First of all, I must admit that writing this article was not an easy task because of at least two reasons. Primarily, trying to write about a demonstration which I had not actively participated in; and, secondly, an on-going and so ambiguous process. However, I thought that I must have written about my friends’ success by taking the risk of “too soon to talk about it.” And after I visited Gezi Park, I understood that my previous thoughts were still valid. Here, I would like to sum up my analysis in three parts: How the demonstrations are covered by international media, how the process can be interpreted in a different way, and what can be said about its future. Especially, the third aspect is so crucial because of the need for a future full of hope.
During the first days of resistance, like the mainstream media in Turkey, international media ignored the uprising in the country; but later, acted quickly and started to report news about the developments in Turkey partly through the implications of “Crazy Turks” and from the perspective of “Turkish Spring”. It can be said that two pre-assumptions can be found in this approach: Firstly, the Middle Eastern experience can be seen as a “Spring”; and secondly, in Turkey, based on nation-state discourse there is a nationalistic uprising. “Wondering that based on these pre-assumptions, would those be mistaken in analyzing the resistance movement?” naturally crosses one’s mind. As early as 2002, prior to “Arab Spring” which hadn’t even pronounced yet; could it be possibly an attempt to initiate “Muslim-Turk Spring”, but had the leaves prematurely fallen off? If this is the case in Turkey, then it can be easily stated that the joint resistance does not mean a fruitless entity but something similar to the synergy that was in action during the 1919-1923 period, with one vital difference: This does not have (only) one leader; therefore, it must trigger different hopes for the future.
Having no leader can be seen as both a risk and an advantage. Risk stems from the capability of neo-liberalism to create a new hegemony. On the other hand, if the replacement of power structure symbolized in the personality of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gains currency, then it will be very hard for the potential hegemons to control all resisting bodies –namely çapulcu (analogous to looters) at the same time and for me, this is the most important advantage of this joint resistance.
Moreover, it seems that this joint resistance has already overcome two difficulties. For instance, in the past, it had always been a really tough issue to take simultaneously war of positions in multiple fronts for the resistance forces. The increase in the fields of specializations in Turkey and more importantly, with better educated specialists, and with the positive/preferably constructive effect of social media; our generation, nowadays, is likely to overcome the problems of taking a war of position against the unfair use of power. Additionally, it looks like the negative effect of social media -that can be called the opium effect through iPhone- something prevents people from “real” and efficient action has been reduced. These are the ones supporting above mentioned advantage.
Although the demands such as “Gezi Park must continue to stay as a park; those who are responsible for casualties including the governor and the head of police must resign; all who remain in custody throughout Turkey because of the resistance must be immediately released; ban on activities such as protests and demonstrations in public spaces such as Taksim Square must come to an end; the use of gas bomb must be banned” (see Figure) are really valid ones that should be met, however, the bar should even be raised to a higher level: What kind of future do we want? The ones who want to build an order based on peace and justice instead of shopping malls, nuclear plants, hydroelectric power plants, etc. should first find an answer to this question of “how”.
In this respect, it is important to note that this is not a struggle against a government but a mentality of which the government is also part. Max Horkheimer, in his work entitled Traditional and Critical Theory (1937; translated to Turkish in 2005) says if justice belongs to god, then it cannot be found in the world as well. Exactly, this is the case in the Middle East and what has made Turkey go round in circles. This is why it is time to secure justice in the world and leave god to the individual. Although this joint resistance started as an act against the unjust practices harming human environment, it has dramatically transformed into an anonymous platform against all kinds of unjust practices put forward under the name of religion or conservatism. Needless to say, this joint resistance shows enough potential to become successful. This is so because all the resisting individuals are believers; above all, they believe in a future order based on justice and peace.
At this point, I must remind a paragraph from one of my previous articles which is dated 6 May 2013, just a few weeks before the resistance started:
I believe that those people of principles did not die for the sake of nothing. If today’s social movements are still encouraging for us, this is mainly because of those people who sacrificed their bodies in 1970s and lit a fire for future generations. And now, it is time to act in solidarity that is what they targeted but could not succeed at that time. Empathy and tolerance are the key concepts for the unification. By doing this, we can get rid of the vicious cycle which has been created by the power politics.
I suppose the energy for unified action –that is something very hard to create- must be used for the sake of peace and justice.