The rising elite are technology entrepreneurs
During the Gezi protests, the usage of social media was the main topic of interest. People at large understood the strength of social media outlets. Politicians were also very quick to see threats and the potential. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was the first party to order all of its members to create social media accounts and defend the party. That’s why there are many people now who are trying to put pressure on the most re-tweeted accounts so that the owners of the account will not be able to function due to the immense level of replies. There is a very big spam wave and it hurts the nature of the Internet, in my opinion. But of course, I am sure that the ruling party is not disturbed by it.
There was another issue that was as important as the role of social media during the protests that didn’t catch so much attention. Among businesspeople who openly supported Gezi, Internet and technology entrepreneurs were in the majority. Furthermore, they did not retreat afterwards, they did not apologize, and they did not give interviews saying that in reality, they were slaves to money.
How could these people stand up for what they thought was right and not move their position an inch when it was obvious that the government would crack down on those who openly denied their rule?
They are not the richest people in Turkey, so they cannot think that they are too big to fail for the country. They are not the bravest of us all, as they have a lot of things to lose, and when you have a lot to lose, you can be brave but you cannot be crazy.
To me, the answer is simple: technology and Internet entrepreneurs succeeded without getting help from the government in any way. So they are not tied to the government to survive, which makes them free to pass judgment.
These people are the new elite, and the people who work for them are the new bourgeoisie of Turkey, and unlike the great families and their workers, they don’t owe the government a dime.
This creates all kinds of difficulties for the authorities. They cannot really control the new elite or the new working class.
They cannot threaten them by excluding from government tenders, they cannot put pressure on their wages – the government has absolutely no chains to hold them down. These are the kind of people that can work and earn as much money that they are earning now in any other part of the world.
I am very hopeful that when technology entrepreneurs reach their 40s, they will dominate NGO and political circles. Then we will see the real change.