Gezi Park Resistance Article Series – No. 8
Uprisings in Turkey: Preliminary Thoughts and Questions from Social Movement Theories
Turkey has been loud for three weeks. The country is being shaken by one of the most sustained, massive, and diffused waves of protest in its recent past. To many observers inside and outside, the protests came as surprise. A minor protest on the Gezi Park in Istanbul turned into a large-scale public resistance to the government. While I am drafting these sentences, the (uniformed) police who withdrew from the Taksim Square a while ago entered there again with gas bombs and water cannons. Citizens, journalists, intellectuals, activists, or let’s simply say people in general are having a hard time to take their eyes from what has been going on in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and several other cities in Turkey. Knowing that it is difficult to remain politically calm under these circumstances, here I briefly talk about some assumptions within the theories of social movements that could be useful to investigate the current uprisings in Turkey from different vantage points. I tentatively argue that the “why-now” question is daunting, and the answer may lie in sub-narratives of the uprisings. The use and exposure of state violence in such a massive scale looks like one of the most critical of these sub-narratives which couples with individual and collective experiences and emotions.