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The Gezi Park Protests in Turkey: A Qualitative Field Research

Civil protests began on May 27, 2013, in opposition to modernization works planned for Gezi Park near Taksim Square, Istanbul. The events that ensued between protesters and the government eventually led to protests across Turkey. Only time will tell how the social events that started with the Gezi Park protests will affect Turkey. This article attempts to address the dynamics of the Gezi Park protests and how it turned out to be so wide spread. This research is based on the data collected between June 12-16, 2013, with face-to-face, in-depth interviews with 62 activists in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Eskişehir.

The Gezi Park Protests in Turkey A Qualitative Field Research
Anti-government protesters holding Turkish flags with a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. AFP / Bülent Kılıç
 

I. Gezi Park Events: Qualitative Field Research

During protests and similar collective movements, the field of events is quite dynamic. Despite this complication, quantitative research was carried out by various organizations. Although their findings were varied, their research provided some insight into the ideological and political profiles of the Gezi Park protesters, as well as the dynamics of the events. The first of these surveys with an extensive sampling was carried out by KONDA Research and Consultancy. Between June 6-7, KONDA surveyed 4,411 protesters at Gezi Park.1 Another study on the same days held by GENAR, with participation from 498 protesters in the Gezi Park and surrounding area.2 MetroPOLL also surveyed 500 protesters within the park.3

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