18 September 2013
If last summer’s Gezi Park protests in Turkey proved anything, it was the power of social media, especially Twitter. While mainstream media outlets kept quiet after the mass protests broke out on May 31, Twitter users reported live from the demonstrations with texts, pictures, and videos. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose harsh rhetoric added fuel to the Gezi fire, called Twitter “a scourge.”
Part of the reason why the prime minister lashed out against the social media network was because his party could not respond to protesting Twitter users effectively. It looks like Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has learned from its shortcomings.
Barın Kayaoğlu is finishing his doctorate in history at the University of Virginia. He was recently a Smith Richardson Foundation fellow in International Security Studies at Yale University. You can follow him on Twitter (@barinkayaoglu) and Facebook (Barın Kayaoğlu).