From past to present, events and factors that are causing events have always been the subjects of researches. When an event is considered, people from all branches are willing to handle all surrounding reasons behind the event in order to solve the event or in order to give a meaning to the event. This means after an event occurs, people start to give different meanings to the event according to their ideological views and their senses. Moreover, they try to set up causality between factors which they believe that these factors have caused the event and then under the light of this causality they claim that the event was planned and it hosts different ideologies in itself. As there are millions of people that live in the world, each person has his own ideology and characteristics that determines the opinions and emotions of this person. Even though there are named groups for different events in world, a person may join a group or may respect only his views without giving harm to others. Especially in political issues, there too many different notions that support their own ideas like communism, liberalism, fascism etc. While some of the people are part of named groups some of them are not willing to be a part of these groups. In this case when a social event occurs, people comment on the event according to their own ideology and they start to compete for finding the main reasons that caused the event. Then, the event starts to lose its existence and it becomes a symbol of a subject and this increases the tension of the society and it creates internal problems in the country. This time, after the event became a symbol, politicians also interpret the event and they try to comment on the event according to their ideology and they try to use the event for their benefits. That’s why the government do not handle the events as a singular event instead they accept to consider events as treason felony and terrorist attacks. In contrast with this idea if government and citizens would consider singularity, when they comment on an event, any historical event would not be thought as terrorist attack or the attempted coup against the government. However, in philosophy the term called “singularity” enlightens the existence of events. It refers thinking and evaluating an event independently. In that case singularity is taking and considering an event without thinking its reasons by giving meaning to event for only its existence. Normally, singularity has myriad of definitions in different sciences and branches such as physics, mathematics, philosophy etc. but in this essay only the philosophical meaning of singularity will be handled to analyse the singularity in Turkish politics and economic history by referring the Gezi Park events which is happened in May 31, 2013 and Berkin Elvan’s death in March 11, 2014. In order to understand the existence of Gezi events and Berkin’s death rather than their reasons, singularity should be known. So before explaining the singularity in Turkish politics and economic history, historical singularity should be defined in a detailed way.
Singularity in Politics
As stated above singularity means evaluating an event without considering its reasons. However, historical singularity handles the issue of whether origin of any historical event should be considered or not while analysing the event. According to the traditional concept of history, historical events have an origin and the origin of the events determines how the historical events are occurred and what the reasons behind these events are. However other than this traditional view for historical events, Michel Foucault -who is a philosopher writer- brings an alternative way for the history analysis by focusing the idea of singularity. Michel Foucault uses an analysis format called “genealogy”. According to Foucault’s way, genealogy, historical events should be considered under the light of historical singularity. This means for the historical events, origin of the events should not be considered instead historical events should be thought as transient and contingent. Rather than seeing historical events as a whole, Foucault’s analysis believes that historical events must not follow an order so that they may be occurred coincidently. That is the reason why historical events should be handled singularly according to the Foucault. The main theme of the genealogy comes from the scepticism. Foucault, himself, is doubtful about the origin of historical events. While traditional view of history claims that origin of the events determines historicity, Foucault’s analysis format supports that it is not certain that historical events have origin or they have reasons. This doubtful approach of Foucault brings the idea that historical events are irregular and singular in history. So that according to Foucault, the aim of his analysis is to purify historical events from its allegedly origin. Michel Foucault explains his genealogical way for the analysis of historical events in this essay called Nietzsche, Genealogy, History. He states that: “Genealogy does not oppose itself history as the lofty and profound gaze of the philosopher might compare to the molelike perspective of the scholar; on the contrary it rejects the metahistorical deployment of ideal significations and indefinite teleologies. It opposes itself to the search for “origins”.” (Foucault, 1977, s. 140) As it can be seen from the quotation too, genealogy ignores the origins of historical events in order to focus the event itself. Rather than considering historical events with origins, Foucault supports that genealogy consider elements of the event or the subject like social classes, singularly. By this way the elements of an event in history can be realized without the information of the origin of the event. So that thinking about reasons for a historical event is not necessary and historical events are not bonded to each other or they are not happened in a way like evolution happened. Foucault’s these words supports his ideas: “The forces operating in history are not controlled by destiny or regulative mechanism, but respond to haphazard conflicts. They do not manifest successive forms of a primordial intention and their attraction is not that of a conclusion, for they always appear through the singular randomness of events.” (Foucault, 1977, s. 154) These sentences reflect that historical events do not happen in a sequential manner and they are not regular. They just occur randomly so the events do not develop for a conclusion or for a battle or for a victory. Destiny has no effect in the process of historical events. That’s why it is useless to think that historical events should have done because history follows the usual structure. Instead of thinking in that way, chain of events should not be linked. They should be considered singularly as one event because events occur coincidently and randomly. So that, for Foucault history is a progressive system and destiny does not shape the historical events.
