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<nettime> After the Coup Attempt, the Everyday Resumes
Alessandro Ludovico on Sun, 17 Jul 2016 18:50:34 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> After the Coup Attempt, the Everyday Resumes

from Jussi Parikka's blog, a clear vision about the last events in
Istanbul, beyond the overwhelming news feeds. 


After the Coup Attempt, the Everyday Resumes
July 17, 2016, jussi parikka

During Sunday breakfast which for every Turk is the main five hours of
the week, my partner suddenly turned towards me: “You know, nobody is
safe, Turkey is not safe for anyone anymore. People like us are not
safe.”  The sense of not belonging to your own country had slowly
infiltrated several people’s mood, and the fear that many ethnic and
sexual minorities had felt for ages was becoming part of the more
general middle-class sentiment too.

It was a sort of calm, yet melancholically perfect summary of some of
the moods in Turkey as confused people witnessed the events unfold in
the news, on social media, through various streams and live feeds,
personal stories and telephone calls to friends and relatives.

The footage has varied from official talking heads of politicians
promising to “exterminate anyone against us” (as the Turkish Prime
Minister vowed in his live address) to shaky clips of different events
across the cities, of people chasing other people without really being
able to tell why and who, of tanks and military personnel, hands up and
consequently beaten and later the numerous images of celebrations of a
country that is, again, covered in the red-white Turkish flag. The
attempted coup day is promised to become a national holiday, a day of
democracy. And yet, many are more conflicted about the celebrations. Not
because they supported the coup – far from it, as all the opposition
parties too voiced their disapproval – but because fearing that the
country will be far from safe that is the business-as-usual state of
things when it comes to the normalised atmosphere of violence that is at
times physical, at times mental.

The events over the past days and especially the coup night of Friday
turning to Saturday were a properly frightening spectacle. Especially in
Ankara and Istanbul, people were for the first time set in the midst of
what was nothing short of a war scene.

Besides a visual description of events, many will remember it by how it
sounded. The soundscape of a coup was the low flying F-16, at times even
breaking windows of flats. It included the helicopter buzz, the sirens
and then the calls from the massive network of mosques not only for
prayer (outside the usual Muslim prayer times) but to go the streets to
stop the coup. President Erdogan’s message reached quickly the loyal
supporters who flooded the streets. Suddenly rescuing democracy (even
using corporate social media platforms) was ok.

The next day, everything was calmer. While the mosques’ call continued
throughout the day, you could again hear birds singing and life seemed
almost idyllic with the usual sort of background you would expect to
hear on a Saturday morning: Turkish families’ breakfast noises, tea
glasses clinking, casual street corner chats. A lot had however changed.
Much of the events that followed can be seen as a direct consequence of
the spectacle that took lots of lives that today are visible in the
pictures of coffins and funerals. Judges firedJudges fired, promises of
revenge, even mentioning the option of a death penalty while closing
alternative media outlets like Medyascope, Gazeteport, Karşı Gazete,
Aktif Haber, etc.

After the spectacle, the slow,  quiet violence of the everyday resumed.
During my morning trip to buy breakfast cheese I also happened to
witness the all too usual scene of a Turkish husband shouting violently
to his wife, with physical threats. Men kill more women than many of the
legitimate institutions of violence have done the past years, and this
is not a consequence of the current government or the AK Party but a
feature that runs across the social life and has done so for a long

The post-coup attempt day became filled with other sorts of anecdotal
stories that are the more mundane side to the story than warplanes above
the Istanbul sky. And many fear this is the increasingly normalised side
of life in Turkey: religious people attacking partygoers who were
drinking alcohol, intolerance towards ethnic minorities and a general
tightening of the implicit rules of what is morally acceptable behaviour
or clothing.

After the 6000 arrests that range far beyond the military personnel
directly involved, more will be on the way. The cleansing of
universities and other institutions has already been happening for a
while, but now there is a further perceived mandate to remove unwanted
opponents of the government, and to replace them with loyalists. Luckily
the violent coup is over and the everyday continues, but for many it has
not been safe so far anyway.

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