Turkey’s Image in the British Press: representations, discourses, ideologies
A common finding in research on Turkey’s political image in Europe is that it is divided into historically negative (oriental, backward, poor, culturally different, Islamic, post-Ottoman) and recently constructive (soft power, bridge between East and West, young, secular, democratic, multicultural, Muslim) rhetoric. Turkey’s representation in foreign media has received little academic attention in the past, and the studies that have been carried out, are limited in scope and mostly focus on Turkey’s EU accession talks. Among the many actors who contribute to the image of Turkey are news media and their journalists, who socially construct news stories about foreign countries. Journalists use the available cultural resources, narratives, shared common discourses and knowledge which is taken for granted and with which the intended audience is familiar. They select and construct the events and opinions that fit in with their format and language. Therefore, the questions of what foreign journalists actually select to cover Turkey and what kind of image they spread or propagate about modern Turkey still remain as an underdeveloped field to be analysed. While looking for the answer to this question, we benefit from the aforementioned theoretical classifications of social construction of news and news production. My research aims to contribute to the body of journalistic research by highlighting the image of Turkey from a broader perspective, by considering not only political, but also socio-cultural and travel/tourism news. In doing so, I intend to fill a gap by showing what particular arguments/issues/themes were put for or against and discussed and what kind of discourses about Turkey have become much more visible or invisible in the quality versus the popular press, in respect of politics, culture and travel news. In this respect, my study offers a concrete empirical case of how the news media of an ally country, Britain, construct ‘the image of Turkey’ through various contested negative and/ or positive discourses. My analysis covers a five-year period between 2005 and 2010 and looks at three broadsheets (Daily Telegraph, Guardian and Financial Times) and three tabloids (the Sun, Mirror and Daily Mail). In my methodology, first I apply content analysis to map general coverage regarding Turkey; this is followed by a critical discourse analysis. Here I look at how news stories are socially constructed through various types of existing discourses; and at the linguistic elements, metaphors and jargon used in the press by applying a comparative analysis to quality versus tabloid press.