Historical analysis of state intervention into spaces of social opposition: the case of Ankara

Suher, Banu Melis
Urban space is the ultimate source for examining the contradiction between political authority and social opposition. As an efficient ground for manipulating social processes, urban space is subjected to a number of interventions of political power directly or indirectly. Hence, the authority leads the process of depoliticization on space via two channels. Firstly, it transforms the physical configuration of the place by public policy instruments. Thus, the reflection of hegemony on spatial ground becomes possible. The other way to initiate spatial depoliticization is to keep the social and political acts away from urban space through use of violence and coercion like legal regulations or law enforcement agents. In the flow of these processes, social reaction comes into existence in the form of social movements at points of dissatisfaction of the society. Thus, the political contradiction between authority and opposing part of the society turns the urban space into a mere arena of conflict. In this context, this arena of conflict is expressed with a new term throughout the study that is, “political space”. It signifies the political significance of a place. It is the place of political acts and where opposition is politicized. In other words, it is the ground where authority and opposition clashes. Constructing the problem definition upon space‟s detachment from its political context, politicization and depoliticization processes will be investigated upon the case study of Ankara and a historcal analysis of the conflict between political authority and social opposition upon the primary public spaces of the city.