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Gezi, Ten Years After

Gezi, Ten Years After

Curated by Shermin Langhoff Co-Curator Erden Kosova Assistant Curator Nele Lindemann Dramaturgy Simon Meienreis Scenography Pia Grüter Curatorial Advisory Board Zehra Doğan, Can Dündar, Aslı Erdoğan, Peter Steudtner, Deniz Yücel
Curators of Spaces and Projects Serkan Altuniğne, Ezgi Asar, Zehra Doğan, Yeşim Duman, Şirin Fulya Erensoy, Anthony Hüseyin, Nil Mutluer, Alp Tekin Ocak, Murat Özbank, Necati Sönmez, Peter Steudtner
Dramaturgs and Consultants of Spaces and Projects Ivo Dreger, Yunus Ersoy, Oliver Frljić, Valerie Göhring, Johannes Kirsten, Holger Kuhla, Simon Meienreis, Çiğdem Özdemir, Clara Probst, Theresa Welge

Library of Resistance
Divergent Roads of History
in Gorki Kiosk 

Panel Discussions
in Studio DR

Curated by Nil Mutluer and Murat Özbank


In May and June 2013, two roads leading to Turkey's future diverged.


One of them was the road that embraced Turkey's ideational, religious, ethnic and gender diversity in all its different colors and promised to lead them to a pluralist, egalitarian, libertarian, and peaceful democracy premised on respect for human rights.


The other was the road that dragged Turkey to become one of the most 'ruthless' examples of populist authoritarian regimes, of which many examples were to mushroom in the world in the years that followed, from Trump's America to Putin's Russia, from Bolsonora's Brazil to Orban's Hungary, from Morawiecki's Poland to Meloni's Italy.


The first road to democracy was opened with the cry for freedom that arose from Gezi. What brutally suppressed that cry and dragged Turkey into the dark swamp of a mafia-like, corrupt and violent authoritarianism, was Erdogan’s populist tyranny.


Today, after 10 dark years in the swamp of populist authoritarianism, Turkey is once again at a historic juncture: The May 14, 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections will either reopen the road to democracy that was first opened 10 years ago in Gezi, or Erdoğan's tyranny will succeed in closing that road for good. Once again, Turkey will either turn in the direction of democracy or sink further into the dark swamp of populist authoritarianism.


So how come that Turkey, where ten years ago Gezi paved a clear pathway to a pluralistic democracy, finds itself ten years later struggling to emerge from the dark swamp of populist authoritarianism? What social ruptures, conflicts, and political calamities have Turkey’s peoples gone through in those ten years to reach a historic crossroads that once again diverges between darkness and light? In the May 14, 2023 elections, which of these diverging roads will Turkey take?  And what lessons can human rights defenders across the world who struggle for democracy and resist populist authoritarianism learn from Turkey's decades-long teetering between tyranny and democracy?


Based on what happened in Gezi and its aftermath in Turkey, "Library of Resistance," and "Diverging Roads of History" exhibitions, the installation ‘Sounds of Gezi’ and "living book," and panel discussion events, all to be organized within the framework of GEZI: 10 YEARS AFTER, will invite participants to read, listen, talk, discuss and think about the future of democracy and authoritarianism in Turkey and the world.


‘Library of Resistance’ is a collection of over 200 printed works (books, articles, albums, etc.) that should be required reading for those who want to understand Gezi and Turkey's authoritarian decade after Gezi. (In Gorki-Kiosk)


‘Divergent Roads of History’ is a visual and thematic chronology that will take visitors to a circular journey in time starting  and ending at the Gezi Library, in other words, at the juncture where the divergent roads of history meet — and diverge again. (In Gorki-Kiosk)


‘Sounds of Resistance’ is an installation composed by New York based electronic musician and composer Erdem Helvacıoğlu of the recorded sounds at Gezi which will accompany visitors in their circular journey in the “divergent roads of history.”  (In Gorki-Kiosk between 18:30 - 19:30. There will also be a special performance of the sound installation in Studia R, in a darkened environment, followed by a QA with the composer on June 7, 2023 at 18:00.)


‘Living Books’ are people who are as extraordinary as any ordinary person who experienced Gezi. They are people who are as worthy as anyone to have their 'experiences become a book.’ Incidentally, they are also people who in the 'Divergent Roads of History' exhibition will join the visitors to talk about their  experiences during and after Gezi. (In Gorki-Kiosk, Saturdays and Sundays between 14:30 - 16:30, with Filiz Tütüncü Çağlar, Ülker Sözen and Ceren Dizdar.)


‘Panel Discussions:’ are discursive events where visitors can talk with invited guests and each other about the manifestations of authoritarianism and the future of democracy in Turkey and the world. They are all framed as moderated TV programs with audience and will include short, thematic videos produced by Murathan Varol and Banu Acun. In each panel, in addition to invited speakers, unjustly imprisoned Gezi activists, human rights defenders or opposition politicians will speak to the audience in their own words through the letters they penned for this particular event. A detailed, thematic list of the individual panels can be found in the Panel Program table. (In Studio-R)

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