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leituras turcas Junho 6, 2013

Posted by paulo jorge vieira in activismo, geografias.
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Um conjunto de textos publicados ao longos dos últimos anos nas revistas Environment and Planning foram agregados para um número especial virtual dedicado à Turquia.

(roubado aqui)

In recent days, protests have swept Istanbul, where plans to demolish the Gezi Park in Taksim Square [1] unleashed a torrent of anger at the administration of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the country’s prime minister since 2003. These protests in Istanbul, at the crossroads of East and West, now stand to make explicit the great contestations of contemporary politics, including secularism and religion,[2] the spatialisation of the urban,[3]and the neoliberal closing—literally here—of the public space. Taksim Square was the site of the last green space in Istanbul, and was to be bulldozed for the sake of a replica of a 19th-century Ottoman barracks meant to house, yes, a shopping mall. Could there be a better symbol of the confluence of authoritarianism and neoliberalism? Like the Occupy movement[4] and the early protests in Tahrir Square[5] two years ago, the protests are the result of no particular party or particular program. Erdoğan has already rejected comparisons to the Arab spring, but the similarities are easy to see, as protesters have used social media to move the protests beyond the initial sit-in at Taksim Square and a brutal police crackdown has only had both the effect of widening the protests to Izmir and Ankara and accenting the administration’s authoritarianism. Meanwhile the U.S. and other Western governments play their usual hand of calling for restraint by Turkey’s police forces, despite their own brutal crackdowns of the Occupy and student movements these last several years. Yet one should not quickly drop ready-made schemas over these heterogeneous protest movements underway in Turkey, which would have the effect of rendering invisible the actual events underway and which take place in the wake of the Turkey’s particular cultural and political history.

We have grouped the following five previously published papers – three from Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, one from Environment and Planning A, and another from Environment and Planning C – into a virtual theme issue providing background to these events. The papers will be freely available without subscription until the end of August 2013. The first paper, by Feyzan Erkip, now ten years old and based on field work in Ankara, is nevertheless quite relevant to the recent demonstrations, tracing the increased placement of shopping malls in traditional public spaces. The second, by Isa Sagbas et al., provides an overview of fiscal decentralization in Turkey and its affect on economic growth over the past several decades. These two papers set the ground for thinking through the changing economic and urban conditions of modern Turkey. The last three papers, by Güven Arif Sargin, Zeynep Kezer, and Anna J. Secor, range from the founding of modern Turkey to the relation of the state to political subjectification in the contemporary period, providing the means for thinking the range of the issues at stake in the current protests, which are at the least contesting national narratives and the spatial and temporal apparatuses limiting subjective political capacities.

The shopping mall as an emergent public space in Turkey

Feyzan Erkip

Environment and Planning A 2003 35: 1073 – 1093.

Fiscal decentralisation, the size of the public sector, and economic growth in Turkey

Isa Sagbas, Huseyin Sen, Muhsin Kar

Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 2005 23: 3 – 19

Displaced memories, or the architecture of forgetting and remembrance

Güven Arif Sargin

Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2005 22: 659 – 680.

An imaginable community: the material culture of nation-building in early republican Turkey

Zeynep Kezer

Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2009 27: 508 – 530.

Between longing and despair: state, space, and subjectivity in Turkey

Anna J Secor

Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2007 25: 33 – 52.

My thanks to my gracious co-editors for their quick responses and help with this theme issue, and to Pion Ltd., which publishes Society and Space, for quickly making these papers available for open access.


1. See Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk’s discussion of the import of the square in the New Yorker here.

2. See this 2007 Radical Philosophy article from one side of the question.

3. Here is a recent photo essay from the streets of Istanbul, along with important resources on human rights activities. Here is another photo essay showing the growth of the protests in Taksim Square.

4. See this Society and Space forum on the Occupy Movement.

5. See Marlies Glasius’s Society and Space commentary of “Doing Democracy in the Square.”

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