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What is happening in Turkey?

The relationship between politics, traditional media and online media

Annemijn van der Veer Masters Thesis Political Science, International Relations Supervisor: Dr. Tjitske Akkerman Second Reader: Dr. Philip van Praag University of Amsterdam, January 2014

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Introduction 4

1. Political environment 1.1. The different notions of democracy 1.2. Hybrid regimes

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2. The relationship between politics, commercialization and media 2.1. The importance of the media 2.2. The role of the state in shaping the media 2.3. The commercialization of the media 2.4. Political environment, commercialization and media system logics combined 2.5. Online media 2.6. The relationship between online media and politics 2.7. Research methods

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3. The political environment of Turkey 3.1. The political set-up 3.2. Kemalist Turkey 3.3. Turkey under AKP rule 3.4. Hybrid Turkey

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4. Media in Turkey 4.1. Traditional media 4.2. Online media 4.3. Turkish media: obstacles and challenges

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Conclusion

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References

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Appendices Appendix A | Interview questions Appendix B | Respondents Appendix C | Interviews C1. Interview 1 C2. Interview 2 C3. Interview 3 C4. Interview 4 C5. Interview 5 C6. Interview 6 C7. Interview 7 C8. Interview 8 C9. Interview 9"

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INTRODUCTION
On May 30 2013, police in Istanbul broke up a small protest by around hundred environmentalists, using teargas, beating the demonstrators and burning their tents. The brutal response of the government touched a nerve. Within a few days, thousands of people had taken to the streets in Istanbul. What started as a protest against building a shopping mall and commercializing Gezi Park, quickly transformed into massive anti-government demonstrations demanding civil rights and basic freedoms. During the protests, the government repeatedly showed zero tolerance for any form of protest and consistently used excessive force, including water cannons, teargas and plastic bullets. Where news channels abroad soon covered the Gezi protests, in Turkey itself there was a deafening silence among the traditional media. Instead of covering the initial demonstrations, Turkish news channels chose to air documentaries about penguins or to continue with their talk shows. However, while these traditional media failed to report on the protests, social and online media became increasingly popular sources of information in Turkey (Amnesty International, 2013a: 7). Countless reports of abuse and police brutality were shared via social media and the government soon reacted harshly, especially against Twitter by calling it the worst menace of the society (Freedom House, 2013c). When reading about the Gezi protests, it may be hard to believe that Turkey has long been promoted as a role model for the successful fusion of Islam and democracy. Turkey is often described as the bridge between Europe and Asia, or more concretely, the Middle East. Eight countries border Turkey: Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Nakhchivan (Azerbaijani exclave), Iran, Iraq and Syria. Over 75 million people live in Turkey and the vast majority of the population is Muslim.1 Turkeys location at the crossroads of (a mainly democratic) Europe and (a mainly undemocratic) Middle East, in combination with its Islamic identity, makes it a highly interesting country to study. Since the general elections in 2002, the members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have held a majority of seats in parliament. While having an Islamic foundation, the party portrays itself as conservative democratic. In 1999, the European Council granted Turkey the status of candidate country and in order to comply with the Copenhagen Criteria2, the AKP pushed through some major reforms, including limits on the power of the military, which was long seen as one of the central obstacles toward democratic consolidation. In 2005, the formal European Union (EU) accession negotiations started. However, despite this, the

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Turkey. Available at: http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/turkey.htm Every new European Union Member State has to meet these criteria, including stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities
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AKP has since moved into a different direction (Freedom House, 2013a). Many international organizations are concerned about the creeping authoritarianism of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a trend that strongly affects the Turkish media. The World Press Freedom Index 2013 of Reporters Without Borders (RWB) puts Turkey in 154th place out of 179 countries, in total 54 places down since 2006.3 Triggered by the shift of Turkey into a different (more undemocratic?) direction and the deafening silence among the Turkish traditional media during the demonstrations in summer 2013, this thesis will analyze the relationship between traditional media and politics under AKP rule. The political dimension of this relationship will serve as a starting point of analysis. Many scholars and organizations are divided about the democratic status of Turkey, but they all agree that Turkey is an ambiguous country that needs to be placed somewhere between democracy and authoritarianism. In this thesis, the political system of Turkey under the AKP will be assessed as a hybrid regime. The media part will then be analyzed using a typology of media system logics, outlined by Brants and Van Praag (2005) and Krasnoboka and Brants (2002).4 Each logic implies a particular ideal-type configuration of the relationship between politics and the media. The state-media relations in Turkey will be analyzed by using six media system characteristics: media regulation, media ownership, censorship, agendasetting, media identification and the role of journalists.5 Four media system logics can be identified, of which three are embedded in a democratic political environment and one that can be found in a (formally or informally) non-democratic country: state logic. Consequently, the presence of state logic in a country would indicate a democratic deficit. Under this logic, the state holds total control over the media and defines what is and particularly what is not said. It is this very last logic that is of special interest for this thesis. Does Turkey suffer from a democratic deficit, because the traditional media system can be characterized as being dominated by state logic? However, as the example of the protests in Gezi Park demonstrated, it does not suffice anymore to characterize media systems exclusively by looking at the traditional media. Therefore, this thesis will also analyze the role of online media in Turkey. While the Gezi protests have tarnished the image of the Turkish traditional news media even further, new stars have arisen: online and social media (in this thesis referred as only online media). If state logic can be observed in Turkey, are online media able to circumvent or, possibly, even

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Press Freedom Index 2013. Available at: http://en.rsf.org/spip.php?page=classement&id_rubrique=1054 4 Brants and Van Praag already outlined their typology of media system logics in earlier publications, but this thesis will refer to their publication of 2005. The same applies to Brants and Krasnoboka, who already introduced state logic in 2001. This thesis will however refer to their publication in 2002. 5 Brants and Van Praag (2005) and Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) distinguish together eight media system characteristics, but this thesis will only use six characteristics in order to analyze the Turkish media system. The characteristics will be discussed in detail in chapter two.

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undermine state logic (elements)? Here, it should be noted that, besides the rising concerns about the economic and political pressures on the traditional media, the AKP is also looking for (legal) ways to control the online discourse. In taking account of the role of online media in Turkey, attention will be given to the relationship between politics and online media and to the connection between traditional media and online media. In this part of the research, the media system characteristics of Brants and Van Praag (2005) and Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) will also play a leading role. The story so far can be summarized in the following research question, which will guide the research carried out for this thesis: to what extent is the relationship between politics and traditional news media in Turkey characterized by state logic and what is the role of online media? The thesis is structured as follows. Because the political dimension of the relationship is taken as a starting point of analysis, chapter one will discuss the concepts of democracy, followed by an outline on the political category of hybrid regime. Chapter two of this thesis will shed a light on the importance of media, their ideal role in democratic systems and the media system logics that were already briefly introduced above. Further, the commercialization of the media will be addressed. Many scholars assume that this worldwide trend of commercialization of the media is a step forward in the direction of democracy as it gives media independence from the state. However, in some countries close alliances between media owners and the state may lead to a continuous control of the government over media output. It is therefore important to assess the relations between the Turkish state and media owners. Finally, the relationship between the political environment, commercialization and media system logics are summarized and operationalized in a new typology consisting of four media system logics. Apart from traditional media, this chapter will also discuss online media as an alternative platform and their relationship with politics and traditional media. In the final paragraph, the research methods of the thesis will be outlined. Chapters three and four will apply theory to practice. In chapter three, the political part of the relationship between politics and media in Turkey will be analyzed. The findings of chapter one will serve as a theoretical basis of this chapter. Chapter four is the main empirical part of the thesis and will analyze the traditional media system and the role of online media in Turkey. Here, the results of the research on the media system characteristics of both traditional and online media will be presented. Finally, in the last section of this thesis, conclusions will be drawn that make clear to what extent the traditional media system in Turkey is dominated by state logic and what role online media play in Turkey.

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CHAPTER 1 Political environment


In this thesis the political half of the relationship between politics and media is taken as a starting point of analysis. As briefly discussed in the introduction, three media system logics are embedded in a democratic political environment, in contradiction to state logic that can be found in a (formally or informally) non-democratic political system. In order to analyze the characterization of the relationship between politics and media, it is important to identify the political environment of the country under study. Many scholars however are divided about the democratic status of Turkey and have problems defining its political system. Throughout history, scholars have come up with several definitions of democracy, which can be broadly divided into the minimalist category, that emphasizes political competition and participation, and the extensive (liberal) category, that stresses the importance of civil liberties and political rights. These different definitions are highly important for the identification of the political environment of a country. Many countries that are qualified as a democracy by the minimalist conception, fall short by the definition of liberal democracy. For these ambiguous countries, scholars and politicians have come up with new political categories, such as illiberal democracy and semi-consolidated authoritarian regimes (Morlino, 2008: 1). Many scholars and organizations describe the Turkish political system differently. However, they all agree that Turkey is an ambiguous country and needs to be placed somewhere between democracy and authoritarianism. Because of the limited scope of this thesis, it is impossible to shed light on all the different positions about Turkey. Therefore, this chapter will give an outline of the political category of hybrid regime, which combines authoritarian elements and democratic elements and is actually a collective noun for more specific diminished forms of democracy (Morlino, 2009: 274). According to the Democracy Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) (2012), Turkey is best described as a hybrid regime. Furthermore, Freedom House (2013a) describes the country as partly free, which is the concrete term closest to the notion of hybrid regimes (Morlino, 2008: 2; nis, 2013: 103). Before describing the category of hybrid regime, this chapter will first address the different notions of democracy, in which special attention will be given to the importance of civil liberties and political rights.

1.1. The different notions of democracy

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Democracy is an old concept and goes back to the ancient world. However, where the Romans

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and the Greeks were only concerned with their tribe or village, modern democracy is associated with the development of a nation-state (Huntington, 1991: 13). The initial push toward democracy occurred in the first half of the seventeenth century and in the late twentieth century many countries in the Western world possessed democratic institutions. These institutions emerged in waves of democratization. A wave of democratization is a group of transitions from non-democratic to democratic regimes that occur within a specified period of time and that significantly outnumber transitions in the opposite direction during that period of time (Huntington, 1991: 15). According to Huntington (1991: 14) there have been three waves in the twentieth century and each wave affected a relatively small number of countries. The move toward democratic systems in many nations in the twentieth century caused renewed interests in defining and measuring democracy. Many scholars tried to capture the concept of democracy, leading to a variety of definitions. First, there are minimalist versions that only emphasize the importance of elections as the essence of democracy. According to Frieden, Lake and Schultz (2010: 155) democracy is a political system in which candidates compete for political office through frequent, fair elections in which a sizable portion of the adult population can vote. This definition encompasses two major aspects: contestation, the ability of groups to compete for political power, and participation, the ability of a large portion of the population to be involved in the selection process through voting. However, Diamond (1996: 22) criticizes such minimalist conceptions because they privilege political competition and participation and ignore other important dimensions of democracy. Free elections are necessary, but not sufficient for democracy. A term that often accompanies democracy is liberal, which emphasizes civil liberties and political rights (Frieden et al., 2010: 155). Civil liberties allow for freedom of expression and religion, organizational rights and personal autonomy, and political rights enable people to participate freely in the political process.6 In liberal democracies, leaders are not only chosen by democratic means, but there are also restrictions imposed on what elected governments can do by giving citizens rights that cannot be violated. This is in line with the view of Robert Dahl (1989, in Diamond, 1996: 21), who introduced the concept of polyarchy, which requires not only extensive political competition and participation, but also alternative sources of information, substantial levels of freedom of expression and pluralism that enable citizens to form and express their political opinions in a meaningful way. Fukuyama (1992) has also played an important role in the development of liberal democracy. In his book The End of History and the Last Man (1992) he argues that the worldwide spread of liberal democracy may signal the end point of mankinds ideological

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Freedom in the world 2012, Methodology. Available at http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world-2012/methodology
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evolution and become the final form of government. According to Fukuyama (1992, introduction), liberal democracy, in contradiction to other forms of government, is free from fundamental internal contradictions. Fukuyama (1992) and Dahl (1989) both stress the importance of independent media and freedom of expression in liberal democracy. Brants and Krasnoboka (2001: 281) state that a democracy should ideally be about collective decision-making through deliberative communication, which entails open and fair discussion and debate among citizens. However, an actively participating population is only possible when citizens have actual knowledge of what is going on in their country and thus have access to independent media. There is a common understanding that a strong connection exists between mass communication and democracy. Simply put, the assumption is that for democracies to function, civil society requires access to information as a means to make informed political choices (ONeil, 1998: 1, in Vukojevic, 2009: 23). Ideally, the media should fulfill three basic functions, information, platform and watchdog (Becker and Van Praag, 2006: 157), which will be discussed in detail in the following chapter. Nowadays, most academics and politicians share the concept of liberal democracy. Several global organizations, such as Freedom House and The Economist Intelligence Unit (2012), annually measure the democratic status of countries, in which they consider political rights and civil liberties as vital components of democracy.7 Furthermore, a liberal democracy includes the rule of law (independent judiciary), an open and responsible government that can be held accountable (via free and fair elections) (Morlino, 2008: 13) and it also means that that unaccountable bodies such as the military do not play a role in general policymaking, other than to advise specifically on security-related issues (McLaren and Cop, 2011: 485). The growing emphasis on civil liberties and political rights in a democracy has had serious consequences for listing countries as a democracy. Many countries that are qualified as a democracy by the minimalist conception fall short by the definition of liberal democracy (Diamond, 1996: 22). According to Diamond (1996: 23), it is highly important that the quality of democracy is measured by the extent of political rights and civil liberties and not only by the presence of competitive elections, because the gap between both definitions has serious consequences for theory, policy and comparative analysis. The lack of consensus on what constitutes democracy is especially problematic for defining ambiguous countries. Diamond (2002: 22) here introduces the concept of hybrid regimes, which combine democratic and authoritarian elements.

