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Reflecting on The Oppositional Discourses Against the AKP’s Neoliberalism and Searching for a New Vision for Feminist Counter Politics

Betul Yarar
p. 23-67

Résumé

Focusing on discourses that are critical of the AKP’s neoliberal regime, in power for the past fifteen years in “Turkey”, this paper aims to reflect on the conceptual settings and vocabulary that have been used by, not only feminist intellectuals/activists, but also other political groups who have been critical of the AKP’s politics. Since feminist counter discourses are considered an interactive part of the public opinion-building process, instead of focusing only on the arguments of feminist intellectuals and activists, critical discourses of different oppositional groups, including feminist ones, are analysed in relational and historical terms. In this paper, the AKP’s long lasting hegemony will be analysed in two different phases. In each phase, there are important changes in the discursive framework of oppositional groups, as the AKP’s governmentality or governmental rationality (strategy to construct social consensus) shifts from conservative-neoliberal to a more authoritarian neoliberal mode. The paper argues that despite their success in scrutinising the Kemalist nationalism and modernisation project, any of those counter-critical positions, including feminist opposition, could be effective against the AKP’s hegemonic rule based on neoliberalism. This argument resonates with Fraser’s* historical analysis of second-wave feminism’s failure against neoliberalism in the West, in respect to the transformation to a post-Fordist, transnational, and neoliberal capitalism. Despite being critical of Fraser’s approach, I find the following question very relevant: has there been a subterranean elective affinity between second-wave feminism conjointly with its New Left counterpart, and neoliberalism? This is a hot topic of discussion for feminists in the AKP’s second period. The paper finally analyses different theoretical-political positions and discursive limits of this debate, which seems very productive for any oppositional group to develop a more comprehensive and sophisticated theoretical analysis of noeliberalism. Providing an alternative theoretical framework that bypasses the failures of the above-mentioned positions is another issue going beyond the limits of this paper.

* Fraser, Nancy; Henry A. and Louise Loeb, (2007) “Feminist Politics in the Age of Recognition: A Two-Dimensional Approach to Gender Justice”, Studies in Social Justice, Volume 1, Number 1, Winter 2007; Fraser, Nancy (2009), “Feminism, Capitalism and the Cunning of History”,
New Left Review, Mart-April, p. 97-117; Fraser, Nancy (2013), Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis, London and New York: Verso.

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Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 2 Grosfoguel, Ramón (2011), “Decolonizing Post-Colonial Studies and Paradigms of Political-Economy: T (...)

1This paper focuses on discourses that are critical of the AKP’s neoliberal regime, in power for the last fifteen years in “Turkey”. Considered as a “locus of enunciation”2, Turkey provides a geopolitical and body-political location for diverse subject positions to speak. In line with this, the paper aims to reflect on the conceptual settings and vocabulary that have been used by not only feminist intellectuals/activists but also other political groups critical of the AKP’s politics. Since I consider feminist views and critiques as part of the Turkish public locus of political enunciation, which is diverse and interactive in terms of the discursive positions that it consists of, instead of focusing only on the arguments of feminist intellectuals and activists, I analyse critical discourses of different oppositional groups including feminist ones in relational and historical terms. In short, I consider feminist counter-discourses as an interactive part of the public-opinion building process, which includes many different oppositional groups and hegemonic struggles among themselves and with dominant groups. I believe that analysing critical discourses in relational terms is important and necessary in order to develop better counter strategies that are opposed to the long-lasting hegemony of the AKP’s neoliberalism, which has presently come to a point of crisis. After carrying out a critical scrutiny of these counter-discourses against the AKP’s politics, the paper ends with a brief proposal for theoretical and political principles which might be useful for a better understanding of the hegemonic power of the AKP’s politics and for developing a counter-critical feminist point of view.

2As argued in this paper, the AKP’s long lasting hegemony has passed through two different phases. In the first one, its politics can be defined by their so-called “conservative-democracy” project, which relied on the coalition that formed between the newly emerged conservative Islamic intellectuals and the liberals. In this period, critical oppositional discourses were framed mainly by the New Left’s views, which are in resonance with the New Social Movement Paradigm. This critical New Left block included other activist groups who were involved in identity politics of the period, such as feminists and to an extent Kurds and Alevi groups. Other than these, there were the nationalist and anti-imperialist social democrats and classical Marxists. However in the second phase, the AKP shifted its political position towards a more authoritarian and conservative realm, defined by its new slogan “one flag, one nation”. In this second period of the AKP’s rule, arguments of the later groups began to be more effective and new concepts like neo-Kemalism and neo-fascism emerged for criticising this new political position of the AKP. Feminist arguments have always been one axis of this discursive field of enunciation. And I argue that despite their success in scrutinising Kemalist nationalism and the modernisation project, any of those, including feminist opposition, could be effective against the AKP’s hegemonic rule based on neoliberalism for various reasons.

  • 3 Fraser, Nancy (2009), “Feminism, Capitalism and the Cunning of History”; Fraser, Nancy (2013), Fort (...)

3This underlying argument of my thesis seems to parallel Fraser’s historical analysis of the interaction between feminism and neoliberalism in the West, or of the trajectory of second-wave feminism (together with other critical discourses in my case), in relation to the recent history of capitalist transformation from a Fordist, national and state-organised to a post-Fordist, transnational and neoliberal capitalism. These two forms of capitalism are considered to have been the hegemonic social formations of the OECD Welfare states and the ex-colonial developmental states of the post-war period. In short, the motivation behind this paper is very similar to Fraser’s3, who concerns helself about whether there had been a perverse, subterranean elective affinity between second-wave feminism, together with its New Left counterpart, and neoliberalism.

4However, contrary to Fraser’s approach, my analysis is not based upon any hope of reviving a type of socialist-feminist theorising, nor as a tribute to the glory days of second-wave feminists who were joined by their New Left and anti-imperialist counterparts in the 1960s and 70s, in the years of explosive radicalism. Furthermore this paper does not include any call for a return to the socialist-feminist sensitivities of the 1960s and 70s in Europe, or of the 1980s in Turkey. Contrarily to Fraser’s approach, this paper avoids making a dangerous attempt at bypassing the period of the 1990s and 2000s, which has been criticised for being a time when feminism lost its political track and turned into “project feminism”, “feminism of institutionalised gender mainstreaming policy”, “feminism that was badly influenced by post-marksist and poststructuralist theories” or “culturalist feminism only based upon identity politics”. Instead, while recognising the important contributions of the previous periods in the history of women’s struggle in Turkey, it searches for new positions and new theoretical backups that might lead us to go beyond essentialist, reductionist and Westphalianist-colonialist epistemological positions that the previously dominant critical discourses have often been damaged by. It is a search for a bridge that allows us to bring together poststructuralist as well as neo-materialist theoretical tools and accounts that might lead us to find a way towards post-identity politics. Despite aiming to go beyond identity politics, my theoretical standpoint is not based upon any regrets regarding the period of rising political identities. However now, we are passing through a moment of returning back to a period of social enclosure, where essentialist and conservative identities have been on the rise, again as a kind of defence mechanism against the so-called crisis of neoliberalism. In such a period of crisis, in which conservative forces and powers are pulling social dynamics back into narcissistic moments of ethnic and religious nationalisms, there is a strong need to see the limits of identity politics. A search for a path to go beyond identity politics withouth excluding politically constituted identities, I believe, might open up new opportunities to develop more materialistic and down to earth analyses and counter strategies against hegemonic power groups at global level(s) of analysis.

1. The First Period of the AKP’s Rule

  • 4 Fraser, Nancy (2009), “Feminism, Capitalism and the Cunning of History”; Harvey, David (1989), Cond (...)

5We all know that the world has been undergoing a great transformation over the last few decades4. In this period the belief in socialism – or at least the monolithic “top-down” state intervention-style socialism – has become redundant. Welfare-oriented models, which had previously dominated the political landscape of Europe, have also been increasingly dismantled. For Fraser, the political culture of the state-organised capitalist formations envisioned the ideal-typical citizen as being ethnic-majority male workers, who were the main breadwinners and family men. The economy was based around the ideal of the nuclear family, in which a traditional gendered division of labour was effective. This system considered a man’s wage as the “family wage” and was turning the men’s power over to them within the family as a principle. Under the leadership of New Right power groups, this model was replaced with political projects based on neoliberalism on a global scale. For Fraser, this also means a big shift from state-organised androcentric capitalism, to a capitalist formation based on flexible labour (including female employment) and neoliberal economy.

