to use brute force against the voices expressed on the streets. It is a state that can only tell lies, since it can no longer (re)produce its own reality, turning ever more clearly into a security and police apparatus. In such a context, do the results of the local elections count for anything?
The question here is: when marginalized identities proliferate, when new sorrows and indignations amass, when a populist government manages to monopolize all branches of power under its thumb, what kind of democratic institutions and practices, what kind of struggle, can resist or even transform this kind of rule? How will it be possible to prevent this single-party, single-identity, single-family, one-man rule to drag society into bigger disasters after the collapse of expansionist foreign policies and nearly going to war with some of its neighbors? Amidst this climate of conflict, secret negotiations are supposedly ongoing with the Kurdish Liberation Movement; these are hardly likely to be conductive to a new constitutional arrangement that deepens democracy and brings peace to the conflict. What kind of mechanisms and forces can push this government towards more democratization and the consolidation of the peace process? And finally, how could such an opposition go beyond the simple strategy of exposing government corruption and lawlessness and become more encompassing in its opposition?


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