Police, protest and democracy in Turkey : from Gazi to Gezi
Title: Police, protest and democracy in Turkey : from Gazi to Gezi
Author: ATAK, Kivanc
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2013
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
This thesis is about the police and the control of public protests in Turkey. Despite its centrality to state power, the police have never become a mainstream subject of political sociology. Particularly on a stage where governments perform state power in the face of societal dissent, the police are not bit players but lead actors who demystify curiously about the political foundations of a regime. My dissertation focuses on contemporary manifestations of protest policing in a geography where democratization incorporated previously discredited actors into the political centre while the strong hand of the state advanced in modern technologies of law enforcement. I specifically interrogate how the transformation of the police after 1980 and more precisely since the end of the 1990s reflects on the policing of public protests, and how this transformation resonates with the patterns of protest in the country. I am also empirically interested in the application of this process on contentious gatherings of different origin; namely on labour, student, and pro-Kurdish protests. Throughout the thesis, I argue that the empowerment of the police in Turkey translated into the interactive dynamics with protester groups. While the police's differential strategies resonate with divergent protest strategies, the political fabrication of "threats" is a means to justify police empowerment through increased para-militarization and legal instruments. In order to address my research question, I resort to methodological pluralism, and use multiple sources. The descriptively quantitative data on the protest events provide me with preliminary yet illustrative information, which I substantiate with the analysis of official and unofficial documents, semi-structured interviews, archival and visual material in qualitative fashion. I further benefit from secondary literature to yield a comparative knowledge on the subject.
LC Subject Heading: Turkey -- Politics and government -- 1980-; Democracy -- Turkey; Protest movements -- Turkey
Examining Board: Professor Donatella della Porta, European University Institute (Supervisor) Professor László Bruszt, European University Institute Professor John D. McCarthy, Penn State University Professor Ziya Onis, Koc University.; Defence date: 18 December 2013
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