Occupy Gezi: From an Uprising to a Social Movement?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: 418
Oral Presentation
Ayse SAKTANBER , Sociology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
Binnaz SAKTANBER , City University of New York, Graduate Center, NY, NY
Occupy Gezi started as a small protest to oppose the demolition of a park in Istanbul and quickly transformed into a national grassroots initiative against the government’s authoritarianism and a hybrid democracy, which locks political action into the ballot box. After a month of intense street protests leaving 5 dead, dozens wounded and under arrest, it has shifted to “park forums” as thousands gather in their neighborhood parks to discuss the future and come up with a game plan.  This lecture will look into how the #OccupyGezi experience opened new social and political possibilities, spaces of political action (online and off) and a new kind of political language; what shook the so-called “apolitical” generation out of their comfort zones to the streets; and brought people from all walks of life and political spectrums together. It will also look into the chances of Occupy Gezi becoming a full-fledged social movement and the limitations it faces in the process.