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Freedom in the world 2012, Methodology. Available at http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world-2012/methodology
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1.2. Hybrid regimes

The so-called third wave of democratization, described by Huntington (1991), has resulted in a great number of transition countries, which are neither democratic nor autocratic. According to Huntington (1991), most of these countries are considered to be on their way to become well-established democracies. Literature so far has always focused on explaining how regimes move toward democracy (Morlino, 2009: 274). However, is the focus on transition and change always justified? In recent years there has been growing interest in the term hybrid regime, which involves those countries that have acquired some of the characteristic institutions and procedures of democracy, but no others, and, at the same time, have either retained some authoritarian or traditional features, or lost some elements of democracy and acquired some authoritarian ones (Morlino, 2008: 7). Hybrid regime is actually a collective noun for more specific diminished forms of democracy (partial democracy; illiberal democracy; semi-consolidated authoritarianism et cetera). Morlino (2009: 277) argues that when one of the requirements of liberal democracy is not met, there is no longer a democratic regime but some other political set-up, marked by uncertainty and ambiguity. However, regimes are more permanent forms of political organization, consequently hybrid regimes are in some way stabilized and can be seen as an autonomous political model next to democracy and authoritarianism (Morlino, 2009: 294). Diamond (2002: 23) asserts that nowadays all hybrid regimes are pseudodemocratic. In the current world, democracy is the only broadly legitimate regime form and countries have felt (international and domestic) pressure to adopt democratic institutions. [...] The existence of formally democratic political institutions, such as multiparty electoral competition, masks (often, in part, to legitimate) the reality of authoritarian domination (Diamond, 2002: 23). As mentioned above, a hybrid regime is a collective noun for more specific diminished forms of democracy. Consequently, many different combinations of democratic and authoritarian elements within a hybrid regime are possible. A specific form of hybrid regime is illiberal democracy, denoting an electoral democracy in which civil liberties are compromised. In these countries, free and fair elections take place, but civil liberties are not fully protected and governmental power is not limited with liberal principles (Zakaria, 1997: 23). According to Morlino (2008: 10), the notion of illiberal democracy coincides with his definition of limited democracy:
One can talk of a limited democracy when there is male suffrage, a formally correct electoral procedure, elective posts occupied on the basis of those elections and a multiparty system, but civil rights are not guaranteed, there is no effective party-level opposition, and, above all, the media are compromised by a situation of monopoly to the point that part of the population is effectively prevented from exercising their rights.

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In his study, Morlino (2008: 13) places Turkey in this particular category, which is a subcategory of hybrid regimes or partly free countries. According to Zakaria (1997: 26) illiberal (or limited) democratic governments believe they have permission to act in any way they want as long as they hold elections. He argues that in Western countries democracy and civil liberties develop hand in hand, while this is not necessary the case for the rest of the world. He is especially concerned about the rise of democracies in Muslim countries and asserts that Islamic actors do not share the necessary values for embracing democracy in a sustainable way. Legalism, cultural predicament with modernity, presumed fusion of state and religion and patrimonial and discriminatory attitudes toward women and minorities conflict with democratic values (Somer, 2011: 517). In chapter three, the role of the Islam in the democratization process of Turkey will be discussed. Illiberal or limited democracies especially focus on civil liberties, but there are also other components that are considered to be vital for liberal democracy: the rule of law, the independence of judiciary, the role of the military et cetera (McLaren and Cop, 2011: 485). Turkey has a complicated past with the role of the military in policymaking and there are also concerns about the independence of the judiciary (Freedom House, 2013a). Consequently, illiberal or limited democracy may be too narrow to describe Turkeys political system. Therefore, in this thesis the category of hybrid regime will be used as a background when analyzing the political environment and media system in Turkey. This chapter has provided a description of the notions of democracy and the political category hybrid regime, albeit still at a rather general level. Therefore, chapter three will describe the political history and environment of Turkey. The theoretical concepts discussed in this chapter will form the basis for the empirical analysis of the politics in Turkey. First and foremost, however, attention will be given to the theory related to the relationship between politics and the media.

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CHAPTER 2 The relationship between politics, commercialization and media


This chapter will describe the theoretical framework that will be employed to analyze the relationship between politics and media in Turkey. The first paragraph will discuss the importance of the media in a political regime, in which its three basic functions will be outlined. In the second paragraph attention will be given to the role of the state in shaping the media. Although many scholars emphasize that the media themselves are becoming an independent force in influencing the political environment, this thesis takes the latter as the starting point of analysis (Oates, 2008). In this paragraph, the media system logics of Brants and Van Praag (2005) and Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) are central. The scholars distinguish several media system characteristics to measure which logic dominates in a country. Next, the commercialization of the media will be analyzed. Here, the theory mediapolitical clientelism of Hallin and Papathanassopoulos (2002) is important, in which close alliances (clientelist relations) between private media owners and the state play a central role. In the fourth paragraph the political environment, the commercialization of the media and the media system logics are combined and operationalized in a new typology, which will be used to study the relationship between politics and media in Turkey. Besides traditional media, this chapter also sheds light on online media. In the fifth paragraph online media are discussed as an alternative news source for citizens, in which special attention will be given to the connection between traditional media and online media. Furthermore, this chapter will also discuss the relationship between politics and online media. Finally, the research methods of this thesis will be presented.

2.1. The importance of the media


Independent media and freedom of expression are widely recognized as important dimensions of democracy. Media provide an arena for wide debate and distribute information (McQuail, 2000, in Brants & Krasnoboka, 2001: 281). According to Becker and Van Praag (2006: 157) the media should fulfill three basic functions in a democratic society: information, platform and watchdog. The first function of the media is to provide information. In most countries citizens receive the information they need through media, which serve as intermediaries that collect information and make it available to citizens (Djankov et al., 2002: 141). The media should be able to make information public,

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independently of the state and commerce, and inform citizens about developments that are of concern to the public sphere. An important aspect is to inform about policy plans and the implementation by the state (Becker & Van Praag, 2006: 157). The second function is the platform function. The media should offer citizens and groups the opportunity to express and discuss their feelings concerning societal and political issues, and consequently to form a public opinion. The platform function can be seen as a bottom-up function toward politics. In the third place the media should serve as a (critical) watchdog, checking the state at truth finding and reviewing the promises the government makes, the decisions it takes and the exercise of power by its officials. When the media fulfill these three basic functions, they will enable citizens to make effective and rational choices about the exercise of state power, people will more likely to participate in politics and will be more able to have meaningful opinions on public issues (Aalberg et al., 2010: 256). Besides these three basic functions, different scholars have introduced supplementary functions of the media. According to McNair (2003, in Becker & Van Praag, 2006: 157) the media also have a so-called education function. Since the 1950s media, and especially television, have become an integral part of social life and fulfill an important function in educating and socializing citizens. Further, the media also have an entertainment function in the sense that they offer relaxation and a way to escape stressful life (Becker & Van Praag, 2006: 157). Definitely, democracy functions best when its citizens are politically informed. Subsequently, media play a crucial role and it may be even stated that without a well functioning media system a democracy cannot function, because the condition of citizen participation, emphasized by Brants and Krasnoboka (2001: 281), is not met. A crucial question is how the media should be optimally organized: should they be state owned or privately owned? The following part will analyze the role of the state in shaping the media. After, the commercialization of the media will be discussed.

2.2. The role of the state in shaping the media


There are three main reasons why information should be provided by a state-owned monopoly. First, information is a public good and should be available for everyone. Second, the cost of the provision and dissemination of information is high, however once costs are incurred, the marginal costs of making the information available are low and are therefore subject to increasing returns. Thirdly, state media ownership can be less biased and more complete (Djankov et al., 2001: 1). However, above scenario assumes a benevolent government, a less well willing state can lead to a different conclusion. A government monopoly in the media could distort and manipulate information to strengthen the state, hinder citizens from making informed decisions and in the end undermine democracy

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(Djankov et al., 2001: 2). In many countries, the relationship between media and politics is problematic and according to Kaya and akmur (2010: 521) most of the media are still politically differentiated along with political orientations. Here, they introduce the concept of political parallelism, which is the degree and nature of the links between the media and political parties or, more broadly, the extent to which the media system reflect the major political divisions in society (Kaya & akmur, 2010: 522). Several scholars have introduced dimensions and characteristics to identify the relationship between the state and media in countries, including Brants and Van Praag (2005), Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) and Oates (2008). According to Oates (2008: 3), it is important to make clear which element of the relationship between politics, here labeled by Oates as the political environment, and media is under analysis: are you examining the effect that the media have on politics or the impact that the political system has on the media system? (Oates, 2008: 3). The main focus of this thesis is the impact of the political context on the media system. Oates (2008: 3) divides the media system in three categories: news production, the content of news and the reaction of the audience. Because of the limited scope and a language barrier, this thesis will only examine news production, which encompasses all factors that are involved in the creation of media output, varying from broadcasts to Internet content. These factors include the political environment, media norms, media regulation, media ownership, and journalism and the profession of public relations (Oates, 2008: 4). These five dimensions can be approached as filters, which range from broader to narrow. Each filter defines the score on the filter(s) below (Oates, 2008: 25).
! Political Environment ! ! Media Norms ! ! Media Regulation ! ! Media Ownership ! Journalism

Figure 1 / The News Production Model (Oates, 2008: 26) The political environment filter is the broadest one and therefore defines the content of all filters that follow, ending in media output. Oates (2008: 25) defines the political environment as the general political condition of a country and sees it as a crucial variable when analyzing the media system. Media norms, media regulation and media ownership are the other filters that define journalistic output. However, because these dimensions are under-operationalized by Oates (2008), the News Production Model will be supplemented by the typology of media system logics, outlined by Brants and Van Praag (2005) and Krasnoboka and Brants (2002).

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Brants and Van Praag (2005) outline a typology of media system logics. Each logic implies a particular ideal-type configuration of the relationship between politics and the media. The scholars distinguish three logics, all embedded in a democratic political environment: partisan logic, public logic and media logic. Partisan logic means a close connection between the media and the political parties, where the latter dominate the former one (Brants & Van Praag, 2005: 6). Under public logic, media are more emancipated, but they remain respectful toward the political establishment (Brants & Van Praag, 2005: 7). Under media logic, journalists are independent and dominant, determining their own agendas. However, here, the media are mostly concerned with the demands of the citizens (consumers), consequently the entertainment function of the media is prevalent. For their research on the Russian and Ukrainian media systems Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) also used the typology of media logics as their theoretical framework and looked for the logic that best describes these developments. Here, Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) added a fourth logic to the typology, called state logic, which fitted the undemocratic traditions in both countries. It is the only logic that can be found in a (formally and informally) nondemocratic environment. Consequently, the presence of state logic in a country would indicate a democratic deficit. Under this logic, the state holds control over the media and defines what is and particularly what is not said. Truth and truth finding are often suppressed and censored, content is one-sided and often propagandistic (Krasnoboka & Brants, 2002: 5). Brants and Van Praag (2005) distinguish five media system characteristics to measure which logic dominates in a country: media identification, addressing of the audience, the role of journalists, agenda-setting, and the nature of the news. Brants and Van Praag (2005: 7) argue that the media, in order to be a true mediator between the government and the population, ideally should identify themselves with the public interest and use this identification as the foundation for their reporting. However, in a non-democratic society journalists usually identify themselves with the state (Krasnoboka & Brants, 2002: 8). The second characteristic is addressing of the audience. In a democracy, the audience should be approached as consisting of citizens who need relevant political information in order to make effective decisions. In contrast under partisan logic and state logic, the audience is seen as consisting of subjects who are passive receivers of information (Brants & Van Praag, 2005: 6; Vukojevic, 2009: 40). The role of journalists in a democratic system should be of a critical watchdog, where in non-democratic countries journalists are more employed as lapdogs by the government or actively spread propaganda (Krasnoboka & Brants, 2002: 8). Journalists are considered to be lapdogs when they are uncritical of political parties or institutions. When spreading propaganda, a journalist is not only uncritical but also tries to persuade citizens to think in a certain manner (consistent with the government) (Papandrea, 2008: 249). The fourth

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characteristic is agenda-setting. Dearing and Rogers (1996, in Vukojevic, 2009: 39) identify three main components in the agenda-setting process: the media agenda, the public agenda and the policy agenda. First, an issue is placed on the media agenda, and then it is taken over by public agenda. If the issue at hand gets enough attention by the media and the public, it might end up on the political agenda (Vukojevic, 2009: 39). This thesis will only look at the setting of the media agenda. Here, an important aspect is gatekeeping. Journalists serve as gatekeepers of media messages, selecting newsworthy stories among daily events. In traditional media, the government, politicians and companies can exert considerable influence on the gatekeeping process of news selection (Kim & Lee, 2007: 11). The final characteristic is the nature of news, concerning the objectivity and news value of the media. In figure 2 the five characteristics are combined with the four media logics.
State Logic Media identification Addressing of the audience The role of journalists Agenda-setting Nature of the news Party State Subject Partisan Logic Political Parties Subject Public Logic Public Interest Citizen Media Logic Public Wishes Citizen Consumer Dominant Media Interpretative Less contentrelated

Propaganda Lapdog State Biased and onesided

Lapdog Political Parties Biased Content-related

Respectful Assertive Political Parties Descriptive Content-related

Figure 2 / Four media system logics and five characteristics to identify them (modified version: Brants & Van Praag, 2005: 12, combined with Krasnoboka & Brants, 2002: 5, 8).8 Both partisan logic and state logic are characterized by close connections between media and politics. However, the main difference is that politics in partisan logic stands for multiple political parties that operate in a democratic, pluralist setting. Under state logic politics can be equated with one party, and often directly with the state (Vukojevic, 2009: 33). In line with the dimensions of Oates (2008), Krasnoboka and Brants (2002: 8) have added the following characteristics in order to identify state logic: state interference, censorship, media law and media ownership. State interference is a very broad concept and is closely related to the characteristics media law and censorship. Consequently, this thesis will not discuss state interference as a separate characteristic.

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The characteristics nature of news and addressing of the audience (under state logic) were not included in the figure of Krasnoboka and Brants (2002: 8) and are filled in on the basis of their publications (Brants & Krasnoboka, 2001: 301; 2002: 20)
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Censorship is a specific form of state interference and is defined as the suppression of all forms of criticism. Here, the ruling class consciously and willingly prevents the public from obtaining certain information (Arsan, 2013: 447). This can be done in a direct way by closing alternative publications, restricting access to electronic communication, and centralizing news services within an oversight framework (ONeil, 1998, in Vukojevic, 2009: 39). Censorship can also be done indirectly by pressuring media outlets and journalists. Here one can think of measures such as economic sanctions or harassment. In extreme situations, journalists can be jailed, tortured or murdered. In many cases, censorship is internalized by journalists who (out of fear) end up withdrawing their true (critical) opinions from the audience, leading to self-censorship. Censorship threatens democracy, because it forcefully hinders the free flow of information (Arsan, 2013: 448). The other characteristics added by Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) were also mentioned by Oates (2008). The first one is media regulation. In every country there is a specific regulation of the media, which is laid down in the different media laws of a country. In a democratic country the media law is based on the principle freedom of speech (Oates, 2008: 27). In the opposite situation freedom of expression is ignored and overshadowed by repressive laws (Krasnoboka & Brants, 2002: 8). The last added characteristic is media ownership. Interesting is the difference between state owned media and privately owned media. In a democracy, most media are privately owned and assumed to be independent, in contradiction to non-democratic systems where media are under direct control of the state. However, are public and private media as black and white as they are being presented? The following part will address the commercialization of the media and its challenges and opportunities. After this paragraph, the relations between the political environment, commercialization and the media system logics will be summarized in a new typology.

