The Kurds, the Russians, and democracy in Turkey
In Turkey, perhaps more than most other places, the significance of events is hard to grasp. One reason for this is the sheer number of major, often extreme, politically inspired actions: the murder of the Appeals Court judges in 2004; the huge Republic protests in support of state secularism in 2007; the massive Gezi Park protests against urban development in 2013; the shocking suicide bombings in Suruc and Ankara in 2015; the attempted military coup in 2016; the referendum for a new constitution in 2018, and so on. More importantly, multiple antagonistic political visions offer radically different perspectives on Turkish history and such events. Secularist (Kemalist), ‘Muslim’, liberal, Turkish-nationalist and pro-Kurdish citizens, receiving their news from their favoured sources, differ greatly in the meaning they attribute to historical incidents and thus in what they remember and forget. One feature of these polarised political emotions is the way in which each new appalling or auspicious act is obsessed over or ignored according to people’s pre-existing schemas of thought, matrices of perception and sentiment, and sedimentations of experience.
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