Are protests effective? This straightforward question interests both scholars and lay observers of protest. Whereas scholars most frequently answer the question with a nuanced ‘it depends’ and start narrating about contingencies; citizens and especially journalists most often simply want to hear impressive stories. Not the historical cases everybody is familiar with, but preferably more recent ones. Tales of contemporary struggles that truly show the potency of protest.
In the last few months, several examples of protest and success covered in international media caught my attention. These protests were noteworthy because, contrary to what much scholarly work suggests—that is, that protest is especially effective in the long run—these actions succeeded extremely quickly, in a matter of days. Their success seemed to be as sudden as their emergence. Continue reading
Having more than 12 million users, Turkey was one of the leading countries in the world connected to Twitter. No more.
Perceiving Twitter as a major platform for protesting his regime, Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the blocking of the site. “Twitter schmitter,” said Erdogan, “we will wipe out all of these. The international community can say this, can say that. I don’t care at all.”
Twitter users in Turkey have divergent styles. Some will generally share news stories, others prefer direct interactive engagement with others. Few, however, use Twitter as a venue to publish their ideas. Instead of interacting, they primarily focus on sharing their story in a series of tweets, often numbered consecutively. Fuat Avni is one of them. Using a pseudonym, Fuat Avni stands out with an important feature that makes him unique: targeting Erdogan by revealing his everyday interactions. Continue reading
After two weeks of contentious politics, streets have started to return to normal in Turkey. Although the activists did not leave Gezi Park yet, current political atmosphere has already changed: massive confrontational rallies now harbor traditional battle-grounds instead of the sentiments that gave rise to the Occupy Gezi. The Occupy Gezi was an expression of a mass frustration by a wide-range coalition against aggressive neo-liberal regime that has been symbolized in urban renewal projects and PM Erdogan’s iron fist. The current organized rallies in the last two days, however, push people to be polarized as pro-AKP or anti-AKP. This is the new phase in contentious episodes, and arguably, a detrimental blow to the spirit of the Occupy Gezi. Continue reading
Latest developments in Egypt and subsequent scholarly comments indicate that there is quite a way to reach the Arab “Spring.” If the pro-Islamic party has a sweeping electoral success, we will delve into recent post-Islamism debate. Can Islamists be sincere Muslim Democrats? At the center of these debates, we often see two non-Arab countries, i.e. Iran and Turkey, which are generally depicted in a mutually exclusive duality in the Western media: can the Muslim Brotherhood internalize liberal democratic values as the Muslim reformers in Turkey did or will it be the engine of another Islamic Republic? Continue reading