2.3. The commercialization of the media


As mentioned above, media are expected to provide relevant political information in order to give citizens the opportunity to hold their government accountable and to make informed choices. It is uncertain whether recent changes in the media environment have led to an increased public affairs knowledge (Aalberg et al., 2010: 256). According to Hallin and Mancini (2004: 279) one of the most difficult questions to sort out, is whether commercialization has increased or decreased the flow of political information and discussion. Commercialization is shifting media systems away from the world of politics and toward the world of commerce (Hallin & Mancini, 2004: 277). According to Aalberg, Aelst and Curran (2010: 257) political information is now more widely available than ever before, but this does not mean that the flow of this information is better. Nowadays, journalism is

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more about producing entertainment and information that can be sold to individual consumers. In Europe, the scholars witness a difference between the traditional public service channels and the commercial channels where the focus is more oriented toward entertainment and sports. They assert that commercial media have a structural bias in disfavoring news (Aalberg et al., 2010: 258). Related to democracy, there are two different opinions about the commercialization trend of media. Where some argue that commercialization is a threat to the democratic society, since it may result in profit making becoming more important than journalistic quality (Aalberg et al., 2010: 257), others assert that the role of private and competitive media are important for the checks-and-balances system of modern democracy (Djankov et al., 2001: 2). With the commercialization, the media themselves are becoming increasingly central in setting the agenda of political communication, which is often at the expense of politicians (Hallin & Mancini, 2004: 279). In most of the cases the shift to a globalized market and the growth of private and commercial broadcasting will decrease the degree of political parallelism (Kaya & akmur, 2010: 521). In some countries, the free market came to be seen as the only option for democratic broadcasting, while intensified competition was presented as safeguarding the rights of the informed citizens (Machin and Papatheodorou, 2002, in Christensen, 2007: 184). However, sometimes an alliance between media owners and the state is present (arkoglu & Yavuz, 2010: 618). Consequently, although media firms are privately owned, the government still influences the reporting of these media. Hallin and Papathanassopoulos (2002: 184) here introduce the theory of media-political clientelism. Before the introduction by these two scholars, clientelism was not much developed within media studies.
One advantage of the concept of clientelism is that it gets us beyond a common dichotomy that limits the sophistication of our thinking about the political economy of the news media, the dichotomy between the liberal perspective, for which democratization of the media is purely a matter of the elimination of state interference, and the critical political economy perspective, which has focused on the control of media by private capital, but has until now not been very sophisticated in its analysis of variations in the relation of capital to the state, political parties and other institutions (Hallin and Papathanassopoulos, 2002: 184).

It is crucial to emphasize that economic and political institutions do not develop separately, consequently it is necessary to search for analytical tools that cut across this dichotomy. Clientelism can be identified as a pattern of social and political organization, where access to public resources is controlled by patrons and is delivered to clients in exchange. Clientelism can be seen as a structural feature of societies where little or no separation exists between

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public and private (Roudakova, 2008: 42). In clientelist systems commitment to particular interests is stronger and the notion of the common good weaker (Hallin & Mancini, 2004: 58). One of the most important ways in which clientelism affects the media is through the instrumentalization of media, the process whereby media outlet owners use the media under their control to advance special interests (Roudakova, 2008: 43). Private media owners have political connections which are essential to obtain for example broadcast licenses, and in many other ways necessary for the successful operation of their business. These owners will often use their media outlets as a vehicle for negotiation with politicians to intervene in the political world. Hallin and Mancini (2004: 58) even state that in many cases this is the primary purpose of media ownership. Where the tradition of clientelism is strong, political parallelism tends to be high. Public opinion becomes a recourse that patrons governors, politicians, oligarchs et cetera can use to preserve and enhance their influence. The control of patrons over private media is mostly embodied in their expectation of positive publicity for themselves and their party and negative publicity for their opposition (Roudakova, 2008: 43). Journalists who work for instrumentalized media outlets end up pulled into these clientelist patterns. As a consequence, they become socially closer to politicians than to their colleagues and media firms are more concerned with servicing intra-elite communication needs than paying attention to the public interest. It is not surprising that clientelism is associated with lower levels of professionalization of journalism (Hallin & Mancini, 2004: 59). In order to systematically analyze the media system in Turkey, it is necessary to create a typology that takes all elements the political environment, the media system logics and the commercialization of the media into account. In the following section the new typology will be outlined.

2.4. Political environment, commercialization and media system logics combined


When all characteristics outlined by Brants and Van Praag (2005) and Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) to measure the media system logic in a country are merged, the following list comes up: media identification, addressing of the audience, the role of journalists, agendasetting, censorship, media ownership, media regulation and nature of the news. Because of the limited scope of this thesis and a language barrier, the characteristics nature of the news and addressing of the audience are left out, because researching it would have required content analysis of media output. In the following figure (at the next page) the characteristics and logics are combined. This typology will be helpful when making the assessment about which logic best describes the relationship between politics and media in Turkey.

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State Logic POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT Media regulation Media ownership Non-democratic (formally or informally) Dominance of other laws State Private (controlled by the state through media-political clientelism) State censorship Self-censorship State Party State Propaganda Lapdog

Partisan Logic Democratic

Public Logic Democratic

Media Logic Democratic

Freedom of speech Private Public

Freedom of speech Private Public

Freedom of speech Private Public

Censorship Agenda-setting Media identification The role of journalists

None Political Parties Political Parties Lapdog

None Political Parties Public Interest Assertive Respectful

None Media Public Wishes Dominant

Figure 3 / Media system logics combined with characteristics This figure is based on the research of Brants and Van Praag (2005) and Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) and adds the crucial variable political environment of Oates (2008). Oates (2008: 26) studies the political environment independently and takes it as a starting point when analyzing the media system in a country. Consequently, before investigating the characteristics of the logics, it is necessary to examine the political environment. In their research on the development of the media systems in Ukraine and Russia Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) introduced a new state logic, where media can both be state and privately owned. This figure also includes the possibility that under a state logic privately owned media are present in a country, but controlled by the state. It is at this point that the theory media-political clientelism of Hallin and Papathanassopoulos (2002) is brought into the picture. In order to analyze whether private media are indirectly state owned, it is necessary to evaluate the relationship and possible alliances between media owners and the government.

2.5. Online media


The theoretical part up till now focused on the traditional media system. However, nowadays, online media accompany traditional media. Since the rise of the Internet in the early 1990s, the online medium has become one of the most independent sources of information. Nobody

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owns the Internet and there is no single government controlling it. It has a positive effect on fundamental freedoms, such as the right to freedom of expression, access to information, the right to communication and the right to assembly (Akdeniz & Altiparmark, 2008: 6). Nowadays, the world's networked population has grown to an impressive 2.4 billion people. This thesis will focus on online media as a possible alternative news source for citizens, in which attention will be given to the relationship between politics and online media and the connection between traditional media and online media. This paragraph will start with social media, specified by Boyds and Ellisons (2007: 211) as follows:
We define social network sites as web based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.

Social media have become an essential part of life and have now reached nearly one in four around the world. In 2013 around 1.7 billion people have used social networks, with Facebook currently being the leader with over 1.2 billion members, followed by Twitter with 500 million users. Every minute of the day 680.000 pieces of content are shared on Facebook, 100.000 tweets are sent and 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.9 Every day, the networked population is gaining greater access to information, more opportunities to engage in public speech and an enhanced ability to undertake collective action (Shirky, 2011: 29). Social media have increased shared awareness by spreading messages across social networks (Shirky, 2011: 36). According to social media expert Clay Shirky (2011: 32) it is most promising to think about social media as long-term tools that can strengthen civil society and the public sphere. This idea echoes the historical role of the printing press, which provided space for discussion among citizens in order to democratize Europe. However, media alone do not change peoples minds, Shirky (2011: 34) mentions a two-step process. First, opinions are handed over by the media and in the second social step they get reproduced by friends, family and others. In this last stage, social media are important: it is not only about media consumption, but also about media production where political opinions are formed. Moreover, at this point, social media can also influence the traditional media (agenda), which will be discussed later in this chapter. Diffusion and adoption of opinions in the public sphere are crucial for political change. According to Shirky (2011: 36) the spread of social media especially concerns states that are accustomed to having a monopoly on public speech and find

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Social Networking Statistics. Available at: http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networkingstatistics
9

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themselves called to account for anomalies between its views of events and the publics. There are two common responses to this situation: censorship and propaganda. Social media, especially Twitter, are often associated with the concept of citizen journalism, which is defined as follows: the act of a citizen, or group of citizens, playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information (Bowman & Willis, 2003: 9). Besides Twitter, many citizen journalists have their own political blogs, which are frequently, updated websites consisting of dated entries arranged in a reverse chronological order so the most recent post appears first and is published by individuals (Walker, 2003, in Dasselaar, 2006: 32). Most studies on social media and citizen journalism especially focus on the opportunities that they provide to strengthen the public sphere by facilitating discussion and the dissemination of (alternative) information (Carpentier et al., 2009: 2). They offer different societal groups the possibility to participate in public debate and to represent themselves in a public space (Carpentier et al., 2009: 9). However, controversy exists regarding the information value of citizen journalists, because of their lack of professional training (Carpenter, 2008: 531). Many citizen journalists have not been trained to subscribe to the same standards (such as objectivity, thoroughness and accuracy) as traditional journalists. The fact that citizen journalists are not embedded in media organizations gives them on the one hand greater independency, but on the other hand it means that they are not subject to oversight, which opens criticism about the accuracy of their reporting (Carpenter, 2008: 532). Besides social media, online media also concern the arrival of independent professional news websites. In this thesis websites are considered as independent when they have no linkage with traditional media. The emergence and growth of social media, political blogs and independent news websites are highly important for setting the media and public agenda (Kim & Lee, 2007: 8). Where in the classical agenda-setting theory the focus goes to the impact of the media on people, the online (reversed) agenda-setting theory is more concerned with peoples influence on the media. In the gatekeeping process of news selection in traditional media ordinary citizens have little influence and are more considered as passive receivers (Kim & Lee, 2007: 11), although it should be noted that, especially in democratic countries, powerful social movements or civil society organizations can also exert considerable influence on the media agenda (Carroll & Hackett, 2006: 85). In the online world ordinary citizens spread issues across the Internet and caught peoples attention. Through political blogs and social media these issues can become major agendas in the online world. In reality, for traditional media it is hard to ignore these topics. Here, online agendas affect traditional media agendas (Kim & Lee, 2007: 24). It is important to emphasize that the traditional media are still a crucial mediator at the stage of setting an issue on the public agenda, but this process has a totally different characteristic from the closed agenda-setting

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controlled by a handful of gatekeepers in the past, when there was no Internet (Kim & Lee, 2007: 25). Citizens are no longer mere passive receivers of news, but through online media they can exert considerable influence on setting the media and public agenda.

2.6. The relationship between online media and politics


In the theoretical part about traditional media the different media system logics were tackled. This thesis will examine to what extent the relationship between politics and traditional media in Turkey is characterized by state logic, but will also analyze the relationship between politics and online media. Online media are by many people welcomed as an independent platform for gaining knowledge, creating dialogue and enhancing democracy (Krasnoboka & Brants, 2002: 12). However, Akdeniz and Altiparmak (2008: 6) trim down these expectations:
[...] states concerns on the availability of certain types of content on the Internet go hand with hand with their traditional approach to content regulation and freedom of expression. In other words, states tend to adopt their traditional restrictions to the Internet based on their historical, cultural, political, religious, constitutional, and moral values. Therefore, it would be wrong to assume that the impact of new communication technologies on nation-states will be a dramatic shift toward democratization and openness.

In the same way, a serious critique against the idea that online media are tools for political improvement, is that states are becoming increasingly better at monitoring and using these tools to suppress criticism (Shirky, 2011: 38). While in the beginning countries were having problems censoring the Internet, nowadays many governments employed sophisticated tools to hinder dissidents. In addition, social media can be important propaganda tools used by governments. El-Khalili (2013: 1) have seen this phenomenon in Egypt, where the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces became aware of the need to speak the same language of the Egyptian youth, to communicate with them electronically, as well as to issue counterrevolutionary propaganda. In order to analyze the relationship between online media and politics, it is necessary to consider which characteristics of Brants and Van Praag (2005) and Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) are useful and appropriate. To come back to the list, there is media regulation, media ownership, censorship, agenda-setting, media identification and the role of journalists. The crucial question here is, what is the best way to analyze the relationship between online media and politics and the role of online media in Turkey? Because Brants and Van Praag (2005) have created the media system logics to analyze the traditional media system, not all

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characteristics apply to online media, which in this thesis - concern independent news websites, individual bloggers and social media users. Therefore, the characteristic media ownership, which applies to traditional media outlets, will be left out. The characteristics media regulation, censorship, media identification and the role of online media users are still useful to analyze the relationship between politics and online media. The characteristic agenda-setting will be used to analyze the relationship between online media and traditional media. Because of the relatively limited number of characteristics used, the relationship between politics and online media will not be characterized by one of the media system logics. This thesis will try to examine with whom social media users, bloggers and online journalists identify themselves with (characteristic media identification). Concerning the role of online media users, it may be interesting to investigate whether they act as watchdogs, lapdogs or if they spread propaganda. Further, when looking at the characteristic agendasetting, it is interesting to consider the influence of online media on the media agenda. Finally, it is important to investigate the role of the state, captured in the characteristics censorship and media regulation: does the government try to gain control over the Internet and online media? Is there state censorship or self-censorship? Are there media laws concerning the usage of Internet? The following paragraph will now first elaborate on the research methods of this thesis.

2.7. Research methods


The research of this thesis consists of two parts: firstly the analysis of the political environment of Turkey and secondly the analysis of its media system. The empirical results will be presented in chapter three (politics) and four (media). The political environment of Turkey is described on the basis of secondary literature. Besides academic research (mainly conducted by Turkish scholars), this thesis will use reports of several international organizations, including Freedom House, the European Commission and the Economist Intelligence Unit (democracy Index). Moreover, it will also discuss the Polity IV data series when analyzing the democratic status of Turkey. The Turkish traditional media are also mainly analyzed using academic research and several reports of organizations, including Freedom House, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders. Researching the role of online media in Turkey was less straightforward, due to limited availability of literature on this topic. Consequently, nine in-depth interviews are conducted with academics, social media experts and online journalists in order to get deeper insights into this subject. The respondents were selected on the basis of their expertise and experience in Turkish (online) media and their potential to deliver valuable information. Detailed information on the background of the respondents can be found in Appendix B.