  • 5 Cox, Laurence and Alf Gunvald Nilsen (2016), Reading Neoliberalism As a Social Movement from Above (...)
  • 6 Hall, Stuart (2011), “The Neoliberal Revolution”, Cultural Studies,
  • 7 Brown, Wendy (2003), ‘Neoliberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy’, Ch. 3 of her Edgework – Crit (...)
  • 8 Tünay, M. (1993). “The Turkish New Right’s Attempt at Hegemony”,in The Political and Socioeconomic (...)
  • 9 See particularly Yarar, 2009, op.cit

6Neoliberalism, as a “social movement from above”5, or as a process of hegemonic struggle6 and a mode of governmental rationality7 has begun to be effective in the 1980s in Turkey8. In the 1980s it emerged together with new social movements (including Kurdish, Islamist, Feminist, etc.) as a reaction to the crisis of the state-organised mixed economy and state-centred modernisation process, which have their roots in Turkish Kemalist ideology9. After going through a period of recession in the 1990s, it was revived under the leadership of the AKP, a newly established neo-conservative party in Turkey, with its victory in the 2002 national election. The AKP’s neoliberal political project was based on a political consensus among diverse socio-political groups like right and left wing liberals, Kurdish politicians and traditional conservatives – except Kemalist-modernist nationalists and ultra-nationalists. In this sense it can be seen as a new synthesis between liberal and traditional conservative principles in the party politics of the AKP. It emerged as an opposition against the old nation state formation based on Kemalist ideology, and by following recently expanded identity politics, since it backed political dynamics created by the Islamic movement that emerged in Turkey in the 1980s.

  • 10 İnsel, Ahmet (2003), “The AKP and Normalizing Democracy in Turkey”, South Atlantic
  • 11 Kahraman, Hasan Bület, (2007), AKP ve Türk Sağı, Agora Kitaplığı Yayınları, İstanbul.
  • 12 Yıldırım, Kansu (2015), “AKP’s future: The fragmented Nom-du-père and the violence of power”, Heinr (...)

7Apart from its critique of the old state centred formation, what distinguishes the AKP’s neoliberal regime is its success in combining neoliberalism and Islam, from which a new type of conservatism, flavoured with neoliberalism, came into being. Appealing to traditional-popular Islamic identity and Islamist movements, the AKP used different strategies than its conservative predecessors. As İnsel states, previous conservative parties like the Welfare Party (“Refah Partisi” in Turkish) and the Virtue Party (“Fazilet Partisi” in Turkish) were against both Turkey’s European Union membership and the market economy, in favour of a more statist approach10. The AKP left their predecessors’ intense anti-secularist, anti-market and state founded rhetoric behind. Instead, it has taken civil society as the basis of its hegemonic attempt; it has emphasised a pragmatic service-based politics, economic growth, good governance and a better provision of social services at home; it also introduced reform packages for adopting the EU acquits in its first years11. For instance, during the AKP’s first rule many women’s NGO’s were established with its support. However the question remains of whether they can be considered as NGOs, because of their pro-AKP positions. It is also true that global funding organisations like the EU or BM pursue some programmes for the governments to support the expansion of civil organisations. Furthermore, at the beginning of its rule, the AKP’s leaders emphasised the need for policies to remedy gender inequality in Turkish society. The AKP was very well aware of not only women’s rights issues, but also ethnic issues mainly related to Turkey’s Kurdish population. So the AKP regime was very pragmatic in making use of concepts and views that had already been developed by New Left, feminist and Kurdish libertarian movement’s agendas. In the book called “the Silent Revolution” published with a preface by President, Erdoğan, he states: “With this revolution, we replace the statist approach where the state views its own citizens as a threat with an approach that considers difference as richness, is committed to the citizen and to serving the citizen.”12.

AKP as a hybrid regime” Versus “AKP as a Radical Islamist and/or Imperialist Project”

  • 13 Diamon, Larry (2002). “Thinking About Hybrid Regimes”, Journal of Democracy, 13 (2), pp. 21 – 35; H (...)
  • 14 Akkoyunlu, Feyzi Karabekir, (2014), The Rise and Fall of the Hybrid Regime: Guardianship And Democr (...)

8Throughout the above-mentioned process of global transformation, there is no alternative to what has always been the main motto of the New Right politicians, described as “a dynamic market economy”. In a similar manner, some liberal authors began to analyse the global expansion of liberal democracies like electoral democracy, with regular, competitive, multiparty elections in the period from the 1970s onwards13. In this so called period of third wave democratisation process, considering the AKP’s regime as a type of hybrid regime has been one approach that became quite common among liberal academic circles in Turkey14. During its first period, this liberal view of the AKP had also been effective among New Left and Kurdish intellectuals. The AKP’s attempts had increased the hopes for an EU membership, thus enlarging human rights and conducting a peace process within these circles as well, despite some reservations and critiques. It also created important surroundings, which enabled feminist and Islamic movements to interact, and led to the emergence of new political positions like “Islamic” feminist.

9However, on the other side of the theoretical pool, there was another strong and chronic tendency among nationalist modernist political groups and intellectuals to associate the AKP’s regime with Islamist fundamentalism. Based on this later view of the AKP, some liberal aspects of its politics have been considered as “takkiye” (hypocrisy). This line of argument was also supported by some Marxist intellectuals who believed that the AKP’s project was a complo of Imperialist Powers such as NATO, USA, and other European states.

10The first three approaches in particular seem very much in tune with orientalist-colonialist perception of history as a linear and developmentalist/progressive process. On the basis of this linear conception of developmental process, the former group considered AKP’s politics, which were authoritarian in many respects, as immature or hybrid. Indeed, for the liberals, democracy is the main indicator of linear historical progress and Turkey is still in need of progress. In other words, the AKP’s hybrid democracy is not as advanced as democracies in European Countries where the shift towards democratic regimes took place earlier on. However for the nationalists (be they Marxists or social democrats) the main problem with the AKP’s politics is the fact that it is based on an Islamist rather than a secularist view. It is for this reason that they consider the AKP’s politics as anachronistic. However these two critiques ignore the fact that the AKP is a modern project (like its many other conservative equivalences in Europe), and that it has many partnerships and interactions with the present neoliberal governments in the so-called developed parts of the globe. Furthermore, borrowing from Classical Marxists’ view of history as linear capitalist development, Marxists were not able to see the simultaneous differences and similarities among different types of neoliberal regimes, which for them mainly defined themselves by their economic structure.

  • 15 Grosfoguel, Ramón (1996) “The Epistemic Decolonial Turn”, Ibid.
  • 16 Grosfoguel, Ramón (2011), “Decolonizing Post-Colonial Studies and Paradigms of Political-Economy: T (...)
  • 17 Crenshaw, Kimberle, (1991) “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence (...)
  • 18 Grosfoguel, Ramón (2011), op.cit

11By considering advanced democracies or developed countries as alternatives to Turkish politics, liberals and social democrats in particular both limit their views of necessary changes in juridico-political boundaries in the Turkish state. These approaches are limited by the idea of gaining power over the juridical-political boundaries of a state by achieving control over a single nation-state15 or by reregulating the state system by rebuilding its check and balance dynamics. As Grosfoguel16 states, the heterogeneous and multiple global structures put in place over a period of 450 years cannot be evaporated by such changes in only one nation state or state law due to the complex matrix of power relations which implies “intersectionality”17 or “multiple and heterogeneous global hierarchies (‘heterarchies’) of sexual, political, epistemic, economic, spiritual, linguistic and racial forms of domination and exploitation”18.

Reflecting on the New Left Intellectuals and Feminists: The Critique of NSM theory

  • 19 Jessop, Bob (2006), “The third way: neo-liberalism with a human face?”, New Labour und die Modernis (...)

12Let me reflect specifically on the views of the New Left intellectuals and feminists. These groups developed their own views in resonance with the above-mentioned critical discourses against the AKP. But for various reasons, these groups could similarly not develop a deeper understanding and critical analysis of the AKP’s neoliberalism politics, particularly in the period during which the AKP was going through a relatively more democratic phase. This was when there was a general tendency towards what Jessop calls neoliberalism with a humane face in Europe19.

