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Culture, Social Contestation and Turkey’s Failed Coup: The Rivalry of Social Imaginaries

This article explores the processes involved in the emergence of rival social imaginaries, as they develop in a cultural ecosystem, relating it to Turkey’s failed coup. To accomplish that, it unravels how people construct their own nature by studying the social construction of reality, which is comprehensively partial to ‘values.’ What we see and how it is understood leads to the emergence of diverging ideological trajectories and, eventually, to social contestation as a result of competing claims. In Turkey, this ongoing contestation is reflected in the failed coup d’état. In other words, the failed coup d’état is explored as a clash of social imaginaries, in which the Gülenist social imaginary was vanquished by the AK Party’s social imaginary.

Culture Social Contestation and Turkey s Failed Coup The Rivalry
The Turkish public, attempts to stop the tanks of the putschists, in Kizilay Square Ankara, on the night of July 15. AA PHOTO / SİNAN YİTER
 

Introduction

On July 15, 2016, Turkey was abruptly thrown into gory disarray, initiated by a treacherous faction within the Turkish military, whose members unwisely, but certainly not thoughtlessly, attempted a bloodthirsty coup d’état. Essentially, the apparent poor planning, or theatrics, of the coup-plotters is an entirely disingenuous allegation. In fact, the usurping conspirators, with meticulous planning, orchestrated “a number of coordinated attacks in both Ankara and İstanbul in an illegitimate attempt to seize key government institutions, including the Presidential Compound and the National Intelligence Agency (MİT).”1 

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