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Almost all respondents were asked the same list of questions (see Appendix A). Besides questions about online media in Turkey, the interview also included a question about traditional news media, in order to obtain more information about a particular aspect of traditional media. Please note that there is one interview conducted per mail with different questions (appendix C3). All the other interviews were conducted per Skype or were face-toface (the author of this thesis went to Istanbul for a few days). These interviews were semistructured. A semi-structured interview combines a pre-determined set of open questions with the opportunity for the interviewer to ask follow-up questions when something is not clear or to explore particular themes or responses further (King & Horrocks, 2010: 75). The interviews lasted around an hour and were recorded with permission of the respondents. The interviews are (loosely) transcribed, in order to get written versions of the recorded data (see Appendix C). In the process of transcribing the interviews, it is chosen to only adapt sentences in cases where respondents interrupt or correct themselves, in order to have full sentences. Furthermore, not the entire interviews are written down, only information that was seen as relevant for this thesis is transcribed. Finally, in order to structure the interviews, most of the follow-up questions are not mentioned in the written interviews.

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CHAPTER 3 The political environment of Turkey


As described in chapter one, many scholars criticize the minimalist definitions of democracy, because they privilege free elections and ignore other important dimensions of democracy. Nowadays, more attention is paid to the importance of political rights and civil liberties, including free and pluriform media. In order to get a clear image of the political environment in which the Turkish media system is embedded, this chapter will shed light on the general developments in the field of democratization in Turkey. Besides looking at the minimal electoral conditions, attention will also be given to the more extensive requirements of a liberal democracy. Because chapter four is devoted to the analysis of the media in Turkey, the role of the media in the general developments will only be shortly introduced. Although political competition and participation play a less central role in the more extensive definitions of democracy than they do in the minimalist versions, they are still seen as crucial prerequisites for democracy. Consequently, firstly an outline of the political set-up will be given. This chapter analyzes the developments in the field of democratization since 2002, when the AK Party came to power. However, current Turkish politics cannot be understood without reference to Atatrk and the Kemalist ideology, which have been prominent in Turkish politics since the foundation of the Republic in 1923. A number of scholars assert that under Erdogan a new Turkey has risen, moving away from the old Kemalist values (nis, 2013: 105). After the description of the political set-up in Turkey, this chapter will address Kemalist Turkey, in which attention will be given to the role of the military, nationalism and secularism. Next, an outline will be given of Turkey under the AKP (from 2002 until now), where the democratic achievements and failures of Erdogans party will be addressed in detail. Furthermore, this chapter will also shed a light on the recent power struggle between the Glen Movement and the AKP and the corruption scandal. Finally, it will be concluded that Turkey is best described as a hybrid regime.

3.1. The political set-up


In 1946, Turkey took its first steps toward multi-party democracy by introducing completely free elections. Huntington (1991: 42) considers Turkey as a second-wave democracy. In this short wave many countries, including Turkey, moved into a democratic direction because the Western Allies had won the World War II. Since the late 1940s, military interventions have interrupted three times Turkish democracy: in 1960, 1971 and 1980. Nevertheless, each time democracy was restored relatively quickly (Ozbudun, 2000: 13).

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Turkey is an electoral democracy (Freedom House, 2013a). The parliament, the Grand National Assembly, has 550 seats and is elected every four years. Elections in Turkey are widely judged as free and fair. However, a party must win at least ten percent of the national vote to qualify for representation in the parliament, which is the highest electoral threshold in Europe. Since the general elections in 2002, a majority of seats have been held by the members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). At this moment, four political parties are represented in the Turkish parliament.10 Firstly, the AKP with 326 seats; secondly, the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) with 135 seats; thirdly, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) with 52 seats; and fourthly, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) with 29 seats.11 In Turkey, there is no opposition that is capable of posing a real challenge to the government. In this parliament, the AK Party lacks the 60 percent majority in the parliament necessary to push through constitutional changes (Muftuler-Ba & Keyman, 2012: 88). In Turkey, the prime minister is the head of the government and the president the head of the state, who especially has a ceremonial role (Freedom House, 2013a). In August 2014, Turkeys president will for the first time be directly elected by the people, which replaces the existing system of election by parliament. Because AKP rules hinder Erdogan to stand again as prime minister in 2015, he is expected to run for president in 2014. Since 2011, a parliamentary commission with representation from the four political parties has been set up to draft a new constitution which will replace the 1982 constitution that was written under military rule (nis, 2013: 103). Within the framework of this new constitution the AKP aims to create a presidential system in which the president will be entitled to extraordinary powers, including dissolving parliament and calling parliamentary and presidential elections. However, at this moment, the commission is facing a serious stalemate, because the four parties are unable to reach consensus over key issues, including the AK Partys proposal of a presidential system.12 . Turkey stands at a critical juncture. The new constitution will be highly important for the democratic future of Turkey. For now, numerous scholars and organizations agree that Turkey has succeeded in establishing electoral democracy, but has failed in terms of generating a liberal democracy (Yesilada, 2013: 31; nis, 2013: 103). At this point, it is interesting to compare the Freedom House reports, the Democracy Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and the Polity IV data series, which are all three widely used to

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10

Party Groups in Parliament and member numbers. Available at: http://global.tbmm.gov.tr/index.php/EN/yd/siyasi_parti_gruplari 11 The 10 percent threshold would normally block Kurdish representation in the parliament, as proKurdish parties fail to gain enough seats. In order to avoid this threshold, the party-led bloc submitted independent candidates for the past elections of 2007 and 2011, later gathering under the roof of the BDP. 12 Turkey parliament deadlocked over new constitution (20 November, 2013). Available at: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131120/turkey-parliament-deadlocked-over-newconstitution-0

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analyze the democratic status of a country. For Freedom House, freedom is based on two dimensions: political rights and civil liberties. It makes a distinction between electoral democracy and liberal democracy: a liberal democracy demands sufficient democracy standards and not only minimum standards such as free and fair elections (Campbell, 2008: 18). The Democracy Index of the EIU directly refers to the Freedom Houses concepts of political rights and civil liberties (although the EIU claims to be broader, because its index includes political culture13). Polity IV examines concomitant qualities of democratic and autocratic authority in governing institutions.14 It measures amongst others competiveness of executive recruitments and regulation of political participation (Campbell, 2008: 13). Where Freedom House and the EIU include civil liberties (including freedom of expression) and political rights to their checklist of criteria, Polity IV is more in line with the minimalist definition of democracy (Campbell, 2008: 21). It is interesting to see that while Freedom House and the EIU respectively classify Turkey as partly free and as a hybrid regime (other categories are full democracy, flawed democracy and authoritarian regime), Polity IV still considers Turkey as a democracy. The Polity IV score of Turkey is 7.0 (a democracy ranks between 6.0 and 9.0). Although Polity IV does mention human rights violations in the report of Turkey, its focus lies more on Turkeys competitive elections and governing institutions.15 When looking at the Democracy Index 2012 of the EIU, Turkey has a score of 7.92 (10.0 is highest) on electoral processes, but a score of 4.12 on civil liberties (EIU, 2012: 6). Furthermore, according to Freedom House (2013a), Turkey is an electoral democracy, but partly free: the country ranks 4.0 on civil liberties and 3.0 on political rights (7.0 is worst). Hence, while Turkey is qualified as a democracy by the minimalist conception, it falls short by the definition of liberal democracy. Taking into account the requirements of liberal democracy, the third paragraph of this chapter will analyze the democratic processes under the AKP. However, current Turkish politics cannot be understood without reference to Kemalist Turkey, consequently the following paragraph will first elaborate on this subject.

3.2. Kemalist Turkey

Mustafa Kemal Atatrk was the founding father and the first president (1923-1938) of the Republic of Turkey (Ersan, 2012: 39). He rescued the surviving Turkish remnant of the

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Definition of political culture: a successful democratic political culture means that the losing parties and their supporters accept the judgment of the voters and allow for the peaceful transfer of power (EIU, 2012: 26) 14 Polity IV Project: Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, 1800-2012. Available at: http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/polity4.htm 15Polity IV Country Report 2010:Turkey. Available at: http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/Turkey2010.pdf

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defeated Ottoman Empire at the end of World War 1. Together with the Kemalist elite, Atatrk started to modernize the state on the model of Western equivalents, firstly by replacing old institutions by contemporary political and cultural institutions (Keyman, 2007: 220). The founding father was driven by the idea of Westernization: he believed that the Western culture should be adopted as a whole (Ersan, 2012: 40). The Kemalist elite enacted two main pillars of the Republic of Turkey: nationalism and secularism. Atatrk considered the military as the guardian of its ideals. This period of tutelage was necessary for the government to lay down the modern foundations for the Republic of Turkey (Zahedi & Bacik, 2010: 1). However, military guardianship was intended to be only temporary: at the time Turkish citizens had embraced the new institutions, the military would relinquish their control and responsibility would be given to politicians. Despite this, when Atatrk died, his successor Inonu soon warped civilian Kemalism into military Kemalism. Since then, the Turkish military has perceived itself as the guardian of Kemalist ideology and has played a central role in Turkish politics (Zahedi & Bacik, 2010: 2). The first pillar of Kemalism, nationalism, emphasized that every citizen of the Republic is a Turk, and, if he/she is not, he/she has to be converted into one. Atatrk considered the Turkish language and the desire to be Turkish as crucial conditions for being a Turkish citizen (Cagaptay, 2013: 14). The centrality of the Turkish language and the indivisibility of the state are laid down in the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey (1995, Article 3): The Turkish State is an indivisible whole comprising its territory and people. Its official language is Turkish. This idea of nationalism has had serious consequences for the main non-Turkish group, the Kurds, whose different culture and Indo-European language have been suppressed by Atatrk and his followers. Kurds compose around 20 percent of the population in Turkey and they are especially concentrated in Southeastern Turkey. Due to the large number of Kurds in Turkey, many governments have seen Kurdish identity as a potential threat to the national unity (Cagaptay, 2013: 19). For a long time, Turkey has banned the Kurdish language and culture in private and public life. Many Kemalist governments even denied the existence of Turkish Kurds, calling them mountain Turks, afraid that it would divide Turkey (Akreyi, 2011: 1). The second pillar of Kemalism is secularism. The removal of Islam from political discourse and the establishment of a secular nation-state were seen as key elements to civilization and modernization (Keyman, 2007: 221). Secularism refers to the principle of separation between state and religion and it requires that the spheres of science, art, politics and philosophy are constructed independently from religion (Erdem, 2012: 440). When the notion of the secular nation-state became dominant in Turkish politics, religion has been considered as the reason for underdevelopment (Erdem, 2012: 442). The Kemalist elite considered secularism as the basic requirement of contemporary civilization (Keyman, 2007:

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221). However, the separation between the state and religion was so strict in Turkey that besides the removal of religion from state affairs, it also involved absolute institution and constitutional control of religious activities by the state (Keyman, 2007: 222). The presence of religion in private live and identity-formation of people was eliminated by a set of regulations, from education reforms to new dress codes. In this way, secularism slowly developed into laicism. The Kemalist elite believed that the strict separation between state and religion and the control of religious affairs were necessary for the successful realization of the process of secularization (Keyman, 2007: 222-223). However, many Turkish citizens did not agree with the way secularism was implemented:
[it is seen as] a boundary-producing practice by which the state approaches religious activities in a reductionist way as purely private and individualistic and as a governmentality of self by which the state attempts to control the religious-oriented practices of societal groups (Keyman, 2007: 226).

If secularism becomes too strict, it works against democracy and pluralism. Despite the history of laicism, Turkey has always preserved its national character as a Muslim country (Erdem, 2012: 439). Islam has remained omnipresent as a dominant ideology and a strong reference for the Turkish identity. Since the transition to multi-partybased democracy in the late 1940s, almost all political parties have related themselves to Turkish voters by referring to the Islam (Keyman, 2007: 223). During the 1980s, the role of Islam has increased as a strong political, economic and cultural force in Turkish life. In addition, with the rise of the AKP in 2002 Turkey had put the Islam-politics even more on the agenda (Erdem, 2012: 439). A number of scholars assert that under the AKP a new Turkey has risen, moving away from the old Kemalist values. Although this new Turkey is in a number of important respects more democratic than Kemalist Turkey, it has not necessarily become more democratic in total (nis, 2013: 105). The following paragraph will discuss the democratic processes under AKP rule.

3.3. Turkey under AKP rule


Since 2002, the Justice and Development Party has won three successive elections with increasing electoral and popular support. The AK Partys leadership and core membership are rooted in earlier Islamist parties, but while having this Islamic foundation, the AKP explicitly portrays itself as conservative democratic (Somer, 2011: 514). Especially during AKPs first term, the European Union played a very important role in determining its policy. In December 1999, the European Council granted Turkey the status of candidate country and in order to comply with the Copenhagen Criteria, the AKP pushed through some major

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reforms. These reforms included a ban on capital punishment, greater political rights for the Kurdish minority and limits on the power of the military (Aka & Balta-Paker, 2012: 80). Since the AKP came to power, Erdogan has chosen the process of demilitarization as its motto and has challenged the two main pillars of Kemalist Turkey: nationalism and secularism (Arsan, 2013: 488). In the post-2002 era Turkey has certainly accomplished some important reforms, which will be discussed in the following section. Introducing Post-Kemalist Turkey .

