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Year One: Reflections on Turkey’s Second Founding and the Politics of Division

Banu Bargu

Abstract

This essay analyzes Turkey’s contemporary moment in light of the significance of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and the countrywide state of emergency it precipitated. The essay specifically examines two different forces unleashed by July 15: on the one hand, an assertive raison d’état that seeks to re-establish unity among state apparatuses and to enhance state power from above, and, on the other, the popular energies of resistance that have countered the coup attempt from below. Scrutinizing the conjuncture that has enabled the AKP to assume leadership over both forces, I investigate how a process of restoration has been transformed into a process of remaking the polity. In light of the crisis of hegemony of political Islamism, I explore both the nationalist politics of division that is mobilized to sustain the movement toward Turkey’s “second” founding and the possibilities for opposition that might counter it.

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Keywords

Turkey, coup d’état, authoritarianism, constituent power, democracy