13The problems with feminist critiques of this period can be partly explained by Fraser’s method of epochal analysis of second-wave feminism, which concerns its broader contours and overall meaning, and aims to shed light on the challenges we face today – in a time of massive economic crisis, social uncertainty and political realignment (Fraser, 2009). As she states, it seems that we need to worry that the ideals pioneered by feminists are now serving quite different ends, and that our critique of sexism is now providing justification for new forms of inequality and exploitation. In other words she questions if feminism’s crucial critiques of androcentrism, economism, etatism and Westphalianism were appropriated by neoliberalism for its own ends and have lost their counter-critical character on the way, in a similar vein to capitalist transformation from its state-organised to its neoliberal form.

  • 20 Yarar, Betül (2014). Yeni Toplumsal Hareketler, Medya ve Yeni İletişim Teknolojileri. TUBİTAK SOBAG (...)

14In order to expand on the theoretical limits of second wave feminist and New Left positions, my strategy would be to analyse the New Social Movements paradigm as the epistemological backup of second wave feminist positions, as well as New Left arguments in Turkey and the World. In this respect, it seems important to point out the problems with the New Social Movements’ (NSM) theory, which proposes chiefly parallel arguments to the general perspective, or zeitgeist, of Turkish second wave feminist activists until the 2000s20.

  • 21 Pichardo, N. A. (1997) “New Social Movements: A Critical Review”, Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. (...)
  • 22 See Yarar, 2014.

15The NSM paradigm, which has emerged as the critique of social democratic, socialist and Marxist views, all favouring state-centred projects, considered the emergence of the new social movements, including feminism, as the sign of resolution of liberal democratic welfare social consensus and as part of the expansion of new types of political collective actions focusing on quality of life and identity-related issues21. As we can see from this interpretation too, neither the NSM theory nor feminism - as its practical equivalences in the world of women’s activism - was born for attacking New Right power groups and their neoliberal projects. In fact they were born as a response to the crisis of social democratic/Welfare state and as a critique of Kemalist ideology and classical Marxist/Socialist theories of the time. In this respect, neither second wave feminisms (despite being very heterogeneous) nor other new social movements were able to see the generic context that they shared with the rise of the New Right and neoliberalism. In Turkey too, this has been a period of critical scrutiny, from a feminist perspective, of the modernisation process in the country’s history. For instance it was Tekeli who invented the term ‘the state feminism’ for those who struggled for women’s right issues in the early stage of the Republican era. All of these works have changed our own perception about the history of Turkey. However, the New Right and neoliberalism (i.e. Özalist poject in Turkey22) emerged in the same period, when state-organised versions of capitalist modernisation were under attack, and appropriated all of these critiques raised by new social movements (both in conservative and libertarian forms).

  • 23 Downing, John (2008). “Social Movement Theories and Alternative Media: An Evaluation and Critique”, (...)
  • 24 Pichardo, N. A. Op.cit
  • 25 Göle, Nilüfer (1991- 2018), Modern Mahrem: Medeniyet ve Örtünme, İstambul Meetis Press; Göle, Nilüf (...)
  • 26 For the critique of this literature see Downing and Pichardo.

16Despite their important contribution, while Marxists mainly focused on one type of social movement that is based on class, for the authors of the NSM School, only certain social movements held a place at the centre of their analysis – such as environmentalism, feminism, or gay and lesbian identity assertion. So, like Marxism, the NSM theory also marginalised different types of social movements, which did not fit the typology that it had developed. As Downing stated, authors from this school typically have zero to say about such a ‘‘Third World’’ phenomena23. Pichardo24 also addressed their obliviousness in analysing contemporary Right Wing social movements, including religiously oriented ones. In Turkey, one well-known researcher who has attempted to analyse and write on the Islamic Movement and the Islamic Women’s movement in Turkey, is Göle. Yet it seems that she has not attempted to review the New Social Movements theory (such as the one developed by Touraine) on the basis of her data and findings from the field25. Instead she applies this theoretical framework directly to the Turkish context withouth any critical scrutiny and thus repeats the same mistakes of the NSM paradigm26. Consequently, her works are shortsighted regarding the limits of the hegemonic impact of neoliberalism and conservatism on the religious social movements. Furthermore, by overlooking the Kurdish Social Movement, which is hightly relevant in her area of study – politics on/of modernity in Turkey – she has not expanded her own critical perspective. In fact such conservative movements upon which the New Right projects are based on, as is the case in Turkey, have also become influential for feminist movements. Lacking such lenses, which could have led them to recognise the existing political ties between these movements and neoliberal regimes, the theorists and researchers who fed on the NSM paradigm could not see neoliberalism’s capacity for adopting the critiques of these movements into their own neoliberal perspectives and views.

  • 27 Cohen, J. and Arato, A. (1992) Civil Society and Political Theory (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press).

17All of these problems of these oppositional groups’s counter critical approaches have also been consolidated by another perspective, again coming from the NSM theory. In order to problematise Marxist terminology – such as “revolution” – new social movements such as feminism seem to be abandoning, and becoming critical about, all types of macro political strategies aiming to make structural transformations. This tendency was strengthened by feminist authors who did not expand and provide a feminist view on common socio-economic problems and structures that did not have direct impact on women. In this sense they were characterised by their “self-limiting radicalism”27.

  • 28 Walzer, M. “The Civil Society Argument” in C. Mouffe & others (ed.), Dimension of Radical Democracy (...)

18However, despite of the failures of the NSM and feminist theories, people in the Third World are having ongoing struggles with political and economic structures such as the state and the capital. As Walzer28 warns us, these movements should remember that victories in the political and economic domains are an absolute prerequisite for all victories. Democratic politics are based on the realisation that control over economic resources and political means is crucial to control the basic features that regulate people's life chances and decision making processes. There are open needs to develop intersectional approaches and/or postidentity politics including strategies that have to be oriented accordingly towards the modification of these structures.

2. Neo-authoritarian Turn and the Second Period of the AKP

19Particularly after the constitutional referendum concerning a number of changes to the constitution that was held in Turkey on the 12th of September 2010, the process of centralisation within the AKP and the state began to speed up. In fact the results of this referendum showed that the majority supported the constitutional amendments. The changes aimed to abolish the military regime’s constitution (the National Security Council Regime/ 1980-1983) and to bring the constitution into compliance with European Union standards. The liberals and New Lefts groups in particular supported constitutional reform in the hope that it would facilitate the EU membership process. Especially among left-liberal intellectuals, the AKP invoked the sense that the Party would radically transform the fundamentals of the ancient regime without disowning Turkey’s age-old political agenda: catching up with the ‘west.’  

20However, the impact of the constitutional amendment, which had been welcomed not only by liberal intellectuals but also the EU, was most uncertain. The reform package contained amendments to 24 articles that promoted democratisation but would require amendments to approximately 200 laws in order to be implemented properly. In addition to the one that aimed to partly expand human rights and freedom, another part of the package limited the judicial authority of military courts and modified the rule of appeal decisions of the Supreme Military Council. Aiming to restructure two central judicial bodies- the Constitutional Court and the High Council for Judges and Public Prosecutors- this second part of the package was the main reason for calling a referendum; it also aroused political tensions.

  • 29 In fact tension within the state among different power groups had been observed before the constitu (...)

21Particularly after this amendment29, the power balance within the state shifted. As the old Kemalist power groups were marginalised within the state, the struggle within and over the state apparatuses tended to increase between the AKP’s alliances, i.e. Erdoganists and Gülenists. This situation speeded up the process of centralisation of power within the AKP and the state. In line with this, the political coalition among liberals, New Lefts, Kurdish politicians/activists and Right Wing political groups, which the AKP had once constructed as being opposed to Kemalism and the old nation-state formation and in favour of neoliberal identity politics, begun to be dismantled. Hence keeping the old balance of power stable on the basis of anti-Kemalist neoliberal rationality began to be difficult. In fact, the first sign of this breakdown within the AKP’s political alliance or consensus came from the Kurdish movement. The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) declared that they would boycott the vote, because there is no mention in the constitution that Kurds exist in Turkey and therefore it does not recognise their language, culture or any of their human rights. In 2013, the AKP made another attempt at regaining Kurds into its coalition before the national election by releasing a so-called democratic package. This speeded up the peace process on the 30th of September 2013. However the government failed to implement any of the reforms that the Kurds were looking for, even in a judicial sense.

