[Sociology_of_islam] 

سيد أبوالدهب في الثلاثاء 04 يونيو 2013


 From: Vernon Schubel <schubel@kenyon.edu>
To: Sociology of Islam and Muslim Societies <sociology_of_islam@lists.pdx.edu>
Sent: Monday, June 3, 2013 10:33 AM
Subject: Re: [Sociology_of_islam] [Sociology _of_islam] OccupyGezi or Taksim Gezi Parkı Protes t

 
Dear Prof.Moad:
 
You state:
"I highly doubt that most of those protesting in Taksim now, would have identified their cause with that of the Tahriri protestors opposed to Mubarak."
On what do you base this? Most of the Turks I know who are supporting the protests in Turkey also supported the protests against Mubarak. It seems that you accept that notion that the binary in Turkey is between "a conservative Sunni majority" and  a "minority of secularists."  That is far too simplistic a view of Turkish politics.  Not all religious Sunnis support Erdogan or Gulen for that matter and  I think it pretty clear that most Turks still respect Ataturk if for nothing else that he kept the country from being colonized.  When Erdogan characterizes him as a drunk and argues that alcohol laws in Turkey should be based on religion instead he risk alienating a good many Turks. And as I said in my earlier post authoritarian rule in Turkey was often more used against leftists, trade unionists and Alevis than it was against Sunni religious organizations.  They went to prison more often than the Nurcus. The Turks I know supporting in these protests are doing so because they believe that Erdogan is using democracy as a slogan to support a kind of conservative populism that threatens the rights of those who so not share his few of Turkey as Sunni Turkish state. That has led to fear and frustration made worse because of the arrest and intimidation of journalists.
it isn't just tear gas. It is authoritarianism. And whether that comes from "the Deep State" or from "the Gulen movement" or the AKP a lot of people in Turkey are afraid of it.
Peace,
Vernon
On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 7:54 AM, Edward Ryan Moad <edwardrm@qu.edu.qa> wrote:
I think the better comparison is between Taksim and the reaction of disenfranchised racists to the civil rights movement in the American south.
 
They also could claim that the federal government was imposing rules autocratically on them.  And they also rejected integration of the schools, just as most of these Taksim demonstrators oppose lifting the ban on hijab in universities.  
 
Also, the racial undertones of their self-description as "white turks" (Europeanized, secularized), as opposed to "black turks" are evident.  And, the attitudes of Kemalist Republicans vs the Kurds is not incomparable to that of the racists in the American south. 
 
The sum of total of the supposed likeness between Taksim and Tahrir is that the police used tear gas.  
 
But tear gas does not make all causes equal.
 
I highly doubt that most of those protesting in Taksim now, would have identified their cause with that of the Tahriri protestors opposed to Mubarak.  Only now that the target of Tahrir is Morsi, would it have crossed the minds of the Taksim protestors to draw such a relation.
 
 
lists.pdx.edu] on behalf of ahmed souaiaia [ahmed-souaiaia@uiowa.edu]
 
On Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 2:49 PM, Vernon Schubel <schubel@kenyon.edu> wrote:
Vernon James Schubel
​Indeed Taksim is like Tahrir... ​Taksim Square is for Turkey what Tahrir Square is for Egypt. Considering that Tahrir Square events were the extension of the protest movement that started it all from Tunisia, it follows that the turmoil in Turkey is similar to the so-called Arab Spring. But most observers and media analysts are dismissing Taksim Square movement arguing that Turkey’s uprising is not similar to the Arab Spring because Erdoğan and his party are democratically elected and that Erdoğan has governed over a period of unprecedented economic prosperity.
 
Turkish Prime minister Erdoğan, too, mockingly rejected calls for him to resign saying that he cannot be called a dictator because he was democratically elected. He accused his political opponents of using the street to topple his government. He argued that the protesters are ideologically motivated and threatened that for every 100,000 protesters, he will bring out a million from his party.
 
While it is true that the circumstances of Turkey are different from those in the Arab world, one could also argue that the circumstances of Tunisia were different from those in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yet, each of these countries was affected, in varying degrees, by the protest movements of this decade.
 
The wave of protest movements ignited by Elbouazizi is about one central theme: dignity. Certainly, in the long run, these rebellions are not about a vender harassed by police officers in Sidi Bouzid in the case of Tunisia or about several trees cut in Taksim Square in Turkey. Those events are simply the sparks that ignite the flames that have been burning underneath. The feeling of being made irrelevant, powerless, and insignificant by an arrogant leader elected, or otherwise, is the real force that breaks the wall of fear and galvanizes people to reclaim their dignity.  
 
Indeed, democratic rulers, like dictators, are prone to overreaching and abuse of power. In a dictatorship, it is easy to identify abuse of power because that abuse generally comes from a single source: a dictator or the ruling party. In a democracy, where power is shared, blame tends to be shared as well, making it hard to identify the source of abuse. But in the end, if the people, or a significant segment of society, feel that their dignity is abused, be it on the hands of a dictator or an elected leader, they will rise up.
 
Erdoğan, though he is elected, has shown alarming authoritarian tendencies. His hubris is appalling and his arrogance is offensive to many Turkish citizens and people in the region. Elected leaders are not immune to hubris and arrogance especially when they have a limited understanding of how democracy works.
 
Being elected democratically does not grant one unchecked sovereignty and powers, especially when the country does not have strong and established civil society institutions. In fact, since his rise to power, Erdoğan has done all that he could to consolidate power and undermine civil society institutions. He targeted and/or undermined journalists, academicians, artists, judges, human rights activists, and NGOs. When his opponents opposed him, he threatened elections and used demagoguery and his popular base to stifle dissent. Where Arab dictators used tear gas, jail, torture, and guns to silence opponents, Erdoğan used demagoguery and majoritism as tools of oppression. Is there a difference between such a democracy and dictatorship if the outcome is the same: Oppression of minorities, dissenters, and the vulnerable?
 
Erdoğan and his political party are reducing democracy to a tool of control. They are ignoring the fact that democracy works best when it is adopted in an environment that celebrates dissent and diversity. Without vibrant, free, and thriving civil society institutions, elections are only a path to authoritarianism, especially in a country full of supermajorities and superminorities.
 
The Turkish Spring is similar to the Arab Spring and in some ways a bit different. While most Arab protesters wanted to overthrow the established order (Isqat al-Nizam) because they are corrupt beyond repair, Turkish protesters want Erdoğan to resign, not overthrow the system. It might be in the interest of the ruling party to force Erdoğan to resign to preserve their achievements and to plan for a future of shared governance. Erdoğan’s threat to bring to the street a million people from his party for every 100,000 of protesters is divisive, arrogant, partisan, and unbecoming of a leader who is supposed to represent all the Turkish—not his party.

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