Reflections on the Future of Turkey: Looking at the Two-Way Mirror of Gezi and 15 July

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Ozge DERMAN, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - Paris (CRAL), Turkey, Centre des Recherches sur les Arts et le Langage, France
Turkey has been navigating through turbulent waters since Gezi Protests in 2013. As a part of the post-2010 Occupy movements around the world, Gezi, characterized by its anti-governmental features, was giving the cues to build the idea of an alternative future through its non-organized forms of resistance. Following the very spontaneous yet tactical and performative resistance during Gezi Protests, counterpublic spheres and counterdiscourses proliferated in Turkey along with a strong belief in the transformation in society.

Nonetheless, the country is going through a process of increasing authoritarianism since then in which violence and the silence resulting from the violence reigns, not to mention the erosion of democratic principles. The coup attempt on 15 July 2016 and the people taking the streets against heavily armed soldiers to protect their president after his call for an immediate resistance becomes the second point of reference through which the present paper investigates the “meaning” of alternative futures. The ongoing state of emergency in conjunction with the restrictions on freedom of speech and media might not necessarily concern the multiple public(s) in the same way. The present paper aims to explore that the sense of future could easily differentiate according to those public(s).

The main question concerns thus how the subjects of both of the social movements become the actors through their bodily presences and repertoire of actions on the one hand, and on the other, in accordance with their values and visions on the future. Moreover, this comparison involves the questioning of the correlation between the imagining and the shaping of those subjects’ future prospects.

This paper adopts a qualitative methodology based on hermeneutics as the process of understanding. The data is provided by semi-structured interviews with the participants of the protests, hashtag ethnography on Twitter as well as an analysis of visual materials.