A comparative analysis of ideologically opposed Turkish newspapers’ coverage of the Gezi Park protests, which was a wave of pro-democracy movement in Turkey, is critical because the media not only have a strong influence on opinion formation (Fairclough, 1989) but also provide the most relevant context for observing controversial interpretations and practices of democracy in Turkey. Although previous research on the media framing of social movements (Chan & Lee, 1984; Dardis, 2006; Hackett & Zhao, 1994; McLeod & Hertog, 1999) has shown that the media delegitimized the protests to serve the interests of the political status quo, it is expected that a much more complicated attitude may be revealed in the Turkish media because of the protest issue and polarized media. To this end, I triangulate corpus linguistics with frame analysis to explore discrepancies between the right and left wing newspapers’ coverage of the protests. Contrary to previous studies, no sort of unanimity on the side of the political authority is observed in Turkish media. While right wing newspapers widely use delegitimizing frames to portray the protests as an international plot or a masquerade, left wing newspapers only use legitimizing frames to deem the protests as a reasonable reaction to the controversial policies of the government. The findings of this study provide a new understanding of changing media attitudes toward social mobilizations in an era which has witnessed a series of movements for democracy and equality.
I thank the editors and anonymous reviewers for their insightful advice and guidance. I am also indebted to Alper Helvaci for his suggestions on the quantitative analysis.
Koca-Helvacı, Z.C. (2016), "Anarchy or Utopia? Turkish Media Representation of the Gezi Park Protests", Protest, Social Movements and Global Democracy Since 2011: New Perspectives (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 39), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 221-250. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0163-786X20160000039010Download as .RIS
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