The Rhetoric of Leftist Political and Social Movements in Turkey in the 1970s
Leftist political movements faced the repressive state control in Turkey from their early beginning in the Ottoman Empire and in the first years of the new Turkish Republic. The repression reached its peak in the 1950s’ political atmosphere of anti-communism supported by the US. In 1961, a new and more democratic constitution was accepted which recognized social and democratic rights. Trade union rights were within the protection of the new constitution; the freedom of speech was recognized fully and it was the first time in Turkish history that a socialist party could legally be established. So, in the 1960s and especially in 1970s, socialists had the opportunity to start and generate a public debate about their organization and deployment problems using plenty of books, journals, newspapers, pamphlets, posters, flags, wall paintings, slogans, new anthems, etc. They created a language and tradition for the Turkish Left for (and through) the use of such media. Analysing this language and tradition is very important because although left-wing politics is one of the most important components of democracy and plurality, the Left has never got to play an effective role in parliamentary democracy in Turkey. This PhD project aims to analyze the rhetoric of the leftist political and social movements in the 1970s in Turkey. In the light of the literature on rhetoric of social movements, this project aims to explore the way leftwing political and social movements constructed their public sphere through their rhetoric, containing the particularities of the leftist movement jargon. Specifically, my research project will focus on their ways of addressing people, the tropes with metaphors, ironies, myths, narrations they use, the main characteristics of their radical media use and the relation between their communication problems and rhetoric. The analysis will focus on the rhetoric of specific political parties (the Turkish Workers Party, the Turkish Communist Party etc.) and socialist organisations (the Confederation of Revolutionist Youth, the Confederation of the Revolutionist Way etc.) of that era. The methods of the different disciplines (sociology, communication studies, and language/literature studies) will be applied. The media materials will be analyzed via the quantitative and qualitative methods of textual analysis. To investigate the struggles over meaning among the leftist parties and organisations, between them and their rivals, the ideographic analysis of Michael C. McGee (1999) and a frame analysis will be used. Finally, in-depth interviews with the leaders of the parties and organisations will also be conducted.