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

Monday, December 14, 2015

Turkey, where social networks are regime’s new guard dogs

Dağhan Irak

Turkey’s iron-hand ruler Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been enjoying an incontestable power which gradually converts itself to an autocratic regime. The roots of AKP’s unshakeable reign are widely debated; it could be the traditional rural Turkish culture, the religion, the sustainable poverty neatly imposed on the society and turning an entire nation into a charity case, or all of the above… However one aspect of Turkey’s Islamist-conservative regime is rather overlooked; its dependence on social networks.

AKP considers itself to be a descendant of both Adnan Menderes’s Democrat Party of the 1950’s and Necmettin Erbakan’s National Viewpoint movement of the 1970’s to the 90’s. The party indubitably inherits most of its populist and conservative tendencies from these two political movements; however more crucially, it happens to own the social networks consolidated by these two against the army-backed Kemalist state for decades. These networks are composed of all walks of traditional rural life; from poor villagers to rich landowners turned into businessmen (aka. Anatolian Tigers) mostly by reappropriating wealth of non-Muslim bourgeoisie “cleansed off” the Anatolian territory. These networks of Anatolian Tigers has been existant for decades, however it was AKP who replaced them with their secular rivals dominating the market. As a matter of fact, AKP integrated these networks into the public-private joint capital so irreversibly that the system could never work properly without these networks and the party-state coordinating them. A project called Mülksüzleştirme Ağları / Networks of Dispossession based on Graph Commons network mapping tool, aims to visualize these networks.


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