Singularity in Philosophy
Traditional history sense accept the ideas that all historical events have a starting point and there is causality between the events however as Foucault explains in his essay too the necessary historical sense is being exist. He says that: “We want historians to confirm our belief that the present rests upon profound intentions and immutable necessities but true historical sense confirms our existence among countless lost events, without landmark or a point of reference.” (Foucault, 1977, s. 154) Even though people are willing to give meanings to the historical events and expect explanations from historians to see that their ideologies are correct, the true and real thing is not the characteristics or power of the people. The true thing is their existence for a common aim in a shared place. Apart from Michel Foucault, Nietzsche also studied for genealogy and he supported the same idea that historical events should be considered as singularly. In Foucault’s essay he states that: “Nietzsche links historical sense to the historian’s history. They share a beginning that is similarly impure and confused, share the same sign in which the symptoms of sickness can be recognized as well as the seed of an exquisite flower.” (Foucault, 1977, s. 156) As it can be seen from the quote Nietzsche believes that beginning of historical events are is not pure so the origin of the events cannot be certain. Therefore the events should be analysed in their own medium as a single event. Both Foucault and Nietzsche refuse the traditional history sense which supports that historical events occurred by subjects. Instead of doing subject analysis Foucault and Nietzsche analyse how subjects shaped the historical events and how they become the headliner of the events. Foucault and Nietzsche used genealogy for the analysis of historical events and their analysis results as; subject is not the actor of the event. This means, even though the event is managed by a subject the subject and event should be considered separately. Other than Foucault and Nietzsche, Jean-Luc Nancy and Giorgio Agamben also used the term called historical singularity. Nancy used this term in order to enlighten the independency of individuality and community. This means both Nancy and Agamben see individuals who do not have an important role in historical events as the production of history. However, for Agamben uses love in order to explain singularity and community. Agamben’s approach to the singularity can be seen from this quotation: “… Anyone who watched even a few of its images, however distractedly, would have a hard time forgetting the special impression of synchrony and dissonance, of confusion and singularity, of communication and estrangement that emanated from the bodies of the smiling dancers.” (Agamben, 2001, s. 13) Agamben used the impression of single dancers on communication and he emphasized that singularity appears not just for a communion but also for every characteristics. However, Nancy and Foucault lay stress on more community but Agamben emphasize the individuality. According to Nancy, believing the historical necessities create oppression on historical singularity because if people who witnessed historical events gather around a common perception then this will weaken the singularity. However if a community occurs it will be purified from the origin of the historical events. The meanings of the community and communism can be seen from the book called (Blanchot, 1988)which is written by Maurice Blanchot. Nancy’s view of communism and community explained with this sentence: “Communism, by saying that equality is its foundation and that there can be no community until the needs of all men are equally fulfilled, presupposes not a perfect society but the principle of a transparent humanity essentially produced by itself alone, an “immanent” humanity (says Jean-Luc Nancy).” (Blanchot, 1988, s. 2) So that, communism refers to an equally distributed community which is prepared and waiting. Jean-Luc Nancy believes that in a democracy communism should also have a place otherwise there would be a country without soul. Although Nancy refers communism and community together he also handles the topics of singularity with them. In the book called The Inoperative Community which is written by Jean-Luc Nancy, he says: “… if one forgets what makes it always irreducibly singular, there is no longer community or communication: there is only the continuous identity of atoms.” (Nancy, 1991, s. 12) As it is seen from the quotation too, Nancy emphasized that without singularity community is not possible because singularity provides different ideologies and separates individuals from each other by developing them. If so, community and singularity are two notions that are related with each other. There are thousands of different ideologies but the important thing is not to choose the best ideology. A community has endless meanings but when singularity is considered each individual is responsible from himself. Singularity enlightens the one common aim: standing up on the same place for the same aim. This does not mean gathering together for a terrorist attack or protesting government. This represents a defence for social rights not a defence for ideologies.