  • 30 It was not only after the constitutional amendment, but in many other previous instances that the A (...)
  • 31 Küçük, Bülent and Buket Türkmen (2017), “Müzakeresiz Kamusallık: Milli Cemaatin Yeniden İnşası Süre (...)
  • 32 The Gülen community or movement is an Islamic transnational social and religious movement. Its lead (...)
  • 33 Cindoglu, Dilek and Didem Unal (2017), “Gender and sexuality in the Authoritarian discursive Strate (...)

22At this stage, the AKP elites could have chosen between two ways: one was to expand democracy in Turkey by further amending the constitution in favour of human rights and political liberties, and to continue with the peace process. The other way was to change its course and increase authoritarianism. Conservative AKP elites (who were under the leadership of Erdogan) were neither willing to, nor capable of choosing the first option. As we all know, they have followed the second one and declared their shift from “conservative democrat” to the “one flag one nation” discourse30. The AKP’s advocacy for civic conservatism, Ottoman cosmopolitanism and economic liberalism, which seemed to lead to the rise of liberties for a period of time, has now come to an end and the marriage between the AKP’s neoliberalism and liberal democracy is over. The tendency towards authoritarianism, and even fascism, became stronger as Kurdish politicians wanted to push the neoliberal democracy project of the AKP to its radical ends31. This finally resulted in putting an end to the peace process that had been started a few years ago by the very same government. Another sign of the collapse of the AKP’s previous political coalition was the clash of power groups within the AKP and the state. As the AKP managed to eliminate and control Kemalist power groups within the military, central power that could be shared got bigger and led to an increase in tension between Gulen’s community/or movement32 and Erdogan’s group. As the struggle within the state became more visible, coalitional politics ended. Increasing social tension and dissatisfaction also led the AKP to search for a new alliance with the nationalist block. The leader of the AKP began to frame the nation’s self in contrast with Europe, to devise ways to legitimise repressive measures and, among many other things, to demonstrate its one-man rule as the sole way for securing national sovereignty. The new nationalist discourse mainly relied on a large inventory of conspiracy theories to the extent that conspiracy theories completely took over critical thinking in public debates. Another side of the same discourse was constituted by the authoritarian enemy images or demonic others both inside and outside the country. This requires a constant attempt of the central power to construct exclusive borderlines according to the definition of who ‘we’ are and then deny the political opposition a legitimate place in this imagined domain of the national self, which never fully includes the existing cultural/social diversities. As projected 'others' and accompanying conspiracies become essential to the neo-authoritarian politics of the AKP, its patriarchal views turn into important symbols for the constitution of these borderlines, between what is considered as “the national self-us” and “the national others-them”. The discursive utilisation of heterosexual bodies and sexualities emerged as the main tool to consolidate the authoritarian conservative gender regime, while the heterosexual family with children has been promoted as the basic unit to reinforce hegemonic moral values and norms. The AKP’s sudden turn towards authoritarianism has affected political discourses on women’s bodies and sexualities in contemporary Turkey. As Cindoglu and Ünal33 state, in the last decade, discourse on sexuality has proliferated in an unprecedented level in the political realm in Turkey. The contemporary anti-feminist political moment in Turkey operates along the interweaving of pro-Islamism, neoliberalism, authoritarianism and conservatism, which generates a complex patchwork of regulatory narratives on women’s sexualities. Under the impact of all these rising authoritarian voices and tendencies within the government, particularly severe attacks against women’s rights were made by Erdoğan and his followers in this second period.

23Moreover, in an attempt to save this sudden and sharp political shift in the political discourse and the coalition politics, political power and economic wealth was tranfered over to those favoured by the AKP, without any criticism. This required the ruling party to act out in some sort of superintendent role in order to enable all of these changes. The result was the centralisation of power in the hands of a group of political elites collaborating under a one-leader rule. This authoritarian regime was also strengthened with a leadership cult. This meant the transformation of the whole state, political and economic systems into male-centred domains and power networks working selectively and closely together on the basis of high level clientelist relationships.

Neo-Kemalism; Fascism; Neo-Fascism

  • 34 Kandiyoti, Deniz (2011) “Locating the politics of gender: Patriarchy, neoliberal governance and vio (...)
  • 35 Yarar, Betül (2012), “Kürtaj Yasağı Öldürür, Yaşam Hakkımızı İstiyoruz”, 9 June 2012, http://www (...)

24At the beginning, liberal intellectuals considered all these shifts in the AKP’s politics as the kind of manoeuvres needed to increase social tension among conflictual voting groups. In a similar manner, some feminists have tended to treat the various twists of changing policy and discourse of the AKP in the realms of gender, sexuality and the family as diversionary, and as agenda-changing tactical moves34. Only a few feminist others35 criticised these treatments for the risks incurred by removing gender and sexuality related issues from the realm of ‘real’ politics, thus facilitating ruling politicians’ dismissal as merely tactical.

  • 36 See debates around the concept of neo-kemalism in most popular online dictionaries in Turkey (Uluda (...)
  • 37 AKP Faşizmi Ülkemizi Hızla Uçuruma Sürüklüyor!! June 22nd, 2016 | By KESK Public Employees' Union H (...)
  • 38 Tuğal, Cihan. 2016. “In Turkey, the Regime Slides from Soft to Hard Totalitarianism.” Open Democarc (...)
  • 39 Köker, Levent (2016), “Otoriter Rejimin Neresindeyiz?” Yarına Bakış, April 27. https://www.yarinaba (...)
  • 40 İnsel, Ahmet (2017), “Böyle bir gelişme, Türkiye'ye gerçek faşizmi getirebilir”, T24 online, http:/ (...)

25However particularly after the AKP’s strenuous attitude towards the Gezi riot in 2013, it seems that mainly liberals have circulated a new concept to define this regime: "Neo-Kemalism"36. For them, the AKP has recently begun to adopt the mode of the 1930s Turkish regime and, in turn, fell into a conflict with its own previously effective anti-Kemalist attitude. But unfortunately, this reinterpretation of the AKP’s politics by liberals was not very convincing, since they were unable to provide proper reasons as to why these “unexpected” and “sudden” changes had occurred. In the meantime, in opposition to the liberals, who were beginning to be condemned by radical rejectionist views of the AKP’s liberalism, the concept of "fascism" to define the AKP regime started to become popular in public critical utterances and statements37. Others added some adjectives to this concept and used the term neofascism. For instance, Tuğal38, Köker39 and İnsel40 pointed out an important aspect of this new type of authoritarian regime: mass mobilisation in favour of radical-right ideas and the increased incorporation of radical Islamist cadres to retain a mobilised base. All of these have given the regime a neo-fascist stamp or contributed to its being portrayed as a form of fascism.

  • 41 İlkay Meriç, 2016, 27 Şubat, “Emekçi Kadınlar ve Faşizm” http://marksist.net/ilkay-meric/emekci-kad (...)
  • 42 For such a critical attitude and discourse see Handan Koç, (2013), Muhafazakarlığa karşı Feminizm, (...)

26The concept of “fascism”, without any additional adjective such as “new” or “neo”, had been promoted by Marxist and socialist circles from the very beginning of the AKP’s rule. So for them, this recently emerging interpretation of the AKP's rule as a type or a new form of fascism was merely to repeat what they had already been stating from the very beginning of its rule. Taking their critical discourse one step further, Marxists and Marxist feminists argue that the AKP’s fasicm and its mysoginist politics are both the products of patriarchal capitalism”41. By treating the AKP’s neoliberal government as fascist, or as something very powerful and unbeatable, these leftists and feminists resonated, at least in some aspects, with the Thatcherite argument that “there is no alternative”, or Fukuyama’s view that liberal regimes are the last stage which humanity can achieve. Arguments of this later type about the neoliberal AKP often present it as some kind of natural law of society or omnipotent juggernaut. In this sense it is true that these later approaches have a negative understanding of what power is which led them to associate the concept of power to law, right to punish, to a group who is supposed to be holding power42. It should also be noted that the second wave feminists already had this tendency to conceive power as oppositional and negative, as one can see in classical theories of patriarchy. Drawing on the traditional model of power as repression, many feminist theories have assumed that the oppression of women can be explained by patriarchal social structures, which secure the power of men over women. This oversimplified conception of power relations implies that women are simply the passive, powerless victims of men who possess power through the patriarchal system in ultimate terms.

