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What's happening in Turkey? Reflections on an uprising

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  • Wednesday 26 June 2013, 6-8 pmAyça Çubukçu
  • Speakers: Dr Derya Bayir; Dr Ayça Çubukçu; Dr Zeynep Gambetti; Dr Özlem Köksal
  • Chair: Professor Chetan Bhatt 
  • Suggested Twitter hashtag: #LSETurkey

While shaping the political history of Turkey and the world, the popular uprising in Turkey has also challenged the social sciences and humanities to give an account of itself.

How should we understand what is happening in Turkey?

 Is this as an anti-capitalist or anti-authoritarian rebellion, a struggle to Derya Bayirredefine politics and to practice direct  democracy? Why should we expect it to inspire people into action beyond Turkey? Should the popular insurgency in Turkey be understood as part of a global uprising that spans the Middle East and Africa, Europe and Latin America?

More specifically, what are some of the strategies that the uprising citizens of Turkey have employed to negotiate their differences and to construct their common ground? How do they self-mobilize, arrive at decisions, and represent themselves through art, music and other media? How are political minorities shaping the extraordinary developments in Turkey with their presence or absence in the uprising?

With this open forum we aim to address these questions, as we entertain the possibility that the uprising in Turkey may constitute something new that requires us to rethink our understandings of democracy, politics and law.


Dr Derya Bayir is author of Minorities and Nationalism in Turkish Law (Ashgate 2013).   Her interests include international human rights and minority rights, law and religion, the Turkish legal system, and Ottoman pluralism. She obtained her doctorate from the Law Department at Queen Mary, and her thesis was recently awarded a prize by the Contemporary Turkish Studies Chair at LSE. Derya has litigated many cases before the European Court of Human Rights, including the prominent case of Güveç v. Turkey.

Dr Ayça Çubukçu is lecturer in human rights in the Centre for the Study of Human Rights and Department of Sociology at LSE. She writes on humanitarianism, liberalism and violence, transnational politics of solidarity, international law and colonialism, human rights and radical theory.

Dr Zeynep Gambetti is associate professor of political theory at Bogazici University Department of Political Science and International Relations in Istanbul. She writes on the public sphere, the Kurdish movement in Turkey, neoliberal forms of violence, and alternatives to party politics.

Dr Özlem Köksal is a Lecturer in the Film and Televison Department in Bilgi University in Istanbul. She received her doctorate from University of London, Birkbeck College with a dissertation examining the relation between collective memory, history, and cinema in Turkey. She is the editor of World Film Locations: Istanbul (Intellect 2012).

Audio recording

An audio recording of the event is online here