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Boycotting Neo-Ottoman Cool

Geopolitics and Media Industries in the Egypt-Turkey Row over Television Drama

Marwan M. Kraidy

Abstract

In the 2000s, Turkish-Arab relations warmed up, and the rising popularity of Turkish television dramas in the Arab world was part of an overall ‘zero-problem with neighbors’ realignment initiated by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP). However, Turkey’s involvement in the Arab uprisings complicated this rapprochement. The Turkish government, given their doctrinal proximity, supported the Muslim Brotherhood governments that were elected in Tunisia and Egypt, and then entered the fray of the Syrian uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. After the Egyptian military deposed the elected president and Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad Morsi in a June 2013 coup, Egypt-Turkish relations deteriorated, as manifest in the Egyptian media industry boycott of Turkish television dramas. In this paper, by examining Arabic-language, mostly Egyptian primary sources, I analyze the geopolitical, economic and media dimensions of the Egyptian boycott of Turkish productions from Egypt’s perspective, and cast a new light on state-media relations in the Arab world and the interaction between media industries and shifting geopolitics.

Does Journalism Exist in Turkey?

Constraints on and Struggles in the Field of Journalism in the Post-coup Context

Altug Akin

Abstract

In this article, I analyze the post-coup media and communications environment in Turkey with a particular focus on the practice of journalism, which is becoming increasingly complicated. Following an approach that considers both the constraints imposed on journalism and struggle for news-making, this study represents an attempt to better comprehend the most recent condition of the field of journalism in Turkey, where both producing the news and making sense of the news have become increasingly arduous endeavors. In order to study the structural constraints and struggles of journalists and news organizations, I deploy Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory as a theoretical framework to scrutinize the current situation of journalism in Turkey.

Introduction

Media, Politics and Culture in Turkey, the Middle East and Beyond

Altug Akin and Bilge Yesil

Local Broadcasting as Tactical Media

Exploring Practices of Kurdish Activism and Journalism in Turkey

Ece Algan

Abstract

Against the backdrop of struggles that local broadcasters in Turkey who advocate for Kurdish minority rights have endured, I discuss local broadcast journalists’ tactics for creating and maintaining programming that caters to the ongoing Kurdish conflict. Local ethnic broadcasting in Kurdish provinces has long strived to offer an alternative discourse than that of the state propaganda and to mobilize political support within and outside Turkey. In order to illustrate the role of Kurdish activist journalism in political mobilization, I analyze examples of local radio programming from 2010 to 2013, a period during which broadcasters in Kurdish provinces enjoyed relative freedom. I aim to illustrate the instrumentality of activist journalism in an authoritarian regime, and the ways in which local broadcasting is utilized as tactical media by both activist journalists and the community they serve.

Burak Doğu

Abstract

Twitter has often been associated with recent social movements, particularly in the Middle East region. It was also used widely in Turkey during and after the nationwide Gezi protests of 2013. In this article, I study the political engagement practices on Twitter with a particular focus on the post-Gezi environmental protests, and reflect on how emergent protest ecologies are shaped through the participation of the diverse stakeholders. Based on an analysis of three environmental protests in Yirca, Iztuzu and Cerattepe, I highlight the role of Twitter as a political platform connecting players across protests. Findings indicate that Twitter plays a significant role in expanding protest networks and enabling the congregation of a wide variety of players, such as environmental movement organizations, media, political figures and activists who then help to sustain their resistance movements.

Religion on Air

The Birth and Transformation of Religious Broadcasting in Turkey

Burak Özçetin

Abstract

In this article, I discuss the emergence and transformation of Islamic television broadcasting in Turkey. In the 1990s, Islamic channels were launched as a challenge to the so-called moral degeneracy of infotainment channels and claimed to represent an alternative form and content. However, far from presenting an alternative broadcasting style, Islamic channels rapidly succumbed to the logic of capital and the imperatives of commercial broadcasting. I argue that the transformation of Islamic broadcasting is related to the overall transformation of Islamism in Turkey.

#TurkeyIsNotAChicken

How Pro-government Netizens Explain the Coup Attempt to Western Audiences

Bilge Yesil

Abstract

In this article, I analyze pro-AKP actors’ grassroots communications in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 coup attempt. I explore the Twitter participation of non-state actors in this momentous political event, with the specific aim of shaping western audiences’ understanding of the failed coup and countering western criticism of post-coup security measures. I do not evaluate pro-AKP netizens’ Twitter communications in terms of their effectiveness in influencing western public opinion; instead I focus on the underlying anti-hegemonic and Occidentalist ideological positions. Through a discourse analysis of English-language Twitter posts, I argue that the engagement of non-state actors on behalf of the AKP government was not simply informed by nationalist mobilization, but rather by an Occidentalist exigency to invert the hegemonic western discourse about Turkey and Turks.