27In fact this basic problem of relying on the very concepts that operate through such dualisms – like between knowledge and power; state and economy; subject and object; men and women; sovereign and subaltern – is very common to all of the approaches mentioned so far. This oppositional and dualistic thinking goes together with a negative understanding of what power is. For them, it is something that can be possessed and exercised by either a collective or individual subject over another who does not have it (bourgeoisie as opposed to the working class; men as opposed to women etc.) The role that such political assumptions based on these theoretical dualisms can play in challenging and de-stabilising present neoliberal hegemony is questionable.

28In line with this, the same critiques also come short due to their reductionist mode of thinking. In other words they tend to consider AKP’s regime in a rather simplistic way by reducing its political discourse or political project to only one of its dimensions. For instance, for Marxists, the hegemony of the AKP’s neoliberalism is considered to be “the extension of economy into the domain of politics”, “the triumph of capitalism over the state”, “capitalist globalisation that escapes the political regulations of the nation-state”. While in the arguments of Marxist intellectuals there is a strong emphasis on the political economy of neoliberal regimes, for some nationalist social democrats, it is Islamism that needs to be depoliticised by eschewing it from the state back into the private realm. Ironically this requires control of the state over Islamic institutions and practices. Being dependent on very colonialist modernisation projects that emphasise national independence and development, this later culturalist/modernist view of social democrats is problematic for its reductionism in the sense that it criticises the AKP’s political project mainly in respect to its Islamic-cultural conservatism. However, the liberal approach, which considers all of the authoritarian regimes as inherited forms of Kemalist state tradition, often falls into the trap of political reductionism by essentially focusing on the political sphere and the state. Looking at this from a wider perspective would lead us to see how all of these critiques ignore the complex dynamics of power-relations that the AKP regime has relied on.

  • 43 Yarar (2015), Op.cit
  • 44 Kandiyoti (2011), Op.cit

29When we look at feminist discourses, overall they have similar tendencies towards dualist and reductionist modes of thinking. Based on classical theories of patriarchy, feminists mainly continue to target men, who are blamed as being the bearers of patriarchal values and the reason for female powerlessness and victimisation. For instance, as Kandiyoti (2011) states, in respect to the epidemic levels of violence against women in society, they routinely blamed an ill-defined notion of patriarchy, implicitly understood as a deeply ingrained pattern of culture43. As feminists, this reductionist view of a dominant system or patriarchy as “culture” has led us to focus on power relations as being mainly between men and women and taking place in the private and family spheres. Despite important attempts from radical and socialist feminists to politicise private issues like sexuality by pointing out their links with the patriarchal system or to the so called distinct system of capitalism, the marriage of distinct fields and/or systems has always been a very unhappy one. This also led us to create a set of vocabulary that resulted in re-strengthening the mainstream conception of politics as being reduced to the state/public and opposed to the family/private issues and spheres. Yet, this did not mean that as feminists we could overcome the problem of false opposition between the private and the public by reproducing this dichotomy within the context of feminist theories and pratices, and by siding with the private by stating that “private is political”. As Kandiyoti argues, in fact this resulted in the above-mentioned arguments on the politics of the AKP who tactically used gendered issues in order to make their real political aims invisible. This in turn invites us “to spell out with a greater degree of precision the various ways in which the politics of gender in Turkey is intrinsic rather than incidental to a characterization of its ruling ideology”44.

Feminists’ Theoretical Discussions on the Impact of Neoliberalism on Women’s Movement and Feminism

30Conceptualising the AKP’s politics with the theoretical term “neoliberalism” rather than “fascism” is one step which we need to take in order to implement better theoretical strategies to develop more comprehensive approaches. However, it is not enough for expanding and deepening our own analysis and theoretical perception for understanding the hegemonic power of the AKP’s neoliberalism. Furthermore, the literature on the AKP’s neoliberalism is yet unsettled and still caught in contradictions and debates, which is not in itself negative. For this reason the discourses on the notion of neoliberalism require a closer gaze.

  • 45 Akgöz, Görkem (2016). “Mutsuz Evlilikten Tehlikeli Flörte: Feminizm, Neoliberalizm ve

31Neoliberalism and its impacts on feminism has been one of the hot topics among feminists in the world, particularly after the recently circulated view that neoliberalism has managed to appropriate those critical discourses of New Social Movements concerning power relations. However, this discussion has rarely been influencial on feminists’ debates concerning the AKP’s hegemonic regime in Turkey45. These works, which explore the concept of neoliberalism and are suspicous about its negative impact on feminism, are very important to follow up on and develop. But beyond this, there does not seem to be enough debate on the theoretical aspect of neoliberalism and the neccesary theoretical framework that might be more influencial against neoliberal regimes in Turkey. This, I believe, requires further analysis and thought than the one that has been carried out so far by feminist scholars and activists in Turkey.

32There are two important theoretical positions in the feminist literature regarding this discussion and the critique of neoliberalism and its impact on feminism in the West. One is the critique by socialist feminists such as Walby, Eisenstein, and Fraser who blame postructuralist theories for the failure of the second wave feminist politics, by overlooking the economic and class dimensions of neoliberalism’s detoriarating impact on women and societies and for putting too much emphasis on the cultural aspect of neoliberal transformation46. This discussion has been opened up and developed mainly by Nancy Fraser’s historical analysis of the interaction between feminism and neoliberalism in the West (i.e. the trajectory of second wave feminism in relation to the recent history of capitalist transformations from a Fordist national state-organised to a post-Fordist, transnational and neoliberal capitalism). There is also a literature which critically scrutinises neoliberalism’s impact on feminism (rather than on how to conceptualise and analyse neoliberal power and rationality). It also has a strong connection with these previously developed theoretical discussions expanded by Fraser and others.

  • 47 Butler, Judith (1989). “Foucault and the Paradox of Bodily Inscriptions,” in the Journal of Philoso (...)
  • 48 Acar, Feride and Gülbanu Altunok (2013) “The ‘politics of intimate’ at the intersection of neo-libe (...)

33Beyond these socialist feminist theories of Fraser and others, on the other side of the theoretical pool, there are feminist authors who continue to use post-structuralist theories for restrenghtening the critical analysis of neoliberalism and its impact on feminist discourses and strategies. Following Foucault’s notion of bio-power, governmentality and his latest comments on neoliberal government, these authors focus on neoliberal strategies of governing gendered bodies through different modes of practices ranging from health to consumption47. This literature has also had a faint impact on feminist studies in Turkey48.

  • 49 Oksala, Johanna (2013), “Feminism and Neoliberal Governmentality”, Foucault Studies, No. 16, pp. 32 (...)

34Like Oksala49, I contend that feminist thinkers, who put the blame for the current impasse on the rise of poststructuralist modes of thought in feminist theory and advocate for a return to socialist feminism, represents a dangerous nostalgia that would rob feminist theory of its remaining political relevance. It is true that there is an urgent need for developing feminist understandings of neoliberalism and its hegemony over all counter political movements, not only over feminist ones. However, contrary to the approach of the first group, I argue that such analysis should not rely upon the hope of reviving the socialist-feminist theorising, or as a reference to the glory days of second-wave feminists who joined their New Left and anti-imperialist counterparts in the 1960s and 70s, the years of explosive radicalism in the West. In other words, such a theoretical approach should not make a call for a return to socialist feminist sensitivities of the 1960s and 70s, which results in bypassing the period that was mainly determined by identity politics or by a culturalist turn. Instead it should search for new positions, strategies and theoretical backups that might lead us to go beyond essentialist, reductionist and Westphalianist-colonialist epistemological positions that these previously dominant critical discourses - including those in Turkey - were often damaged by, and go beyond the neoliberal hegemony over counter-political discourses and strategies.