As already briefly discussed in the former paragraph, since the foundation of the Republic the military has been actively involved in Turkish politics and was especially focused to protect the state from internal enemies, such as the political Islam and the Kurdish minority. The European Union has always underlined the role of the military in Turkish politics as one of the central obstacles toward democratic consolidation (nis, 2013: 105). The AKP and the EU both foresaw a Turkey in which the system of military tutelage had come to an end. Moreover, the fact that the military elite did not accept the AKP as a legitimate political actor because of its Islamist roots, was an extra motivation for the government to curtail the power of the military (Aka & Balta-Paker, 2012: 79). An important tool in this process was the Ergenekon trial, started in 2008 and recently reached its end in August 2013. Ergenekon is an alleged underground network of ultranationalist, secular military officers, and civil servants plotting to overthrow the government (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2013: 15). The arrests of military officers were praised at first as a long-awaited assertion of civil power over the military and a boost to democratization (Reporters without Borders, 2011: 6). For the first time in history, the military were judged and even jailed. The trial decided the fate of around 250 suspects and resulted in hundreds of years of imprisonment in total. However, the investigations have not only encompassed military officers, but also journalists and government opponents. The following section, which sheds light on the democratic limitations under AKP rule, will further elaborate on this subject. Under AKP rule there has been a dramatic decline in the influence of the military in Turkish politics through several legal reforms. Recently, in July 2013, an amendment in the internal armed forces' regulation redefined the militarys duty as "defending the Turkish homeland against external threats and dangers, and maintaining and strengthening military powers to ensure deterrence.16 Erdogan has succeeded in shifting the balance of the civil-military relations in favor of the civilian authorities (European Commission, 2013: 11). Many scholars and politicians were surprised by the progressive

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16

Turkey parliament curtails army power (13 July, 2013). Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23302046

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withdrawal of the military, because they considered the military tutelage as an everlasting feature of Turkish politics (nis, 2013: 105). The so-called new Turkey is also more democratic from Kemalist Turkey in terms of its ability to accommodate difference or diversity based on claims for recognition of different religious and ethnic identities (nis, 2013: 105). The strict Kemalist understanding of Turkishness had suppressed the identity claims of minority groups, especially the Kurds, in Turkey. Under AKP rule, several important reforms have been implemented in recognition of the extension of minority rights (nis, 2013: 106). Nowadays, many restrictions on the Kurdish language have been lifted, Kurdish-language publications and television broadcasts are permitted and in June 2012 the government approved a curriculum that would allow some teaching of Kurdish (Freedom House, 2013a). Furthermore, since 2007, the Kurds are represented in the National Assembly by a separate political party (the Peace and Democracy Party).17 The 2011 elections were remarkable for featuring the first legal campaigning in Kurdish. However, there are still significant problems with translating the political rights of minority groups into actual practice. Also in present Turkey, the Kurdish issue remains a key challenge for its democracy (Freedom House, 2013a). Although many restrictions on the use of the Kurdish language are nowadays lifted, the language is still not recognized by the Constitution of Turkey and it remains to been seen whether this will be amended in the new version. Furthermore, especially problematic is Turkeys Anti-Terror Law, which allows the government to arrest large numbers of individuals (mainly journalists) who are sympathetic to the Kurds as though they are members of a terrorist organizations, especially the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2012: 7). The PKK is the violent wing of the Kurdish movement and sadly, the violence did not decrease in recent years. In the beginning of 2013, however, the AKP has surprised many by introducing a Kurdish peace process (nis, 2013: 115). The government is willing to engage directly with the PKK to achieve a peaceful solution to the ongoing dispute. This new development is certainly promising, but the process is still fragile as disputes between the government and Kurdish demonstrators are still happening. 18 The peace process has also raised Kurds expectation for a ground constitutional reform. However, it remains to be seen whether the nationalist elements, which are present in the AKP, but even more strikingly in the opposition parties the CHP and MHP, are willing to be part of the process and accept some of the key demands of the Kurdish actors (nis, 2013: 116). At this moment, the parliament is

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17

Between 2007 and 2009, the Kurds were represented in the parliament by the Democratic Society Party. However, the party was closed in 2009 and later reformed itself as the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). 18 Fresh violence rattles Turkey-Kurd peace process (10 December, 2013). Available at: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/fresh-violence-rattles/916984.html

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facing a stalemate in its efforts to draft the new constitution. Hence, the fact that the peace process has started is positive, but its successful conclusion remains uncertain. Next to nationalism, the other pillar of Kemalist Turkey is secularism. Since 2002, the AKP has taken the opportunity to move Turkey into a more conservative direction, with religion having an increasingly important role in public sphere. Under AKP rule, the role of Islam as a political, economic and cultural force in Turkey has grown tremendously. The rise of Islam in Turkey must be seen in the context of its forced marginalization in the previous decades. Despite the control of religious affairs by Kemalist elite, Islam has always been a basis for individual and communal identity in Turkey (Keyman, 2007: 223). Because the AKP is defining itself as a center-right party of democratic reform rather than an Islamic party, it has always maintained global support (Muftuler-Ba & Keyman, 2012: 90). However, there has been growing concern that Turkey is becoming more conservative. In the past years, both the power of the military and the influence of the European Union in Turkish politics have waned. Since the formal EU accession negotiations in 2005 started, the enthusiasm in Turkey for membership has experienced a spectacular decline (Yesilada, 2013: 32). The annual reports of the EU discussing Turkeys democratic deficits receive hardly any attention in Turkish media. In addition, the Eurozone crisis has raised questions in Turkey concerning the value of the EU project, both in economic and political terms. The Turkish economy is largely developed and did not experience a major crisis. During the last years, Turkey has become less dependent on trade with the EU, because of the growing exports to the Middle East and North Africa. According to nis (2013: 113), these changing domestic and external political contexts has resulted in a shift in the AKPs notion of globalism to a more Asian style globalism, where economic growth through global integration still occupies the center stage, but is combined with a minimalist conception of democracy, which accepts the notion of electoral democracy, but is less interested in meeting the extensive requirements of liberal democracy. The impact of this shift is a swing of the pendulum away from reformism (at least in the sense of democratization reforms) toward the promotion of conservative and religious values (nis, 2013: 114). Several organizations, including Freedom House (2013a) and the Economist Intelligence Unit (2011: 3), have also noticed that since 2006/2007, the AKP has lost its reformist momentum. The move away from liberal democracy has been visible during the later phase of post-Kemalist Turkey. The following section will discuss the democratic deficits of the AKP. The democratic limitations of the AKP era .

Although the new Turkey is in a number of important respects more democratic than Kemalist Turkey, it has not necessarily become more democratic in total (nis, 2013: 105).

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Many organizations have expressed concerns about a number of issues including the protection of religious and minority rights, judicial reform, freedom of expression, the right to assembly and the lack of tolerance for opposition (Morelli, 2013: 4). In the new Turkey, many assert that a civilian tutelage has replaced the military tutelage of the Kemalist era. Positive steps in Turkey have been counterbalanced by a series of retrogressions. Although minority groups under AKP rule have gained greater political rights, many organizations are still concerned about the protection of their rights. Besides the Kurdish issue, discussed above, Alevites and non-Muslim religious communities in Turkey have reported frequent discrimination and numerous obstacles to establish a place of worship (European Commission, 2013: 55). Furthermore, while the old regime had limited the space for religious (Islamist) activities, the new Turkey has restricted the space for the more Western-oriented, secular segments of Turkish society (nis, 2013: 108; Freedom House, 2013a). Hence, neither the Kemalist era nor the post-Kemalist era, so far, represent genuine examples of political pluralism with mutual respect for diversity (nis, 2013: 108). Another problematic area is the overall lack of judicial reform in Turkey. Although the Constitution of Turkey stipulates independence of judiciary, in reality the government can influence judges through appointments, promotions, and financing. Pressure on judges particularly involves the cases against coup plots and journalists (Freedom House, 2013a). Especially important here are the Ergenekon trial and the Anti-Terror law. Because chapter four will analyze the media regulation in Turkey, this section will only briefly discuss the Ergenekon trial, which has led to increasing disillusionment about the long prison terms for military officers and journalists. The Ergenekon plot was defined in such vague and broad terms that journalists expressing critical views could be accused, consistent with the AKPs theory that the journalists were using news coverage to create the kind of societal chaos conducive to a coup (The Committee to Protect Journalists, 2013: 9). In the Ergenekon trial many people with dubious connections to the process have been arrested (nis, 2013: 107). Moreover, also important is the climate created at the top levels of the administration: when the government gets tough, [...] the judiciary gets tough as well (the Committee to Protect Journalists, 2013: 11). The politicization of the judicial process may be one of the biggest weaknesses of the AKP era. Moreover, since 2012, Turkeys score on civil liberties has decreased from 3.0 to 4.0, mainly because of the pretrial detentions of thousands of individuals in campaigns that many believe to be politically motivated (Freedom House, 2013a). Many international organizations are highly concerned about the freedom of expression and media freedom in Turkey. In Turkey, there is a long tradition of blocking dissident voices (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2013: 14). According to Nicole Pope, it is important to see that this is not a new problem, the media in Turkey have never been free.

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[However], the fact that Erdogan has far more control over the government and the state than any of his predecessors makes the situation different. He has much more means of control and he gradually becomes more authoritarian. The situation has gotten worse, definitely. But on the other hand, in the 1990s, at the height of the Kurdish conflict, Kurdish journalists were being killed.19

According to Grener and Ucal (2011: 357) any attempt to explain Turkish politics will be seriously lacking without considering the impact of Erdogans leadership. Especially important is his excessive reaction to any criticism or questioning of his performance. Espcially since 2007, Erdogan has become increasingly aggressive, lashing out at his critics, arresting journalists and alienating liberal Turks who formerly supported him (Grener and Ucal, 2011: 370). The authoritarian characteristics of Erdogan are highly problematic for the Turkish media freedom, especially in combination with the legal impediments to press freedom and the media ownership structure in Turkey, which will be discussed in the following chapter. The authoritarian characteristics of Erdogan and the AKP became highly visible during the Gezi Park protests starting on 30 May 2013, where the Turkish police used brutal force to quell the protests. During the demonstrations, the government showed zero tolerance for any form of protest. The Gezi protests left a significant trail of injuries in its wake: at the end of August, five people had died and more than 8.000 people were injured. Furthermore, there have been thousands of detentions during the protests (Amnesty International, 2013a: 6). In many ways the response of the AKP represents a continuation of existing patterns of human rights violations in Turkey: the denial of the right to peaceful assembly, excessive use of force by police officers and the prosecution of legitimate dissenting opinions while allowing police abuses go unchecked. However, this time, the protests did not involve sensitive issues such as the Kurdish rights and they spanned virtually every province in the country. The demonstrations clearly displayed the need for the AKP to adopt a totally different approach to public protests. During the demonstrations, many people were shocked by the major media blackout of the traditional Turkish media. Especially during the first days, mainstream media failed to report on the protests. Social and online media instead played a highly important role in providing information (Amnesty International, 2013a: 50). In the following chapter, the role of the media during the protests will be discussed in detail. However, firstly, it is important to shed a light on the recent corruption scandal in Turkey, which started on 17 December 201320 and has expanded into a serious government crisis.

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19 20

See appendix C4 Between 17 and 21 December, the author of this thesis was in Istanbul to interview the respondents

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The power struggle between the Glen Movement and the AKP In order to gain complete understanding of the corruption scandal, it is necessary to first introduce the powerful religious Glen Movement (also called the Cemaat), named after Fethullah Glen, an Islamic scholar who preaches a moderate version of the Islam and lives in self-imposed exile in the United States (Tunc, 2013: 156). When the AKP came to power in 2002, its first mission was to curtail the power of the military. In this fight, the Glen Movement, whose followers were visible in key positions within the police and the judiciary, emerged as a natural ally. The movement has often been suspected of being a secret branch of the AKP. Especially controversial was their assumed involvement in the Ergenekon trial (Tunc, 2013: 156). However, once the power of the military - their common enemy - had decreased, disagreements emerged between the two forces, which come from different Islamic traditions. Especially since 2012, Erdogan has expressed deep discomfort with the far-reaching influence of the movement in Turkey, calling it a state within a state. Until recently, the AKP-Cemaat relations have been silently sour, but since November 2013 the Glen Movement has become openly hostile toward the AKP, when Erdogan announced a plan to close down the private schools run by the Cemaat, an important source of both finance and recruitment.21 On 17 December 2013, an investigation into alleged corrupt practices by several businessmen close to the AKP and three cabinet ministers' sons was uncovered, resulting in widespread anti-government protests. The three ministers stepped down, with one calling for the resignation of Erdogan. Due to the high level of influence of the Glen Movement in the judiciary and the police, many believe the Cemaat is behind the arrests. For this reason, Erdogan has already fired hundreds of police officers and prosecutors and is seeking tighter government control over the judiciary. Meanwhile, and highly relevant for this thesis, the power struggle is also visible within the media, which will be discussed in detail in the following chapter.22 Important to understand is that the Glen Movement is not a political party. Many Glen followers have always supported the AKP and if Erdogan crushes the Cemaat, he will probably lose many votes. 23 So far, the power struggle has seriously harmed Turkeys political and economic stability. Since the scandal, the Turkish Lira has weakened to a record low against the dollar and the euro. This chapter will end by describing Turkey as a hybrid regime.

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21

What you should know about Turkeys AKP-Glen Conflict. (3 January, 2014). Available at: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/akp-gulen-conflict-guide.html " 22 Turkije in ban van de omkoopschandalen (13 January, 2014). Available at: http://nieuwsuur.nl/onderwerp/596912-turkije-in-ban-van-de-omkoopschandalen.html 23 What you should know about Turkeys AKP-Gulen Conflict. (3 January, 2014). Available at: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/akp-gulen-conflict-guide.html "

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3.4. Hybrid Turkey


This chapter has described the general developments in the field of democratization in Turkey. Although Turkey certainly has taken some steps forward in the direction of democracy, these steps have been counterbalanced. A hybrid regime, which contains democratic and authoritarian elements, may indeed be the best term to describe the political system of Turkey. Turkey has succeeded in establishing an electoral democracy, but has failed in terms of generating a liberal democracy. In the new Turkey, although some minority rights are extended, there is still limited space for genuine pluralism in social and political spheres. Furthermore, the pressure over the media has increased, the freedom of expression is restricted and there are significant concerns about the autonomy and fairness of the judiciary. Especially since 2006, the AKP has moved away from reformism (in the sense of democratization reforms) toward the promotion of conservative and religious values. There are rising concerns about the creeping authoritarianism of Erdogan, which has also been visible during the Gezi protests and the corruption scandal. The outcome of the power struggle between the AKP and the Glen Movement will be important for the future of Turkey. In the coming presidential elections in August 2014, it will become clear whether Erdogan has lost many of his voters. However, here, highly problematic is the fact that there is still no political opposition in Turkey that is capable of posing a real challenge to the AKP. This thesis takes the political environment as the starting point when analyzing the media system in a country. When looking at the media system logics, partisan, public and media logic can all be found in a democratic political environment, in contradiction to state logic that is embedded in a (formally or informally) non-democratic political system. In this perspective, Turkeys position is unclear, because of its hybrid nature. The presence of state logic would underline the democratic deficit and the creeping authoritarianism of Erdogan in Turkey, but a combination of one of the democratic media system logics and state logic would be in line with Turkeys hybrid nature. The following chapter will show how the general developments in the field of democratization are mirrored in the Turkish media system.

