Border as "Zone of Indistinction": The State of Exception and the Spectacle of Terror Along Turkey's Border With Syria
Turkey's border with Syria today is a laboratory in which biopolitics and the spectacle coincide in new ways. As a consequence of the ongoing war between the state and Kurdish insurgents, and the state of emergency accompanying it, this border region has incrementally transformed into a zone of indistinction in which the spatial concepts of inside and outside interpenetrate. As exception is normalized, the logic of the camp (in Agamben's sense) tends to become a dispositif. Exceptional routines are being exercised in this border region both to (re)construct the figure of the Kurd as a citizen and to generalize the domain of the camp, while also producing bare life in the context of counterterrorism. However, the Kurd as a subject cannot be ambiguously constructed, neither can the region be politically homogenized. Based on multisited fieldwork in the border city of Mardin, I claim that this zone of indistinction is simultaneously the place of revolt and resistance for the Kurdish case. Against this backdrop, the article argues the practical implications of counterterrorism policies in the region by focusing on how the state of exception is enforced on the Kurdish population as a biopolitical tool while being represented as a public spectacle to the rest of Turkey.