35Despite aiming to go beyond identity politics, my theoretical standpoint is not grounded in any regrets about previous periods in which the new social movements, based on identity politics, have seen their power rise (see previous part on NSM theory). On the contrary I recognise and admit the importance of these moments in the history of political struggle in Turkey and in the World. Yet we need to admit that this period has come to an end and we are now going through a moment of social disclosure and conflicts where identities, in an essentialist and conservative ways, have revolved as a kind of defence mechanisms against the so-called crisis of neoliberalism. In such a period of crisis, in which conservative forces and powers are pulling the social dynamics back into narcissistic moments of ethnic and religious nationalisms, there is a strong need to see the limits of identity politics. A search for a path to go beyond identity politics, whithout totally condemning them, should not be based upon the idea of rejecting identities as political subjects. Instead, there is a need to articulate a theory of power which allows us to develop counter-political strategies based on intersubjective, intersectional analysis, queer strategies and tactical-strategic identites. Such an approach might open up new opportunities to develop more materialistic, down to earth analyses and counter strategies against the hegemonic power of neoliberal regimes.

Conclusion

36While there are clear problems relating to political critiques of nationalist positions, second-wave feminists and their New Left alliances, which are partly or wholly based on the identity politics of the New Social Movements Paradigm, also seem very problematic. I think that these theoretical positions, which emerged as reactions and radical challenges to the androcentric state-led capitalist societies in the post war era, also reached their limits with the emergence and the rise of conservative-neoliberalism, which framed a new form of capitalism, one that is disorganised, post-Fordist and transnational. (In the case of Turkey, for feminists, there is not only the problem of neoliberalism, but also the problem of Islamism : I think we have different understandings of the concept of neoliberalism. When I use the term neoliberalism in Turkey it is fused with Islamic conservatism, most of the time because it is a governening rationality in the Foucauldian sense, which also includes a moral basis of the neoliberal interpretation of Islam. In my mind they are not totally sperated subjects.) Here, instead of reflecting on the process of feminism’s evolution in the dramatically changed social context of rising neoliberalism, this paper attempts to analyse feminist theoretical arguments and conceptual principles within a field of discourses and enunciations in which there are other political standpoints in interaction with each other. By looking at this field in general, one can easily see that it is not only feminist standpoints which failed to evaluate themselves according to the needs of present power relations, shaped under the impact of neoliberal hegemony, but also other political and epistemological positions.

37What specifically made second-wave feminists’ standpoints and New Left views fail, according to me, is the fact that they were born as the critique of the old androcentric state-centred capitalist formation (the equivalent of this in the Turkish context is the Kemalist view of state centred society and economic formation) and not as the critique of the neoliberal state and social formation. For instance neither feminists nor New Lefts were able to see the generic context that they shared with the rise of the New Right and their neoliberal political projects. Furthermore, despite their differences, all of these critical groups had some common problems. Most of these problems concern theoretical assumptions, related to identity politics, such as thinking in oppositional terms and only considering power in a negative sense.

38There is no newly developing debate around the impact of neoliberalism on feminist and other social movements. This new pattern, which has put the target directly as on neoliberalism, seems a lot more productive and interesting. One of the main name that is circulating around within this context is Nancy Fraser. Despite sharing her worries about the impact of neoliberalism on political thinking, unlike Fraser’s generalising approach, I consider second wave feminist positions within their general historical and political context and attempt to point out the interactions between different oppositional discourses in the public discussions taking place in Turkey. Calling attention to the different problems with these oppositional discourses, I come to the conclusion that neither of these approaches is now sufficient enough to explain and propose counter alternatives against the complex matrix of neoliberal power relations or “heterarcies”. However I would like to argue, that what we need is to theoretically go beyond essentialist identity politics of the so-called NSM paradigm and reductionist theories of socialists and Marxists/feminists.

  • 50 Jessop, Bob; Kevin Bonnett, Simon Bromley, Tom Ling, (1988) Authoritarian Populism, Two Nations, an (...)
  • 51 Laclau, Ernesto and Chantale Mouffe (1985), Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Demo (...)
  • 52 Grosfoguel (2011), Op.cit

39In this conclusive part, obviously there is no space to develop an alternative theoretical approach. All I can do is mention possible matrixes of a more constitutive theoretical approach, which might be more efficient in overcoming the problems of these approaches to neoliberal and neo-authoritarian politics of the AKP. An alternative theoretical framework, for me, can only be constituted by pulling different theories together. In my understanding, apart from Fraser’s neomateralist approaches, one can also follow poststructuralist and intersectional views on post-identity politics. To me, the most productive arguments and theoretical contributions are coming from neo-Foucauldian theorists such as Lemke, Burchel and others-; some neo-Gramscians like Cox and Nile, Jessop50, Laclau and Mouffe51 some decolonialist theorists such as Grosfoguel52; and some poststructuralist and neomaterialist feminists such as Butler, Brown, Sawicki. But to develop a more coherent and explanatory theoretical framework can only be the task of another paper. To conclude very briefly, all these suggestions differ from Fraser’s arguments for a return to socialist or neomaterialist feminism. Instead, what I argue for is keeping on a post-sructuralist track while searching for a new path of post-identity politics in such times of anti-democratic, conservative and narcissistic turn to identities. This alternative position, which obviously needs to be developed further, can help us understand the present authoritarian turn and crises of neoliberal regimes, that have been expanding not only in Turkey but also in many other places.

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Notes

2 Grosfoguel, Ramón (2011), “Decolonizing Post-Colonial Studies and Paradigms of Political-Economy: Transmodernity, Decolonial Thinking, and Global Coloniality”, Transmodernity: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World, 1(1).

3 Fraser, Nancy (2009), “Feminism, Capitalism and the Cunning of History”; Fraser, Nancy (2013), Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis.

4 Fraser, Nancy (2009), “Feminism, Capitalism and the Cunning of History”; Harvey, David (1989), Condition of Postmodernity, Blackwell: Cambridge and Oxford; Harvey, David (2005), A Brief History of Neoliberalism (New York: Oxford University Press); Hall, Stuart (1988), The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the, Verso; Hall, Stuart and Martin Jacques, (1989), “New Times: Changing Face of Politics in the 1990's”, Lawrence and Wishart/Marxism Today; Hall, Stuart and O’Shea, Alan (2013) “Common-sense Neoliberalism”,  Soundings, Winter 55; Jessop, Bob; Kevin Bonnett, Simon Bromley, Tom Ling, (1988) Authoritarian Populism, Two Nations, and Thatcherism, Polity Press.

Jessop, Bob (2007), ‘New Labour or the normalization of neoliberalism’, British Politics, 2 (3), 28288; Keane, John (1988), Civil Society and the State: New European Perspectives (London and New York: Verso).

5 Cox, Laurence and Alf Gunvald Nilsen (2016), Reading Neoliberalism As a Social Movement from Above “Das Ende neoliberaler Hegemonie durch soziale Bewegungen?” Theorie und Praxis vol. 2016, pp. 98 – 105.

6 Hall, Stuart (2011), “The Neoliberal Revolution”, Cultural Studies,

25:6, 705-728 (http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rcus20 available online since 17 Oct. 2011);

7 Brown, Wendy (2003), ‘Neoliberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy’, Ch. 3 of her Edgework – Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 37-59.

8 Tünay, M. (1993). “The Turkish New Right’s Attempt at Hegemony”,in The Political and Socioeconomic Transformation of Turkey, London: Proeger, pp:11-30; Yarar, Betül (2009), Politics and/of Popular Culture: Football and Arabesk Music in the Times of the New Right in Turkey, VDM Verlag, Dr. Müller; Yalman, G. 1997. Bourgeosie and the State: Changing Forms of Interest Representation within the Context of Economic Crisis and Structural Adjustment Turkey Diving the 1980s, PhD. Dissertation, The University of Manchester: Graduate School of Social Sciences.United Kingdom.

9 See particularly Yarar, 2009, op.cit

10 İnsel, Ahmet (2003), “The AKP and Normalizing Democracy in Turkey”, South Atlantic

Quarterly, no 102/2-3, pp.3-9.

11 Kahraman, Hasan Bület, (2007), AKP ve Türk Sağı, Agora Kitaplığı Yayınları, İstanbul.

12 Yıldırım, Kansu (2015), “AKP’s future: The fragmented Nom-du-père and the violence of power”, HeinrichBöllStiftung Türkei.

