More Destruction/Development Ahead

Will Istanbul someday become a cartoon version of itself, a postmodern monstrosity, clean, sleek, soulless, its roots withering in the arid imagination of technocrats?

Ihbar, Haber, and Serendipity: Sliding Into A Police State

Ihbar or denunciation as a concept is always much in the news in Turkey with widespread phone tapping and surveillance and the use of secret witnesses and confidential informants in trials. Ergenekon trial evidence was tainted by exactly this lack of transparency. Allowing ihbar as evidence allows the judicial system to be used as a form of oppression, a club wielded by someone with a mask and a purpose, rather than a fair and open airing of a dispute.

Ergenekon Endgame

The shocker was the life sentence just given to General Ilker Basbug, who led the military between 2008 and 2010. He has been accused of leading a terrorist gang. The general has rejected all the charges against him and says it is farcical to accuse a military official appointed to his position by the state with terrorism against the state he is serving.

Daring to Hope

Christie-Miller that traces the arc of the Gezi protests from their naive beginnings to a life-changing experience, the politicization of a generation, to the slow strangling of hope

The Ballot Box Fetish and the Media/Military/Financial/Telekinesis Complex

In terms of the media, the difference between renting out space and extorting it is the difference between capitalism and crime. Except in the alternate Dark Disney universe where the magic ballot box conveys unlimited power and where disagreement is a crime and punishment is the cure.

Erdogan Tweets!

In spite of calling Twitter one of the greatest menaces to society, it seems that PM Erdogan and President Gul partake liberally of that evil themselves.

The Media Toll

According to the Turkish Journalists Association, since the Gezi protests began on May 27, 22 journalists have been fired, 14 put on forced leave, and 37 resigned.

Breaking Bread With A New National Community

In a sense, the protests are a dramatic reinscription of active community into a system that had taken all reciprocity out of relations between state and citizen and that defined people entirely as passive consumers — of party services, of products in malls, of prepackaged government messages about what is “best” for the nation.

Media and Elections: Turkey’s Democratic Occlusions

Given the clogged arteries of Turkey’s democratic system, how can the public voice revealed by Gezi ever find a road into the political body? Some might argue that the advantage of the Gezi constituency is that it is separate from such concerns, unpolluted by status quo politics.

The Government’s Dark Gardeners

And then there’s Yiğit Bulut, a former television personality who has just been made PM Erdogan’s new chief advisor. He stated that he believes the protests are a giant telekinetik attack by dark forces plotting against Erdogan. (Really, you can’t make this stuff up!) One can imagine it as a kind of technophobia — Bulut imagining millions of Twitter users tweeting insults directly into the prime minister’s head.