#OccupyGezi: On Twitter and Affective News


  • Julien Cossette


affect, citizen journalism, social media, social movements, Turkey, Twitter


On the dawn of May 31, 2013, Istanbul’s riot police raided Gezi, a park recently occupied by activists standing against the threat of its destruction. On social media, pictures of the bloody police intervention went viral, sparking outrage and a political momentum that materialized throughout the country in the form of protests against the national government. Taking as a point of departure my personal experience of the events, this essay examines the use and effects of Twitter in the context of particular forms of civilian protests. In particular, I suggest that such tweets may contribute to the development of an affective environment that can foster a collective sense of belonging, association, and shared experience. First, I discuss media censorship of the initial protest in Istanbul. I then proceed with a discussion of the affective connotations of the messages and photographs shared on Twitter. In this regard, I also bring forward the cultural concept of “martyrdom” as a helpful analytical tool to explore these issues.

Oppression creates the need and demand for recognition.

— Halverson, Ruston, & Trethewey (2013, p. 321)