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CHAPTER 4 Media in Turkey


In this chapter, the media system of Turkey will be analyzed. The first part will discuss the relationship between politics and traditional media, where all the six characteristics (media regulation, media ownership, censorship, agenda-setting, media identification and the role of journalists) will be addressed. The second part of this chapter will describe the role of online media in Turkey. In this section emphasis will be put on the relationship between politics and online media and the connection between traditional media and online media, which will be discussed through the characteristics media regulation, censorship, media identification, the role of online media users agenda-setting. As discussed in the research methods in chapter two, nine in-depth interviews are conducted with media experts in order to get deeper insights into the Turkish media situation. Although the part on traditional media is mainly described using secondary literature, it will also include information of the respondents. In the analysis of the role of online media in Turkey, the interviews form a crucial contribution. The following figure displays the respondents that are interviewed. Detailed information on their background can be found in Appendix B.
Name of expert Engin Onder and Ogulcan Ekiz Erkan Saka Neslihan Cenk Nicole Pope Ceren Sozeri Asli Tunc Haluk Kalafat (translated by Evren Gonul) Dogan Akin (translated by Deniz Serin) Esra Arsan Organization / Position Engin: 140journos / Co-founder and general manager Ogulcan: 140journos / Co-founder and general manager Bilgi University Istanbul, Media School / AssistantProfessor AK Party / Chairwoman of AKP Youth Branches, responsible for publicity and media Freelance / writer of several books about Turkey Todays Zaman / Columnist Galatasaray University Istanbul / Researcher on media ownership, media politics and new media Bilgi University Istanbul / Head of Media School T24 / Columnist Haluk: Bianet / Editor-in-chief Evren: Bianet / Coordinator Dogan: T24 / Founder and editor-in-chief Deniz: T24 / Editor Bilgi University Istanbul, Media School / Professor

Figure 4 / List of respondents

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4.1. Traditional media


It is useful to begin this section by shortly describing the Turkish traditional media environment. This thesis analyzes the Turkish media system as a whole and will therefore not make distinctions between broadcast or print media. In Turkey, there is one national public broadcaster, the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), founded in 1964. TRT broadcasts to Turkey and the entire world with 14 television channels. Remarkable is the introduction of its Kurdish channel in 2002, which was a major step forward for Kurdish rights (Freedom House, 2004). Since the commercialization in the early 1990s, a rich media landscape has developed in Turkey. Nowadays, there are around 370 private Turkish newspapers, including 38 dailies. The broadcast media are also well developed with hundreds of private television channels and more than 1000 radio stations. A limited number of these television and radio stations broadcast in minority languages, but critics argue that these broadcasts are too restricted and their quality is poor (Freedom House, 2013b). In Turkey, newspaper circulation is quite low (per 1000 inhabitants 95 read newspapers), while almost every Turkish citizen watches television with an average daily TV viewing time of 5 hour.24 The decline of the power of the army in Turkish politics has also been visible in Turkish media. An interesting development was the removal of the military member out of the Supreme Council of Radio and Television (RTK) in June 2004. The RTK is the main media regulatory body in Turkey and will be discussed in the following section (Freedom House, 2005). However, although military pressure in the area of Turkish media has decreased, there are many concerns about the rise of economic and political pressures on the media (Reporters without Borders, 2011: 18). Many international organizations are highly worried about the media situation in Turkey. The World Press Freedom Index 2013 of Reporters Without Borders puts Turkey in 154th place out of 179 countries, in total 54 places down since 2006.25 Erdogan has become increasingly intolerant toward critical media and has several legal means to suppress the media. Also important is the media ownership structure in Turkey: Turkish media are concentrated in a few conglomerates, which has a significant effect on the news coverage. Before the characteristic media ownership will be discussed, first attention will be given to the media regulation in Turkey. Media regulation .

This chapter will start its analysis of the relationship between politics and traditional media in Turkey at the broadest and most formal level: that of the law. Besides looking at the laws concerning the regulation of press and press freedom, this section will also briefly discuss the

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24

Media Landscapes, Turkey (European Journalism Centre, 2012). Available at http://ejc.net/media_landscapes/turkey 25 Press Freedom Index 2013. Available at: http://en.rsf.org/spip.php?page=classement&id_rubrique=1054

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main media regulatory body, which is the Supreme Council of Radio and Television (RTK). Specific laws and regulations regarding censorship will be addressed later in this chapter. In Turkey, there are many laws concerning the regulation of press and press freedom. The Constitution of the Republic of Turkey (2010) 26 grants freedom of expression, as declared in Article 26:
Everyone has the right to express and disseminate his thoughts and opinion by speech, in writing or in pictures or through other media, individually or collectively. This right includes the freedom to receive and impart information and ideas without interference from official authorities.

However, in that same article freedom of expression is restricted in various ways: the exercise of these freedoms may be restricted for the purposes of national security, public order, public safety, safeguarding the basic characteristics of the Republic and the indivisible integrity of the State with its territory and nation [...] (Article 26, Constitution of Republic of Turkey, 2010). To prepare for membership in the European Union, an important reform that affected press freedom in Turkey was the adoption of the new Press Code in 2004. This new law includes heavy fines instead of prison sentences for several press crimes, permits noncitizens to own periodicals and serve as editors, protects against disclosure of sources, and prevents authorities from closing publications or hindering distribution (Freedom House, 2005). However, the implementation of the Press Code was closely followed by a new Turkish Penal Code, which increasingly undermines freedom of press. Here, especially reasons for concern are Articles 301 and 216. Article 301 was adopted in 2005 and lastly amended in 2008 and has long been one of the most problematic articles for the enjoyment of freedom of expression in Turkey. The article27 criminalizes denigrating the Turkish Nation or Turkish government institutions and allows people to be imprisoned for up to two years. Especially concerning is the ambiguity of the article: the meanings of denigration and the state bodies protected are highly debatable (Algan, 2008: 2251). In 2008, a series of mainly symbolic changes were made, but also added was the requirement of the approval of the Minister of Justice before prosecutors could initiate proceedings. Although this amendment has reduced the use of the article to prosecute criticism of the state, it has not eliminated abuses (Amnesty International, 2013b: 13). Another problematic article of the Turkish Penal Code is Article 216, which bans inflaming hatred and hostility among peoples. The article assigns individuals up to three years in prison and is frequently used against journalists who write about the Kurdish population or who demand more rights for Kurds (Reporters without Borders, 2011: 14).

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26 27

The Constitution was ratified on 7 November 1982 and was last amended in 2010 This thesis refers to the amended version of 2008

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Next to the Turkish Penal Code, a major obstacle for the press freedom in Turkey is the Anti-Terror Law, which allows journalists to be imprisoned for up to three years for the dissemination of statements and propaganda by terrorist organizations (Freedom House, 2013b). Because of the broad definition of terrorism the Anti-Terror Law allows the AKP to equate coverage of banned groups, such as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), with terrorism itself. The government especially uses the law to jail Kurdish journalists. For these journalists, basic newsgathering activities or conducting interviews with the wrong people are used as evidence of a crime (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2012: 9). Since 2012, Turkey is the worlds biggest prison for journalists. The 2013 prison census of the Committee to Protect Journalists released that there are now 40 journalists in Turkish prison, which is slightly less than the 49 the CPJ recorded on December 1, 2012. Some journalists were freed pending trials and others benefited from a new legislation that allows defendants in lengthy pretrial detentions to be released for time served.28 Around 70 percent of the journalists imprisoned are Kurds who are charged with aiding terrorism by covering the viewpoints and activities of the PKK and other similar organizations. Besides the large number of Kurdish journalists, most other journalists are jailed because of their assumed participation in anti-government plots. According to the AKP however, a great majority of imprisoned journalists were accused of crimes that concern the security and integrity of our country and are not related to their work (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2012: 9). In Turkey, there is an alarming use of detention prior to trial or verdict. Of the 40 journalists imprisoned many of them are still awaiting trial.29 The special authority courts, established in 2005 by the AKP to deal with terrorism and anti-state crime, have played an important role in this (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2012: 9). These special courts have held subjects in jail for months or even years without any trial. Although reforms in July 2012 formally abolished these special courts, the measure shifted much of the courts authority to regional criminal courts. In addition, all ongoing coup and terror cases are unaffected by the change: the special courts will continue to deal with them until a final verdict is reached. The July 2012 reforms did also not alter the Anti-Terror Law and the Turkish Penal Code to rid them of the ambiguous language that is consistently used to silence critical news. How the Turkish Court interprets words like denigration of terrorism is crucial for the enjoyment of freedom of expression. At this point, concerning is the climate created at the top levels of the judiciary, already mentioned in the previous chapter: when the government gets tough, [...] the judiciary gets tough as well (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2012: 11). Hence, although some legal reforms have resulted in a modest decline in the number of journalists behind bars, Turkey still holds more journalists in custody than any other country in the . .

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28 29

2013 prison census (1 December, 2013). Available at: http://cpj.org/imprisoned/2013.php 2013 prison census (1 December, 2013). Available at: http://cpj.org/imprisoned/2013.php

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world and has grown increasingly repressive.30

Besides the several laws concerning press freedom, this section will also shed a light on the main media regulatory body in Turkey. A dubious role in Turkish media plays the Supreme Council of Radio and Television (RTK), which has the legal power to sanction or close broadcasters and print outlets if they are not in compliance with the law (Freedom House, 2013b). The RTK is founded in 1994 and is composed of nine members elected by the government. The independence of the regulatory body has been a matter of concern for a long time due to its political formation (European Commission, 2013: 32). Although formally independent, the RTK is frequently prone to political pressure and enables the AKP to exert strong control over the private media in Turkey (Kaya & akmur, 2010: 528). The general picture of this paragraph shows that although the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey (2010) grants freedom of expression, it is seriously limited by repressive laws. However, while the media regulation is central to the problematic situation of press freedom in Turkey, so too is the media ownership structure. Suing is not the biggest weapon of the government, economic sanctions are. The fact that the media in Turkey are owned by a few conglomerates is the biggest secret weapon of the government,31 says Ogulcan Ekiz, founder of news Twitter organization 140journos. The following section will elaborate on the media ownership structure in Turkish media. Media ownership Many scholars assume that the worldwide trend of commercialization of the media is a step forward in the direction of democracy as it gives media independence from the state. However, in some countries close alliances between media owners and the state may lead to a continuous control of the government over media output. In this paragraph the development of commercial press and privately owned media will be discussed and it will become clear that economic and political institutions have not developed separately in Turkey (Christensen, 2007: 195). . The transition to multiparty democracy in 1946 affected the media landscape in Turkey. Besides the emergence of a political party press, a new kind of commercial (print) press was born which aimed to be financed by advertisements. However, due to poor market conditions, they were all largely dependent on state subsidies (Kaya & akmur, 2010: 524). In the 1950s, the economic situation in Turkey deteriorated and the media started to criticize the government. The ruling Democratic Party (DP) offered both the carrot and the stick to silence these criticism (Kaya & akmur, 2010: 524). Firstly, amendments in the Press Law enabled the authorities to take legal action against journalists and media owners and .

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30 31

2013 prison census (1 December, 2013). Available at: http://cpj.org/imprisoned/2013.php See Appendix C1

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secondly, the DP developed clientelist relations with certain media owners and privileged them with state subsidies or commercial advantages. In the 1960s, Turkey witnessed an economic growth and a new Press Law was adopted which extended press freedom. Under these circumstances, Turkeys commercial press entered a new phase. The emergence of press focused on entertainment at the expense of political news marked the end of the political party press. However, high degree of interrelationships between the state and media owners, either through subsidy and regulation or in the form of clientelist ties, persisted (Kaya & akmur, 2010: 525). In the late 1980s, Turkey chose for a market-base strategy of economic modernization, which had major consequences for the media environment. In the following years a rich media environment replaced Turkeys poor media landscape. In Turkey, the newspaper industry soon developed into a big business. While new entrepreneurs with investments in other fields such as construction entered into the newspaper sector, the traditional media owners began investing in other areas as well (Kaya & akmur, 2010: 525). It was clear that the involvement of corporations in the Turkish media had more to do with commercial benefits than with a desire to develop a democratic media system (Christensen, 2007: 185). Especially since the second half of the 1990s, newspapers started to get concentrated into the hands of large multi-sectoral groups, often with interests in commercial broadcasting. In contradiction to print media, the commercialization in the broadcast media started much later: the state monopoly of the TRT just ended in March 1990, when Turkey welcomed its first private television channel, owned by a major private company involved in a wide sphere of business sectors (Kaya & akmur, 2010: 527). The public was pleased with this development and hoped that it would end the use of television for governments purposes. The introduction of commercial channels paved the way for a rich broadcasting sector. In the late 1990s and early 2000s Turkey witnessed a rapid transformation from commercialization toward conglomeration (Kaya & akmur, 2010: 526). Nowadays, a few major groups in Turkey own an estimated 80 percent of all Turkish media. 32 All big commercial channels and newspapers belong to these media holdings. The Dogan Group is the largest and most prominent of the media companies and owns 40 percent of the Turkish media. Dogan Holding is a Kemalist and secularist group, but since 2009, when the group was hit by a $2.5 billion tax fine after reporting about a corruption scandal of the government, the groups media outlets have lowered their secularist tones and became moderately in line with the conservative and pro-Islamic views of the government (Bayazit, 2013: 15). The second largest group is the Turkuvaz group, owned by the Calik Holding. The group has very close ties to the AKP government and the CEO is Erdogans son-in-law. Other media groups are the Ciner Group, Feza Group, Dogus Group, ukurova Group and Albayrak Group (Sozeri,

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32

Media Landscapes, Turkey (2012). Available at: http://ejc.net/media_landscapes/turkey

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2013: 1). In Turkey, all major media groups, except the Feza Group, are large conglomerates and their major business activities are in other sectors, such as banking, construction and energy (Bayazit, 2013: 14). The development of commercialization in Turkey did not decrease the high degree of political parallelism in the media. Instead, it led to a situation where the connection between state and media has not been broken, but strengthened (Christensen, 2007: 185). The high concentration and cross-ownership in Turkish media have resulted in augmented clientelist relationships between the media owners and the government (Bayazit, 2013: 17). The companies utilize commercial benefits of these clientelist relations, leading to the instrumentalization of media (arkoglu & Yavuz, 2010: 618). The conglomerates use their media power in return for government contracts, business deals or other commercial advantages. Support for and friendly relations with the AKP translates into lucrative public works contracts, including huge urban construction projects (Hallinan, 2013).33 Ceren Sozeri, a researcher at the Galatasaray University, has been observing the investments of the conglomerates for years. She noticed that pro-government media owners are increasingly winning the important public tenders and the role of their media operations during this process cannot be underestimated (Sozeri, 2013: 2). However, the commercialization in Turkey has also enabled tools for political pressure (arkoglu & Yavuz, 2010: 616). The conglomerates depend on government contracts and are therefore afraid to report critically about the government. The more industry investments media owners have, the more they are vulnerable to the pressure of the AKP. Especially this government, that is in power for eleven years now, is very powerful. If any media group challenges this government, they are excluded from contracts.34 Since the AKP came to power, many media outlets have lowered or changed their tones (Bayazit, 2013: 16). While private media owners have connections to obtain government contracts and concessions, politicians can pressure media owners by selectively enforcing broadcasting, tax or other laws (arkoglu & Yavuz, 2010: 618). Hence, although privately owned, most media owners in Turkey are still vulnerable to political pressure because of their clientelist relations with the powerful AKP. The complex relationship between media owners and the government in Turkey is characterized by media-political clientelism, where the AKP is acting as the patron and the media owners as the clients (Bayazit, 2013: 18). It is the combination of state and corporate influence that must be considered in order to understand the problems facing Turkish media (Christensen, 2007: 195). However, it is important to note that with the creeping authoritarianism of Erdogan, the environment for media owners has become more hostile.

