H. AKIN UNVER is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Kadir Has University, Istanbul.
HASSAN ALASSAAD is CEO and Founder of Eqlim , a data and analytics company based in Beirut.
The Arab Spring movement has long been characterized as a primarily secular phenomenon that was powered by social media. But some scholars, such as Kat Eghdamian, Seyla Benhabib, Michael Hoffman, and Amaney Jamalhave challenged this narrative, arguing that mosques were a silent but central driver of the Arab Spring. Eghdamian, in particular, makes a convincing case that mosque networks acted as anchors across socio-economic strata, unified grievances, and legitimized and helped support popular mobilization. Although convincing, these arguments often lack empirical evidence, mostly because there hasn’t been enough measurable data on how mosque networks operate in relation to digital media in times of crises. But the recent coup attempt in Turkey, which generated one of the most successful hybrid, religious–political mobilizations in the country’s history, could bridge that gap, thanks to widespread access to digital media, as well as the emergence of new analytical tools.
Read the rest on Foreign Affairs: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2016-09-14/how-turks-mobilized-against-coup