March 11, 2019
I think, almost every political scientist agrees that, differences are seen as a threat to state authority. Even in Western democracies, different ethnic or religious groups ( minorities) are not treated equally. For instance, in Austria, a considerable degree of Islamophobia is evident.
On the other hand, in terms of Turkish context, the establishment of the Turkish Republic has from the very beginning seen differences as a sort of threat and the state officials took important measures in fighting these differences. With the aim to homogenize society and in order to build a national identity, religious visibilities like headscarf or Kurdish identity -related issues like the mother tongue issue have been ignored and even denied. Based on this, it can be said that, despite the fact that Turkey has gone a long way in strengthening her democracy, the understanding of treating different elements in language, religion or ethnicity as dangerous factors for the state are still valid in today’s Turkey.
The latest developments occured in the protests of March 8 International Women Day, and the media representation of these protests I think can be read as a sign revealing the political culture of Turkey that is monist and exclusionist. During the feminists’ march of Women Day in Taksim, the protesting women whistled and during these whistles,the call to prayer was read; these whistles were seen as a reaction against the call to prayer (Ezan) and many newspapers and columnists stigmatized the protesters there as an enemy against religion. On the contrary, some others argued that these whistles were reaction against police force exercised strictly.
To make a long story short, the Women Day protests in Taksim once again showed how divided the society is. There is an urgent need in fighting divisions inherent in society. The political actors and the media actors along with the opinion leaders should adopt a unifying discourse to tackle the divisions in the society.Author : Begum Burak