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33

Turkey: Uprisings Currents Run Deep (29 July, 2013). Available at: http://fpif.org/turkeyuprisings-currents-run-deep/ 34 See Appendix C2

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The colossal tax fine of the Dogan Holding in 2009 made that painfully clear: besides the risk of losing government contracts or business deals when criticizing the AKP, media owners now also face the danger of being hit by huge fines (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2011: 12). An important development under the AKP in Turkeys media landscape is the rise of privately owned Islamist media, which are mainly involved in spreading their standpoints (Kaya & akmur, 2010: 529). Some of these media are sponsored by the religious Glen Movement and were long seen as pro-government media. However, the recent power struggle between the Glen Movement and the government, discussed in the previous chapter, has changed this. Important here is the newspaper Zaman, the biggest daily in Turkey, owned by the Feza Group that is directly attached to the Glen Movement (Sozeri, 2013: 2). Many respondents mentioned the critical news coverage of the Zaman35, which has been highly visible during the corruption scandal in December 2013. Next to the Zaman and small newspaper Bugn, Samanyolu TV, a high-rated television channel in Turkey (4.66 percent of Turkish viewers), is also affiliated with the Cemaat. 36 The Glen Movement is not economically dependent on the government; it has a global network and most of its businesses are all around the world. Consequently, it will be harder for Erdogan to control them.37 In order to (lightly) punish the critical news coverage of the corruption scandal, the state-owned Turkish Airlines has now stopped the distribution of newspapers affiliated with the Glen Movement on its planes.38 Another newspaper, Taraf that is not owned by one of the media groups, also has links with the Glen Movement (Bayazit, 2012: 26).39 Before continuing with the other characteristics, it is important to distinguish some important groups within the Turkish media. The first group consists of media called yandas (partisan) owned by the conglomerates which have economic and ideological relations with the government (arkoglu & Yavuz, 2010: 618); secondly, there are media owned by the conglomerates that only have financial links with the government; and the third (smaller) group consists of media affiliated with the Glen Movement (Bayazit, 2013: 14).40 Next to these important groups, there are some marginal media that are hardly considered as mainstream. Most of them are independent, but HalkTV, one of the few channels that provided live coverage of the Gezi protests, has close ties with the opposition party CHP

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35

See Appendix C1, C2, C5, C7 TV ranks six in the top ten of high-rated television channels in Turkey. The top five, except for FOX TV (number four) that is an international entertainment television channel, are owned by the conglomerates. Their high-rated television channels reach almost 40 percent of Turkish viewers (and they own a lot of small television channels as well). Source: 2013 TV Verileri. Visited at 18 January, 2014. Available at: http://www.connectedvivaki.com/16-31-temmuz-2013-tv-verileri/"" #'"See Appendix C1 and C2 38 Turkish Airlines discriminates against critical newspapers on planes (23 December, 2013). Available at: http://www.todayszaman.com/turkish-airlines-discriminates-against-criticalnewspapers-on-planes.html 39 See Appendix C6, C9 40 See Appendix C7, C8
36"Samanyolu

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(European Commission, 2013: 52). The next sections will show how the repressive laws in Turkey and the alliances between the conglomerates and the government affect Turkish media in daily life. In the following part, the characteristic censorship will be analyzed. Besides direct state censorship, special attention will be given to the phenomenon of selfcensorship. Censorship The press is free, and shall not be censored (Article 28, Constitution of Republic of Turkey, 2010). Although censorship is prohibited in the Constitution, several laws and legal bodies make direct censorship possible in Turkey (Arsan, 2013: 451). An important role in this plays the RTK, described in the previous section, which has the authority to sanction broadcasters and print outlets if they violate the law. In the past years many media outlets have been fined, banned or shut down. In Turkey, restricted topics include Kurdish issues, the Armenian genocide, or any subject deemed offensive to Islam or the Turkish state (Freedom House, 2013b). The RTK, although formally independent, is an important tool of the AKP to exert control over the media in Turkey (Kaya & akmur, 2010: 528). However, since January 2011, the Constitutional Court of Turkey granted the prime ministers office authority to impose a temporary ban in cases that national security explicitly necessitates or a strong possibility that public order will be seriously distorted (Article 7, Turkish Broadcasting Law 6112, 2011). Since the amendment to the law, several closures occurred under orders from a variety of ministers (Freedom House, 2013b). Beyond these forms of direct censorship, imprisonment of journalists is another method used by the government to silence dissidents (Arsan, 2013: 451). The part of traditional media up till now has outlined the indirect and direct (legal) forms of pressure of the AKP on the media and the relationship between the media owners and the government. Obviously, media owners and journalists in Turkey operate in a hostile environment. There is the intimidation created by the government [...] and their intimidation works so well. It is a threat. This intimidation causes traditional media to selfcensor. 41 One of the biggest problems facing Turkish media is the high level of selfcensorship. Erdogan consistently pressures media owners to limit critical news coverage, who are vulnerable to political pressure and apply self-censorship because they depend on government contracts (Christensen, 2007: 185). Since 2009, when the Dogan Group received a huge tax fine, the situation has worsened even more. According to prominent journalist Nedim "ener, the fine has put things under pressure and has led to more self-censorship in

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41

See Appendix C1

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Turkey.42 Strikingly, during the Gezi Park protests, it was CNN Turk, a television channel of the Dogan Holding, that broadcasted the documentary about penguins. The political pressure of Erdogan clearly has a significant chilling effect on the media owners. Besides the major media blackout during the Gezi Park Protests (Amnesty International, 2013a: 50), most traditional media also applied self-censorship during the corruption scandal in December 2013. Many newspapers and television channels left out important details, such as the names of the ministers who were involved.43 For the media outlets that do critically cover the AKP, Erdogan has several means to punish them. For instance, most of the small independent media outlets that were brave enough to provide live coverage of the Gezi protests were fined by the RTK on the basis of incitement to violence (European Commission, 2013: 52). For media outlets, and especially for the major conglomerates, the consequences of being critical of the AKP can be huge and vary from (major) fines, bans, complete closures to losing important contracts or business deals. Turkish journalists, for their part, operate in an aggressive environment with pressure coming from the government and media owners. Apart from Turkey being the biggest prison for journalists in the world, media owners consistently pressure their journalists to refrain from reporting that will harm their business interests. If journalists are being too critical about the government or their news organizations, they will lose their job (Christensen, 2007: 190). At least 60 journalists have been fired or forced to resign over their coverage of the Gezi protests (European Commission, 2013: 52). Many respondents of this thesis emphasized the fear among journalists of losing their job when writing about sensitive issues. 44 Most of the media employees in Turkey work without an union and have no permanent contracts and job security (Tunc, 2013: 159). According to Asli Tunc, the problematic media situation in Turkey cannot be understood without reference to selfcensorship.
Self-censorship is huge in Turkey. People are afraid to lose their jobs, they are being intimidated. They keep to be silenced. Even if you are against the government, you can work for a pro-government newspaper or channel. Journalists still see it is a kind of a job they should do, but of course journalism is something different than selling a refrigerator. You are dealing with informing citizens, so your position is different. That is why mainstream media are now totally bad.45

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42

Translated by the author of this thesis. Documentary In Turkije (Vermeulen, 2011). Video available at: http://www.hollanddoc.nl/kijk-luister/documentaire/i/in-turkije-afl-5-van-soap-tot-cel.html 43 See Appendix C7, C8 44 See Appendix C2, C4, C5, C6, C9 45 See Appendix C6

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To obtain deeper insights into self-censorship, this thesis will discuss the survey conducted by Esra Arsan (2013) between March and April 2011 among 67 Turkish journalists from various newspapers and television channels.46 The respondents were asked to report personal experiences with regards to censorship and self-censorship. Among the 67 journalists, 64 percent were classified as gatekeepers. Gatekeepers decide about what becomes news or not, which story goes on which page, what the headline will be et cetera. Consequently, in comparison with their reporter counterparts they feel greater pressure of censorship and self-censorship (Arsan, 2013: 452). First, the journalists were given a list of problems in Turkish media and were asked to rate them according to their significance (Arsan, 2013: 453). 84.5 percent of the respondents listed the governments pressure / censorship on news contents as the most significant problem, followed by self-censorship of journalists on news contents (77.6 percent). Censorship and self-censorship are widespread in Turkey, not one respondent did not agree with this (Arsan, 2013: 458). In total, 91.4 percent of the respondents said that they apply self-censorship, which clearly shows the seriousness of the problem. 55.8 percent reported that they often apply self-censorship and 38.5 percent occasionally. Arsan (2013: 454) also asked the journalists for the reasons why they do not or cannot make news about certain topics. 96.2 percent of the respondents said it was due to internal political pressures, closely followed (92.4 percent) by the answer that is it does not comply with the financial interests of media owners. Furthermore, 84.6 percent of the respondents selected the option because I already knew that the case would not be published. Here, journalists do not even attempt to make news out of these events. In other words, censorship is internalized (Arsan, 2013: 454). The fear of conviction or imprisonment is also a significant reason for journalists (65.3 percent) not to make news about certain sensitive issues. However, although some respondents of this thesis also mentioned the fear of being arrested among journalists47, most of them emphasized that the arrests mainly affect Kurdish journalists and thus do not have as much impact as they maybe are supposed to have in Turkey.48 But what exactly are the sensitive issues that Turkish journalists feel that they cannot write about? According to the respondents of the survey, the most sensitive topics are the media owners relationship with the government, corruption of the government, the Kurdish issue, media owners businesses in other sectors, religious groups wrongdoings and the secret integration of religious communities into state departments (Arsan, 2013: 457). It is important to highlight the important role religious communities (especially the Glen

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46

Journalists work for newspapers Hrriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Yeni Safak, Zaman, Birgn, Habertrk, Evrensel, Star, Sabah, Gnlk, Hurriyet Daily News, Aksam, Vatan, Cumhuriyet, Szc, and Taraf; and for television channels Hayat TV, CNNTrk, NTV, and TV8. 47 See Appendix C2, C9 48 See Appendix C1, C4, C5, C7, C8

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Movement) play in Turkish media, which will also come forward in the following section about agenda-setting. When the survey was conducted (2011), the Glen Movement was still side by side with the government. Consequently, the government also did not want journalists to write critically about the Glen Movement. However, now the two actors are against each other, the Cemaat - separate of the government - also contributes in creating a climate of self-censorship. Although their journalists are now able to criticize the AKP, it is still not possible to write critically about the Cemaat. If you are working for a newspaper which is supported by the Glen Movement, you cannot at the end of the day write the truth about their wrongdoings in cases like the Ergenekon trial or disagree with them on important issues.49 This section has shown that besides the fact that the AKP has several means to exercise a certain degree of direct and indirect censorship, most worrying is the high level of self-censorship in Turkey that is particularly caused by the media ownership structure. In addition, if it is not the government that pressures media outlets and journalists to apply selfcensorship, the powerful Glen Movement is quick to seize their media as well. Agenda-setting News can be very powerful in influencing the publics opinion on certain matters. This is a good argument for preventing a particular news item to be published, but also for trying to place an item high on the media agenda. This section describes the process of agenda-setting: who decides which news items are covered by the media? The only public broadcaster in Turkey is the TRT, whose media agenda is set by the government (Freedom House, 2013b). Besides TRT, there are hundreds of commercial channels and newspapers in Turkey. In many cases, according to Hallin and Mancini (2004: 279), a consequence of the commercialization trend is that media outlets are becoming increasingly central in setting their media agenda, often at the expense of politicians. However, in Turkey this is different. Earlier in this chapter, an outline was given of the complex relationship between the conglomerates and the government. This section will discuss the influence of both actors on the media agenda. Furthermore, attention will be given to the influence of other powerful actors. As already mentioned in the former section, the journalists interviewed by Arsan (2013) were given a list of problems in Turkish media. Next to the most significant problem governments pressure / censorship on news contents, 75 percent of the respondents were also highly concerned about the intervention of media owners in news content, which clearly shows the major influence media owners and the government have on the media agenda. In another question the respondents were asked to rate the importance of several actors in terms of how influential they are on the news content in Turkey (Arsan, 2013: 454).

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49

See Appendix C9

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Respectively 81 percent and 15.5 percent (together 96.5 percent) of the participants think the government is a very important or important influential actor on news content, which goes against all governments claims that they have no control over news content. The second most influential actor are definitely media owners: respectively 59.6 percent and 38.6 percent (together 98.2 percent) of the respondents rate the influence of media owners on the new content as very important or important (Arsan, 2013: 454). Another influential actor, related to the rise of Islamist media (Kaya & akmur, 2010: 529), are religious groups (especially the Glen Movement). In total, 83.9 percent of the Turkish journalists considered them as very important or important actors. The role of the military has substantially fallen back, with 57.2 percent (although still not that low) of the respondents claiming the army has a rather significant or significant role in news contents (Arsan, 2013: 454). As discussed in the paragraph about media ownership, the relationship between media owners and the government is characterized by media-political clientelism. Consequently, to a certain extent the influence of media owners on news content can be interpreted as indirect influence of the government on the media agenda. The lack of media independence in determining their own media agenda is worrying (arkoglu & Yavuz, 2010: 616). There are a few small independent media outlets in Turkey who determine their own agenda, but their stories are hardly ever picked up by the mainstream media and have little impact (Bayazit, 2013: 20).50 The influence of the government on the agenda-setting process in the mainstream media became clearly visible during the Gezi Park protests last summer 2013. Instead of covering the protests, the 24/7 news channels chose to air documentaries about penguins or to continue with their talk shows (European Commission, 2013: 52). After a few days, the news channels covered the protests somewhat, but very minimally, and some of them (the yandas media) worked really hard to create a perception that the Gezi protesters were terrorists (Amnesty International, 2013a: 12). Concerning print media, seven newspapers ran the same headline that supported Erdogan. This was also the case during the corruption scandal in December 2013, where many newspapers had the same front page.51 However, an important change is the news coverage of the media supported by the Cemaat. Where the dailies Zaman and Bugn, during the protests, both belonged to the seven newspapers with the same headline that supported Erdogan, they are now criticizing the AKP and have their own agenda, but determined by the Glen Movement. However, overall, the repressive laws, the concentration of media ownership in major conglomerates and self-censorship have definitely brought about a dominance of government-driven reporting.

