“Democracy Happens Where the People Are”

Social Conflict, Deliberation and Youth Perspectives in Post-Gezi Turkey

in Southeastern Europe
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The turmoil in Turkey’s domestic politics has been exacerbating at an unforeseen pace since the Gezi protests in 2013. What made this protest period particularly remarkable was the multiplicity and diversity of youth discourses, that crossed the borders of a single issue-based opposition. The Gezi period and its aftermath in this sense can be understood as a tipping point in contemporary Turkish politics. Hence, in an attempt to understand the converging and diverging viewpoints of the young people who were the protagonists of the Gezi protests, this study utilizes Q-methodology and deciphers diverging and converging narratives of urban, secular, educated young people, who are said to have constituted the main body of protestors. Following the analysis of the primary data, the author observes three emerging discourses dominant among 21 young people (aged 20–30). The results hint at shared viewpoints on the Gezi protests as an “apolitical movement”, a “violent movement” and a “Jacobin movement”. The author argues that this divergence points at the exacerbating social polarization among youth groups in Turkey, which reached dangerous heights after the putsch on 15 July 2016.



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