Trees and umbrellas: a parallel reading of the Istanbul Gezi Park Movement and the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement

Suner A.

INTER-ASIA CULTURAL STUDIES, vol.18, no.1, pp.104-119, 2017 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14649373.2017.1277833
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.104-119


This paper makes a parallel reading of two recent urban protest movements: the 2013 Istanbul Gezi Park Movement (GPM) and the 2014 Hong Kong Umbrella Movement (UM). As regional centers at both ends of Asia, Istanbul and Hong Kong might at frst sight appear to be incongruent cities for comparison. Istanbul's recent past has been defined by contrasting opinions about the city's post-imperial identity, while Hong Kong's recent past has been shaped by competing visions around the city's post-colonial status. Directing attention to the striking parallels between the GPM and UM in terms of the nature of the events themselves, the profile of the participants and opponents, the government response that they received, and the cultural sensitivities concerning the questions of belonging and identity that they rekindled, the paper argues that comparative studies of the new urban protest movements would provide significant insights for discerning the dynamics of emerging illiberal democracies across the world.