In the last two decades Turkey has been facing a major expansion and extension of its societal metabolism. This period has witnessed the rise of energy, mining and construction sectors as the engines of growth, operationalized under an ever-increasing autocratic form of governance under the unquestioned commitment to economic growth. This process has not only taken place through the overall intensification of energy throughput but also via the underpinnings of the neoliberal growth paradigm and the drastic socio-economic transformations this implies. This is predominantly mirrored through megaprojects, mining disasters, the gold rush to real estate and rapid urban transformation.
By focusing on the energy metabolism of Turkey and the associated socio-ecological conflicts in the period 1994-2014, this paper reflects on the concepts of securitization, commodification and privatization of energy resources. In doing so, it conducts a diagnostic of Turkey’s energetic metabolism and traces the consequences of the metabolic intensification with a focus on the eroding democratic decision-making on energy, a key debate in degrowth. In the face of an increasingly authoritarian energy agenda, we also observe the rise of an alternative albeit currently weak political agenda backed up by grassroots movements and environmental movements. We scrutinize the option space of democratizing political currents through alternative forms of organization to ultimately investigate the potentialities of a possible “energy democracy” as an infringing force to a democracy in crisis. We conclude with the potentials of and barriers to the construction of a different democratic energy model in Turkey.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Challenging Turkey’s Energetic Metabolism “ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.