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June 25, 2014

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Wiklundsjanne.wordpress.com

I somewhat frowned at the sentence "a vibrant, apparently free society that descended into a republic of dirty tricks and lost itself". Authoritarian dirty tricks is not completely foreign to Turkey, is it?

A few years ago I put together "popular history" for some of the most important contries in the world, see (in Swedish) http://www.folkrorelser.org/land/landindex.html. Usually it was easy to find sources. But there were two major countries for whitch it seemed impossible: Thailand and Turkey. All there was, was authoritarian topdown history, with The State as the sole actor.

All other countries, Egypt, France, Kongo, Japan, Brazil, etc etc, had histories of social movements stretching hundreds of years back - but not Turkey and Thailand. At least nothing noted in the official history books.

And this is a disturbing sign of a deeply ingrained authoritarian political culture, I think.

Wiklundsjanne.wordpress.com

PS. I checked this with Turkish social movement scholar Kumru Toktamis, who agreed: it's a disturbing sign that something is wrong and has been for a long time.

Also the wellknown prohibition of using certain languages, which was lifted very recently. Also illiberal laws concerning "denigration of turkishness" and other mumbo-jumbo.

I don't deny by any means that democracy is under constant threat everywhere by people who don't wish competition in politics and decision-making. But traditions may be more or less authoritarian. And I suspect that authoritarian traditions in Turkey are fairly strong.

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