Turkey Case Study: Ocuppy Gezi! Public Protests

Monday, July 14, 2014: 7:45 PM
Room: Booth 63
Oral Presentation
Sirin DILLI , University of Giresun, Giresun, Turkey
This presentation focuses on Istanbul’s Occupy Gezi protests that started on May 28 2013 and spread via Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed etc. The purpose of this research is to find out how and to what extent social media activism is changing the role of social actors - online and offline -. Some of the research questions to be answered are:

-          Are communities more active because of the opportunities offered by digital tools?

-          Have community engagement and participation improved because of digital transformation?

-          What cultural and media practices of communities affected by digital transformation?

-          Who are leading on increasing the use of digital tools in communities?

The protest which started on May 28, 2103 in Istanbul was against the destruction of Gezi Parki, the only big green park left in the centre of Istanbul, and construction of a shopping mall instead. Protesters spread the word by using social media; starting Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed and using the following hashtags: #ayagakalk #geziparki #occupygezi. In short time the protest became an international news issue.  Within hours their page was liked by hundreds of thousands of people and by the end of the day, Occupy Gezi Park became world news. Nevertheless, the coverage of the Taksim   Square protests will not be remembered as a moment of glory for a number of Turkish mainstream media. While demonstrators were being tear-gassed and beaten by police, CNN Türk was airing a documentary on penguins and Habertürk had a debate on mental illness.