13 Diamon, Larry (2002). “Thinking About Hybrid Regimes”, Journal of Democracy, 13 (2), pp. 21 – 35; Huntington, Samuel (1991), “Democracy’s Third Wave”, Journal of Democracy, p. 12 Vol 2 no 2 Spring.

14 Akkoyunlu, Feyzi Karabekir, (2014), The Rise and Fall of the Hybrid Regime: Guardianship And Democracy in Iran and Turkey. A PhD Thesis submitted to The London School of Economics and Political Science; Berkan, İsmet, “Türkiye’nin melez demokrasisi ve AK Partili demokratlar”, Hürriyet, 21 Mayıs 2011; Türmen, Rıza “Melez Demokrasi”, Milliyet, 24,12, 2010; Özbudun, Ergun (2014) Türkiye’de Demokratikleşme Süreci, Anayasa Yapımı ve Anayasa Yargısı, İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları; Yavuz, Hakan (2006) The Emergence of a New Turkey: Democracy and the AK Parti (Utah Series in Turkish and Islamic Studies, Utah Series in Turkish and Isl

15 Grosfoguel, Ramón (1996) “The Epistemic Decolonial Turn”, Ibid.

16 Grosfoguel, Ramón (2011), “Decolonizing Post-Colonial Studies and Paradigms of Political-Economy: Transmodernity, Decolonial Thinking, and Global Coloniality”, Transmodernity: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World, 1(1).

17 Crenshaw, Kimberle, (1991) “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Colour”, Standford Law Review, pp. 1241-1296, Vol.43, July

18 Grosfoguel, Ramón (2011), op.cit

19 Jessop, Bob (2006), “The third way: neo-liberalism with a human face?”, New Labour und die Modernisierung Gross britanniens. ed. / Sebastian Berg; Andre Kaiser. Augsberg : Wissener Verlag, p. 333-366.

20 Yarar, Betül (2014). Yeni Toplumsal Hareketler, Medya ve Yeni İletişim Teknolojileri. TUBİTAK SOBAG 110K498 Nolu Uluslararası Araştırma Projesi Raporu.

21 Pichardo, N. A. (1997) “New Social Movements: A Critical Review”, Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 23, p. 414

22 See Yarar, 2014.

23 Downing, John (2008). “Social Movement Theories and Alternative Media: An Evaluation and Critique”, Communication, Culture & Critique 1, International Communication Association, p. 43

24 Pichardo, N. A. Op.cit

25 Göle, Nilüfer (1991- 2018), Modern Mahrem: Medeniyet ve Örtünme, İstambul Meetis Press; Göle, Nilüfer (2000), İslamın Yeni Kamusal Yüzleri, İstanbul: Metis Yayınları.

26 For the critique of this literature see Downing and Pichardo.

27 Cohen, J. and Arato, A. (1992) Civil Society and Political Theory (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press).

28 Walzer, M. “The Civil Society Argument” in C. Mouffe & others (ed.), Dimension of Radical Democracy. Pluralism, Citizenship Communlh (London 1992), p. 103

29 In fact tension within the state among different power groups had been observed before the constitutional amendment, but what had been observed became more visible and concrete after that.

30 It was not only after the constitutional amendment, but in many other previous instances that the AKP attempted to turn its face to nationalist blocks, see Kurt and Dilek (2015: 23).

31 Küçük, Bülent and Buket Türkmen (2017), “Müzakeresiz Kamusallık: Milli Cemaatin Yeniden İnşası Sürecinde Demokrasi Nöbetleri”, Toplum ve Bilim, March 2017 sayısında -No: 140)

32 The Gülen community or movement is an Islamic transnational social and religious movement. Its leader is a Turkish preacher named Fethullah Gülen. The movement that has no official name is referred generally as Hizmet ("the Service") and as Cemaat ("the Community). The Gülen movement is a former ally of the Turkish Justice and Development Party. When the AKP came to power in 2002 the two formed, despite their differences, a tactical alliance against military tutelage and the secular elite. But once they succeded in defeating the old establishment around 2010 to 2011, disagreements emerged between the AKP and the Gülen movement (please see these online news https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/sami-zubaida/turkey-as-model-of-democracy-and-islam and https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21578113-muslim-cleric-america-wields-surprising-political-power-turkey-gulenists-fight-back)

33 Cindoglu, Dilek and Didem Unal (2017), “Gender and sexuality in the Authoritarian discursive Strategies of ‘New Turkey’”, European Journal of Women’s Studies, Vol. 24(1) pp. 39–54.

34 Kandiyoti, Deniz (2011) “Locating the politics of gender: Patriarchy, neoliberal governance and violence in Turkey”, Research and Policy on Turkey, Published online: 22 Jul 2016. Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rrpt20

35 Yarar, Betül (2012), “Kürtaj Yasağı Öldürür, Yaşam Hakkımızı İstiyoruz”, 9 June 2012, http://www.amargidergi.com/node/80; Korkman, Zeynep K. (2016), “Politics of Intimacy in Turkey: Just a Distraction from ‘Real’ Politics?” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 12 (1): 112–121.

36 See debates around the concept of neo-kemalism in most popular online dictionaries in Turkey (Uludag sozluk http://www.uludagsozluk.com/k/neo-kemalizm/ and Sour Dictionary https://eksisozluk.com/en-kemalizm--2117691). Sırrı Süreyya Önder "There is only one Kemalist in that square He is the AKP" Hürriyet, 10.06.2013 (http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/akp-gezi-nin-neo-kemalistidir-23470513). Abdullah Saygılı, "On the Neo-Kemalist AKP and Political Ideal" (http://blog.radikal.com.tr/Turkiye-Gundemi/Neo-Kemalist-KP-and-Politik-İdeal-USERINE-57893 (28.11.2016) , 26.04.2014, http://blog.radikal.com.tr/Turkiye-Gundemi/Neo-Kemalist-KP-and-Politik-ideal-USERINE-57893). There were even conservative writers who mentioned that the AKP began to resemble Kemalism, which the AKP has been increasingly criticizing. (http://ahmetdursun374.blogcu.com/Neo-OthersLinar-Karsisina-Neo-Kemalist-Carryour/8947936). The lighter interpretations included the AKP's nationalist line, Umut Özkırımlı, "Ulusalcılaşan AKP" http://t24.com.tr/yazarlar/umut-ozkirimli/ulusalcilasan-akp7121, 27.11.2016). This can be regarded as a more interesting and meaningful interpretation to the extent that it doesn't lean on the concept of Kemalism. However, an association is often pointed out in this way, and in this context, the "nationalism" is associated with Kemalism (Mustafa Akyol, "Türkiye'nin Nabzı.", Al-Monitor's Turkey Pulse, June 17, 2014. http://www.al-Monitor.com/pulse/tr/originals/2014/06/turkey-akp-neo-nationalism-conspiracy-kemalism.html. For my criticism of this approach please see, Betül Yarar "Yeni Tarzı Siyaset: HDP, Die Linke, Syriza ... ", Alternatif Siyaset, January 15, 2015. http://alternatifsiyaset.net/2015/01/15/betul-yarar-yeni-tarzi-siyaset-hdp-syriza-die-linke-vb/).

