The Gezi Park Movement Essay

2551 Words 11 Pages
In late May 2013, what started as a peaceful civil protest in opposition to demolition of the Gezi Park, which is one of the last green spaces in Istanbul, to build a shopping centre, has evolved into a broader protest when police violently attacked the protestors. The excessive use of pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets, which caused serious injuries, encouraged more demonstrators into the Gezi Park. After the harsh crackdown by the riot police, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended the police action and denounced protesters as "terrorists" and “marginal”. In a short time, a peaceful environmental protest turned into a nation-wide social movement against the Islamist-rooted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his …show more content…
There are also few surveys conducted by the research institutions, in which they explore the profiles of the protestors by age range, income, education level and their political views (KONDA 2013; MetroPoll 2013; GENAR 2013). These surveys often focused on the ideological and political motivations of the protestors.
Even though a lot has been said about the Gezi protest, social class analysis of those protesting has often been overlooked. The common assumption in literature is that the Gezi Park protestors consist of well-educated, middle-class youths; therefore, the movement considered as a middle class and upper-middle class movement. However, none of the studies provide a complete analysis of the class dimension of the Gezi protests. This study focuses solely on the class analysis of the Gezi Park protests and tries to answer the following questions: Was Gezi movement simply a middle-class/upper-middle class movement, like most of the scholars argue? What was the role of the subordinated classes in Gezi protests? And finally, what role did social class play in the Gezi Park movement?


During and after the protests various organizations conducted quantitative research to explore the ideological and political profiles of the Gezi Park protestors. The first study is carried out by Bilgic and Kafkasli (2013). In this report, they argue that Gezi protest, apart from a conventional social movement, is

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