Democracy in 140 characters
s Turkey leaves behind a turbulent year of escalating tensions and multiple elections, Turkish Review addresses the new geography of the country’s democracy, in particular the growing role of social media as platform for civil society initiatives and an alternative news source.
This issue includes two pieces from contributors to recent sessions of Talking TR -- a monthly series of talks and discussions from leading analysts and academics on key issues for Turkey and the region, filmed in front of a live audience. The first comes from Akın Ünver of Kadir Has University, who discusses Turkish democracy, how it should be conceptualized and how people are connected to politics through democracy. Next comes a contribution from Erkan Saka of İstanbul Bilgi University, who addresses the intertwined issues of digital reputation and online information verification in social media.
For Two Views, staff writer Yonca Poyraz Doğan interviews Can Pürüzsüz, an editor at alternative online news platform 140journos, and Sevcan Çamlıdağ, a volunteer for Oy ve Ötesi (Vote and Beyond), a civil society initiative that has mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to monitor elections across Turkey. Pürüzsüz and Çamlıdağ share their thoughts on the democratizing influence of social media and its role as a “fifth estate”. Meanwhile, the muzzling of both conventional and social media in Turkey forms the focus of staff writer İsa Afacan’s Think Tank Tracker.
Other key topics on Turkey’s agenda also receive attention this issue. Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology talks about the Turkish economy for Last Word (a longer version of the interview is available online at www.turkishreview.org), while the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis is addressed in an opinion piece from Metin Çorabatır of the Research Centre on Asylum and Migration (İGAM). This issue also includes a piece on the 50th anniversary of the iconic Anadol, Turkey’s first passenger vehicle to go into mass production, from Eric Bryan. And finally, the photo pullout offers a summary of 2015 in pictures, presented to readers without comment.
Turkish Review wishes its readers all the best for 2016, in the hope that the year to come will be a less troubled one.