37 AKP Faşizmi Ülkemizi Hızla Uçuruma Sürüklüyor!! June 22nd, 2016 | By KESK Public Employees' Union Http://haber.sol.org.tr/yazarlar/serpil-guvenc/mussoliniden-akpye-fasizm-goruntuleri-159634 http://www.kesk.org.tr/2016/06/22/akp-fasizmi-ulkemizi-hizla-ucuruma-surukluyor/; "Haziran'da Birleşmek"

in this article published by Emre Tansu Keten in the 11th edition of Yeniyol magazine, it is underlined that the June movement is an attempt to form an anti-AKP and anti-fascist bloc. The article is available at http://www.yeniyol.org/haziranda-birlesmek/

Serpil Güvenç, "Mussollini'den AKP'ye Faşizm Görüntüleri". It was last accessed on 19.06.2016. For an earlier critique of this approach, see Foti Benlisoy, " AKP gerçekten Faşist mi?", 13.04.2011, (http://www.soldefter.com/2011/04/15/akp-gercekten-fasist-mi/) and Metnin Çulhaoğlu, "AKP ve Faşizm" , 01.07.2011, http://www.birgun.net/haber-detay/akp-ve-fasizm-15392.html. For the current critical approach Mustafa Kemal Coşkun, "AKP ve Faşizm", 16 March 2016, http://gercekgazetesi.net/gundemdekiler/akp-ve-fasizm. And the last and very debated article on this issue was published by İnsel, 2017 http://m.t24.com.tr/haber/prof-ahmet-insel-boyle-bir-gelisme-turkiyeye-gercek-fasizmi-getirebilir,430408

38 Tuğal, Cihan. 2016. “In Turkey, the Regime Slides from Soft to Hard Totalitarianism.” Open Democarcy. https://www.opendemocracy.net/cihan-tugal/turkey-hard-totalitarianism-erdogan-authoritarian

39 Köker, Levent (2016), “Otoriter Rejimin Neresindeyiz?” Yarına Bakış, April 27. https://www.yarinabakis.com/2016/04/27/14542/;

40 İnsel, Ahmet (2017), “Böyle bir gelişme, Türkiye'ye gerçek faşizmi getirebilir”, T24 online, http://m.t24.com.tr/haber/prof-ahmet-insel-boyle-bir-gelisme-turkiyeye-gercek-fasizmi-getirebilir,430408

41 İlkay Meriç, 2016, 27 Şubat, “Emekçi Kadınlar ve Faşizm” http://marksist.net/ilkay-meric/emekci-kadinlar-ve-fasizm.htm Fulya Alikoç, “Kadınlık Referandumun Eşiğinde”, 9 April 2017, https://ekmekvegul.net/gundem/kadinlik-referandumun-esiginde.

42 For such a critical attitude and discourse see Handan Koç, (2013), Muhafazakarlığa karşı Feminizm, Destek Publishing. Also see Handan Koç, 9 January 2015 "Feminist olarak Türkiye'ye bakmak/ and Sibel Özbudun, "http://www.handankoc.com/feminist-olarak-turkiyeye-bakmak/ and Sibel Özbudun, "Kadınlar, Kapitalizm, Faşizm ve AKP", http://sibelozbudun.blogspot.fr/2015/12/kadınlar-kapitalizm-fasizm-ve-akp.html#.WEaQbrKLSM8

43 Yarar (2015), Op.cit

44 Kandiyoti (2011), Op.cit

45 Akgöz, Görkem (2016). “Mutsuz Evlilikten Tehlikeli Flörte: Feminizm, Neoliberalizm ve

Toplumsal Hareketler” (From Unhappy Marriage to Dangerous Liaison: Feminism, Neoliberalism and Social Movements), Fe Dergi 8, no. 2 (2016), 86-100; Akşit, Özlem (2017), “Neoliberalizm Fenimizi Nasıl Kullanıyor?”, Pazartesi, 19 Haziran 2017; Aslan, Özlem and Zeynep Gambetti, “Source Provincializing Fraser's History: Feminism and Neoliberalism”, History of the Present, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Summer 2011), pp. 130-147 Published by: University of Illinois Press; Özuğurlu, Aynur (2012), “Neoliberalizm ve Feminist Politikada ‘Sınıfsal Tutum’ Arayışları” (Neoliberalizm and Searches for “Class Atitude” in Feminist Politics), Ankara Üniversitesi SBF Dergisi, Cilt 67, No. 4, 2012, s.125 – 146 and( 2013), 21. Yüzyıl Feminizmine Doğru: Neoliberalizmin Ötesinde Bir Kadın Hareketi İçin Tartışmalar, (Towards the Feminism of 21th Century: Debates for A Women’s Movement Beyonda Neoliberalism), NotaBene Press; Ayhan, Emine and Aksu Bora, 2014, N’olacak bu feminizmin hali? (What Will Happen to This Feminism), Amargi, 20 May 2014. P. 158; Çetin, Kumru Berfin Emre (2016), “Neoliberalism, Food and Women: A Narcissistic Culinary Culture?”  Kadın/Woman 2000, Journal for Women's Studies, Vol 17 Issue1 June 2016: 121-138

Derya, Doğuş (2010), “Neoliberalizm Nasıl Çarpar?” (How Does Neoliberalism Hit?), Birikim; Coşar, Simten and İnci Özkan-Kerestecioğlu (2017)”Feminist Politics in Contemporary Turkey: Neoliberal Attacks, Feminist Claims to the Public”, Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, 38:2, 151-174; Sancar, Nuray (2016) “Neoliberalizm önce kadını vuruyor” (Neoliberalizm Hits Women First), Özgürlük Dünyası; Coşar, Simten and Metin Yeğenoğlu, New Grounds for Patriarchy in Turkey? Gender Policy in the Age of AKP, Pages 555-573 Published online: 06 May 2011

46 See Yücel, 2008; Özuğurlu, 2012 and 2013; Kadın Girişimciliği,mutfak cadıları (sayı 2, Nisan 2010), Kadınların kurtuluşunun yolu asla ‘girişimcilikten’ geçmiyor, http://www.sosyalistfeministkolektif.org/tag/neoliberalizm/.

47 Butler, Judith (1989). “Foucault and the Paradox of Bodily Inscriptions,” in the Journal of Philosophy. Eight-Sixth Annual Meeting American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division. Vol 86, No. 11 pp. 601-607, November; (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York: Routledge; (1993), Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “sex”, New York: Routledge; Brown, Wendy (2003), ‘Neoliberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy’, Ch. 3 of her Edgework – Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 37-59; Grosfoguel (1996, 2011) Op.cit; Sawicki, J. (1986), “Foucault and Feminism: Towards a Politics of Difference”, Haypatia, Jounal of Feminist Philosophy, Vol. 1 No2, 23-36.

48 Acar, Feride and Gülbanu Altunok (2013) “The ‘politics of intimate’ at the intersection of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism in contemporary Turkey”, Women's Studies International Forum 41, pp. 14–23; Cindoglu, Dilek and Didem Unal (2017), “Gender and sexuality in the Authoritarian discursive Strategies of ‘New Turkey’”, European Journal of Women’s Studies, Vol. 24(1) pp. 39–54; Çetin, Kumru Berfin Emre (2016), “Neoliberalism, Food and Women: A Narcissistic Culinary Culture?”  Kadın/Woman 2000, Journal for Women's Studies, Vol 17 Issue1 June 2016: 121-138; Özgüler, Cevahir and Yarar, Betul (2017), “Neoliberal Body Politics: Feminist Resistance and the Abortion Law in Turkey” in Bodies in Resistance: Gender and Sexual Politics in the Age of Neoliberalism. Wendy Harcourt (ed.), London: Palgrave.

49 Oksala, Johanna (2013), “Feminism and Neoliberal Governmentality”, Foucault Studies, No. 16, pp. 32-53, September 2013

50 Jessop, Bob; Kevin Bonnett, Simon Bromley, Tom Ling, (1988) Authoritarian Populism, Two Nations, and Thatcherism, Polity Press ; Jessop, Bob (2006), “The third way: neo-liberalism with a human face?”, New Labour und die Modernisierung Gross britanniens. ed. / Sebastian Berg; Andre Kaiser. Augsberg : Wissener Verlag, 2006. p. 333-366 ; Jessop, Bob (2007), ‘New Labour or the normalization of neoliberalism’, British Politics, 2 (3), 28288.

51 Laclau, Ernesto and Chantale Mouffe (1985), Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, London and New York: Verso.

52 Grosfoguel (2011), Op.cit

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Betul Yarar, « Reflecting on The Oppositional Discourses Against the AKP’s Neoliberalism and Searching for a New Vision for Feminist Counter Politics », Les cahiers du CEDREF, 22 | 2018, 23-67.

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Betul Yarar, « Reflecting on The Oppositional Discourses Against the AKP’s Neoliberalism and Searching for a New Vision for Feminist Counter Politics », Les cahiers du CEDREF [En ligne], 22 | 2018, mis en ligne le 15 octobre 2018, consulté le 16 novembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/cedref/1101

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Betul Yarar

Visiting Professor, Philipp Schwartz, University of Breme

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