Singularity in Economic History
In the first part of the essay “historical singularity” is explained and different philosopher’s views about singularity are mentioned. In order to understand the relationship between singularity and history, Jean-Luc Nancy’s some notion definitions, which are community and communism, explained and the connection between singularity, individuality and community clarified. In this second part of the essay singularity in Turkish politics and economic history will be handled. Before giving historical events from Turkey, first the term “historical singularity” in Turkey should be analysed. As stated before after a historical or a political situation happened in a country, many people start to solve the unknowns of the event. They try to investigate the origin of the event and they interpret the event according to their ideology. They also try to associate the new historical event with past event and they search for clues to prove their intelligence. However, all the searches and efforts are useless because the events should be evaluated one by one. This means, as genealogy explained, even though people strongly believe that there are connections between historical events, the events might be happened coincidently. For this reason, the events should be considered without thinking the origins of the event. In turkey, especially the politicians and the ruling administrators tend to connect past and present historical events and they are willing to see the every protest as a coup attempt against the government. Because there are different ideological groups in Turkey, every group wants to get self-advantage from the protests. Even the protests do not aim to cause disturbance in country, people from different groups like republicans and nationalists always try to get benefit and they increase the tension by fighting to show and prove their ideology is the best to each other. Even though very painful and terrifying historical events happen, at the beginning a group of people from different group gather and they protest the event without giving harm to society and environment, then after a while malevolent self-seeker people want to benefit from the situation by causing unnecessary fights. This time people who started the protests for peace and rights, become criminal and guilty because of their protests and the others who tried to set the thames on fire for civil war get away from the security forces and the media. Then all the aims for the protests become reversed and mercenary groups referred other past historical events even the present event is totally irrelevant with the past events. Because people watch the conflict between police and citizens they start to be afraid of and their struggle for human rights ends with frustration. Since the entire human right protests end in that way, people do not express themselves freely. Therefore when singularity is considered in Turkey, both the citizens and government are willing to search the origin of the historical events. The best and present example for the approach to singularity in Turkey is the Gezi Park protests and Berkin Elvan’s death. The other name of the Gezi Park protests is 31 May events. In this event, a group of people agreed to protest cutting the tress and harming the environment of Gezi Park in İstanbul. The aim was to prevent the building of a shopping mall. Even the aim was very simple and clear there are too many news about the history and origin of Gezi Park protests. Although people from different ideological groups came together to save the environment and park, after the event people from all over the Turkey and the administrators stated to criticize the event by saying that the event was planned. As turkey is a developing country the economic developments for Turkey is still continuing the events that affect economy are sensitive. Business managers want to invest their money to shopping malls and large firms but the numbers of firms in Turkey are increased very much and people, especially in İstanbul, do not want to see buildings anymore. They want to protect green areas but the irregular economic plans of Turkey cause unproportional growth which is inefficient. This contradictory economic situation leads to conflicts between citizens and government. The real example from life is the Gezi protests. In the first day of the protests the people were agreed to meet at Taksim by communicating on social media but there are some views which suppose that the protests organized by the communists. However, during the protests there were no symbols or slogan that proves the protests happened with the help of communists for civil war. Giving different meanings to Gezi protests would create the sense that people in Gezi were protesting the government and they just wanted to create civil war. However, if Foucault’s genealogy way to analyse historical events considered, it is possible to see that Gezi Protests were transient actions like Berkin Elvan’s protest. During Gezi Park events a 15 years old boy was shot from his head by a policeman accidently. Berkin’s family and the other people from all the cities gather to protest a innocent child’s death because of an unnecessary misunderstood events. However, like in Gezi Park protests people did not consider the situation within the borders of singularity. They wanted to connect Berkin’s death protests with Gezi protests and both events enlarged and people started to discuss and fight for supporting their own ideologies and views. Gezi Park and Berkin Elvan protests were not an event that is planned to overthrow the government. Both of them were finite actions because the protests were shelter different groups of people with different ideologies. Both protests created a community which is occurred spontaneously. Like Nancy’s community definition a group of people came together and created a community in order to share same place for the same aim. But the days after 31 May, some other people joined the protests and they sabotaged the protests. The community which was hosting all the ideologies and groups, then entered under the auspices of different groups and some main ideologies owned the protests and then they escaped. In the days after 31 May, and Berkin’s death the protests have changed their aim and fight between different groups appeared. Then the meaning of these protests totally changed in a way that self-seekers wanted and it turned an endless protests even they were finite protests at the beginning. Therefore, in Turkey when economic history and politics considered both administrators and people are willing to search for the origin of the events and they try to make connections between the historical event and they do not think about singularity. However, if they would think about the singularity they would take the protests ad a single event and they would understand the aim of the protests. Even the protests considered many different ideologies people did not give up from their own values and they continued to give meaning to the events.
Throughout the essay the term called “singularity” is explained in context of Turkish politics and economic history. As stated before singularity has many different meaning and philosophical meaning of the term is analysed. In order to understand the historical events, historical singularity is mentioned and while explaining the historical singularity the relationship between history and singularity is stated. It is stated that people and researchers are generally try to understand the origin of the events and they search for causality between different historical events. However, Michel Foucault’s and Nietzsche’s “genealogy” way claims that the historical events should be considered with singularity. The events should be analysed with their presence not with their origin. Then community and communism explained by referring Nancy and Agamben’s views and works. While Nancy supports that the community is a group of people with same or different ideologies who share the same aim and place for an event. However, Agamben handles the issue of individuality more. In the second part of the essay singularity in Turkey is explained with real life examples. Gezi Park protests and Berkin Elvan death’s protests are explained under the light of singularity and it is concluded that in Turkey the events are considered with their origins. In Turkey, both the administrators and citizens are willing to criticize the historical events by connecting them with the past event. That is why the events turn into endless even though they were finite at the beginning.
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