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50 51

See Appendix C1, C6, C8, C9 See Appendix C8

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Media Identification

In democratic systems, journalists should first and foremost identify themselves with the public interest and use this identification as the foundation for their reporting. In the opposite situation media identify themselves with the state (Brants & Van Praag, 2005: 6). In the survey of Arsan (2013) the respondents were asked whether they apply self-censorship: in other words, do journalists regularly abstain from making news about certain events that involve public interest? (Arsan, 2013: 454). Self-censorship is extensively discussed in the paragraph on censorship, however in this paragraph emphasis will be put on the journalists identification with the public interest. Of all the participants, 91.4 percent said that they regularly abstain from making news that involve public interest, often caused by domestic political pressures or because they think that the story will damage their boss financial interests (Arsan, 2013: 455). For the major conglomerates, it seems obvious that public interest has been defeated by economic interests, although this does not mean that the mainstream media never make news that contains public interest (Sozeri, 2011: 72). When looking at the Turkish journalists who participated in the survey of Arsan (2013) it seems that they do identify themselves with the public sphere, but that various external pressures often force them not to make news that would benefit the public. During the Gezi protests, there were journalists recording the events, but in the end the channels did not broadcast it: that was an institutional problem, the chiefeditor and owner decided that.52 By the same token, it seems that the respondents of the survey do not necessarily identify themselves with the AKP, but are often forced to do so - out of fear, external pressures et cetera. However, while some journalists are resigning, because they cannot do journalism anymore53, most of the journalists stay and still see it as a kind of job they should do.54 The reality is that many journalists, especially those who work for the yandas media, openly identify themselves with the government and not with the public interest. Further, when looking at the media affiliated with the CHP and the Glen Movement, their news reporting against the AKP does not automatically means identification with the public. Identifying with the public interest means presenting the public with balanced and diverse information. Here, also problematic is the high polarization in Turkish media (Bayazit, 2013: 18). In Turkey, every political neighborhood (Kemalism, nationalism, conservatism et cetera) has its own newspaper55, although due to the pressure of the AKP, journalists and columnists obviously have limited opportunities to venture critical ideological comments56. There are certainly some independent media outlets that do identify themselves

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52 53

See Appendix C7 See Appendix C9 54 See Appendix C6 55 See Appendix C7, C8 56 See Appendix C6, C9

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with the public interest and provide the citizens with balanced information, but they are small and have little impact (Bayazit, 2013: 20). Hence, caused by the media ownership structure and the high polarization, most Turkish media do not present diverse viewpoints and (are forced to) identify themselves with the government. The role of journalists .

In the second chapter of this thesis an outline was given of the different roles of journalists in political systems: watchdog, lapdog and propagandist. It is well-known that Erdogan is hypersensitive to criticism and increasingly intolerant toward critical media (Grener & Ucal, 2011: 357). After winning three elections, the AKP feels that it is almighty and can easily suppress the media.57 However, this does not mean that traditional media never cover critical news against the government. There is still some space for critical reporting, especially for the small independent media outlets, whose political influence is little.58 Erdogan does not give much attention to the small outlets and is more concerned about preventing investigative and critical reporting within the mainstream media. Earlier in this chapter, the different groups within Turkish media were mentioned and it will become clear that while the one group is engaged with spreading propaganda, others are fulfilling the role of a lapdog or watchdog. To start with the so-called yandas media, owned by the conglomerates that have economic and ideological relations with the government and are the voice of the AKP.59 They make up almost half of the mainstream media and are therefore very powerful in influencing the public opinion (Sozeri, 2013: 4-5). In their news coverage they are actively spreading propaganda for the AKP. This was clearly visible during the corruption scandal, when all yandas newspapers and television channels were claiming that the scandal was a grand conspiracy against Erdogan.60 Also during the Gezi protests, the yandas media were actively promoting the AKP: the day after the state police firstly used water cannons and teargas to break up the protests, the newspaper Sabah published a cover story called Turkey is a role model in the fight against tobacco use.61 Another major group within Turkish media is owned by the conglomerates that only have financial links with the government. Here, an important conglomerate is the Dogan Holding, which is a Kemalist and secularist group (Bayazit, 2013: 14). The political ideas in Turkey are very polarized, but journalists and media owners are limited to be critical in their

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57

See Appendix C6, C7 See Appendix C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, C9 59 See Appendix C7, C8 60 Pro-AKP media accuses Israel of Role in Turkish corruption scandal (20 December, 2013). Available at: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/12/pro-erdogan-media-says-israelbehind-corruption-probe.html 61 Duizenden betogers weer op Taksimplein (3 June, 2013). Available at: http://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/2668/Buitenland/article/detail/3452025/2013/06/03/Duizendenbetogen-weer-op-Taksimplein.dhtml
58

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reporting about the AKP because of the economic relations. You see the polarization mainly in the columns of the columnists. They are allowed to write critically, but if they are getting out of the line, they are fired, says Esra Arsan.62 However, being a watchdog of governmental activities is not just criticizing the government through columnists, but requires investigative journalism. When looking at the editorial line, the journalists of these media mainly fulfill the role of a lapdog: they are not spreading propaganda, but are often scared to investigate and to cover sensitive issues and critical events. They rather broadcast a documentary about penguins. During the corruption scandal, remarkable was the difference between the news coverage of their print and broadcast media: while the newspapers covered the scandal with critical details such as the names of the ministers involved (although they stayed calm in their criticism), the television channels left out these important facts.63 This is probably due to the relatively low newspaper circulation in Turkey; Erdogan is more concerned with preventing critical news coverage on television that reaches almost every Turkish citizen. Finally, there are definitely some media in Turkey that report critically about the AKP. Most important are the media affiliated with the Glen Movement, which are since the start of the power struggle very critical about the AKP in their news coverage.64 However, they might be more engaged with attacking and being against the government65 than factually checking the AKP at truth finding and reviewing the decisions it takes. Here, one may question whether their reporting makes them true watchdogs. This also applies to HalkTV, which has close ties with the opposition party CHP (European Commission, 2012: 52). However, although they may not have the ideal motive to report critically about the government, they still play an important role in counterbalancing the government-driven reporting in Turkish media. Finally, an important, but limited, role play the independent media outlets, who spread diverse and vibrant views and are engaged in investigative and critical journalism (Bayazit, 2013: 20).66 This section can be concluded by stating that whilst some true watchdogs can be found in Turkey, most traditional media fulfill the role of an uncritical lapdog or actively spread propaganda for the AKP. Traditional media not the only players in Turkish media In the part on traditional media the six media system characteristics were researched to discover whether the relationship between politics and traditional news media is characterized by state logic. In the conclusion of this thesis an answer will be given to the .

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62 63

See Appendix C9 See Appendix C7, C8 64 See Appendix C1, C2, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, C9 65 See Appendix C5, C7 66 In Turkey, media bosses are undermining democracy (19 July, 2013). Available at: http://www.nytimes. com/ 2013/07/21/opinion/sunday/in-turkey-media-bosses-are-underminingdemocracy.html

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research question. However, the main question of this thesis consists of two parts: the relationship between traditional media and politics and the role of online media in Turkey. While there are many literature and reports written about the traditional media situation in Turkey, the literature on online media is still quite scanty. Certainly since the Gezi protests, online media in Turkey have entered a new phase. In the following section the role of online media will be analyzed. Here, attention will be given to online media as an alternative news source, the relationship between politics and online media and the connection between traditional media and online media. The media characteristics of Brants and Van Praag (2005) and Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) will play a leading role in this section.

4.2. Online media


So glad we have you, Internet journalism! So glad we have you, free media!67 At the height of the Gezi protests, Hasan Cemal, one of the most prominent journalists in Turkey68, was glorifying the role of online media in Turkey. Where the traditional media conveyed little of the protests or frequently failed to cover them at all, online and social media became increasingly popular as sources for accurate and alternative information (Amnesty International, 2013a: 6). What is the role of online media in Turkey and are they really as free as Hasan Cemal pretends? . There is definitely a vibrant community of Internet users in Turkey. Statistics concerning the Internet using patterns are highly impressive. Nowadays, around 35 million Turkish citizens use the Internet, representing 44.4 percent of the population (Tunc, 2013: 156). As discussed in the second chapter, in this thesis online media concern independent news websites (which have no linkage with traditional media), blogs and social media. There are two relatively big independent professional news websites in Turkey: T24 and Bianet. Bianet is part of the Independent Communication Network, established in 1997 and T24 is launched on September 1, 2009. Both are established with the aim to offer an alternative for the Turkish mainstream media. 69 Many respondents were very enthusiastic about the journalism they do70: these are good information sources you can trust71; Bianet is the best example of independent media in Turkey72; T24 is a very interesting website and it covers a

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67

Turkeys independent media step up (June 3, 2013). Available at: http://www.almonitor.com/pulse/politics/2013/06/turkey-free-media-monitor.html 68 Just before the Gezi protests, Cemal resigned from the Hurriyet newspaper, because his boss refused to publish a column that criticized Erdogan. He has co-founded online platform P24 69 See Appendix C7, C8 70 See Appendix C1, C2, C4, C5, C6, C9 71 See Appendix C9 72 See Appendix C9

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lot of things that are not covered independently elsewhere.73 Bianet and T24 respectively have 25.000 and 50.000 unique visitors per day.74 The respondents mentioned that they do have influence in Turkey, but only in a small intellectual circle. 75 The influence of the websites will be further discussed in the section on agenda-setting. . When researching the role of online media, it became clear that there is no blogger culture in Turkey. Although there were many pop-up blogs during the Gezi protests, most bloggers did not continue after the demonstrations. Erkan Saka explains: there are so many columnists in Turkey, I think people prefer writing a column for a newspaper than updating their own blog, although the latter is way more independent of course. But, instead, there is a huge culture of microblogging. Here, social media (especially Twitter) are brought into the picture. Over the last few years, there has been an explosion of social media in Turkey. The country now ranks 4th in the world for Facebook use and 11th for Twitter use.76 It has currently more than 30 million Facebook users. In 2013, Twitter has been through an extraordinary boom: compared to 6.2 million users in the first quarter there are now nearly 10 million Twitter users in Turkey. Obviously, the Gezi Park protests have played a major role in this. Because Twitter, in contradiction to other social media networks, is mainly used for information needs rather than for satisfying social needs (Sozeri, 2011: 73), most attention will be given to Twitter when analyzing the role of social media in Turkey. The starting point of this section will be an analysis of the legal context in which online media users operate. The most important laws concerning press freedom - the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law - also apply to online media users. However, Turkey also has laws that are specifically designed to restrict the usage of Internet. After online media regulation, a closer look will be taken at the characteristic censorship. Because all specific laws concerning online media will be described in the section on media regulation, here only self-censorship will be discussed. Further, the role of online media users and media identification will be analyzed, followed by the characteristic agenda-setting, in which attention will be paid to the relationship between online media and traditional media. Online media regulation Before 2007, Turkey had no specific laws regarding the regulation of the Internet and applied the traditional media laws to online media users. In recent years, however, Turkey has taken considerable legal steps to limit access to online information. Especially concerning is Law No. 5651, commonly known as the Internet Law, adopted in 2007 (Tunc, 2013: 157). Firstly, .

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73

See Appendix C4 See Appendix C7, C8" '%"See Appendix C1, C4, C6, C9" 76 Digital in Turkey: the appealing market of a complex country (30 October, 2013). Available at: http://www.digitalintheround.com/turkey-digital-market/
74

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this section will start by briefly introducing the main regulatory bodies over Internet in Turkey: the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) and the Telecommunications Communication Presidency (TIB). Their political formation is reminiscent of the RTK: while officially independent, they are still controlled by the Ministry of Transports and Communication. Board members of both bodies are government appointees, which is a potential threat to their independence (Freedom House, 2013c). Many international organizations are highly worried about the freedom on the Internet in Turkey. Since 2010, Reporters Without Borders has included Turkey on its Internet list of countries under surveillance (Reporters Without Borders, 2012: 68). Here, most concerning is Law No. 5651 (Tunc, 2013: 157). Its most important provision allows the blocking of websites that contain certain types of content, including material that shows or promotes sexual exploitation and abuse of children, obscenity, prostitution, or gambling (Freedom House, 2013c). Next to these websites, also target for blocking are websites that insult Ataturk. The TIB, under supervision of the BTK, was chosen as the organization responsible for overseeing the application of the Internet law. The body is entitled to execute blocking orders issued by the courts and to issue administrative blocking orders under its own authority with regards to certain Internet content. Especially problematic is the lack of transparency concerning the decisions to block websites. The TIB as well as the judges often do not provide the reasoning behind their decisions in blocking notices, which makes it difficult for website owners to trace why their site has been blocked (Saka, 2012: 2). Although Law No. 5651 was initially designed to protect children from harmful Internet content, it has soon paved the way for severe Internet restrictions (Saka, 2012: 1). According to Engelliweb.com, that takes statistics on banned websites in Turkey, there were almost 40.000 blocked websites as of 14 January 201477, over 10.000 more compared to April 2013 (Freedom House, 2013c). Highly controversial was the YouTube ban, which lasted between 2008 and 2010 (Tunc, 2013: 157). In 2008, several videos insulting Ataturk were available on YouTube, resulting in a storm of complaints. The clips were removed, but soon the court decided to block all access to the website (Tunc, 2013: 158). Next to YouTube, the AKP has routinely blocked access to several (relatively small) social media sites such as MySpace and various Google services. Since 2011, websites addressing Turkey-related issues have been subject to blocking orders, which have affected several news websites that cover news on southeastern Turkey and Kurdish issues (Freedom House, 2013c). In recent years, the AKP has come under severe criticism from a number of European bodies for its blocking practices. However, considering the increasing numbers of blocked websites, it does not look like they have much impact.

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77

Eri#ime Engellenen Websiteleri (visited: 14 January, 2014). Available at: http://www.Engelliweb.com/

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In a further attempt to control the Internet, the BTK announced in early 2011 a decision to implement a mandatory filtering system. However, after pressure coming from several national and international organizations, the plans have been changed and the installation of the system is no longer required. The new version also reduced the filtering options from four to two: family and children (Reporters Without Borders, 2012: 68). Once the filtering system starts, the packages will block certain websites. The BTK decides about the filtering criteria, but does not make it public (Saka, 2012: 2). The criteria have been criticized as arbitrary and discriminatory. For instance, the children filter blocks access to Facebook and YouTube, but also to several news websites (Freedom House, 2013c). The filtering system has raised strong reactions: although optional, it remains a threat to freedom on the Internet (Reporters Without Borders, 2012: 68). Despite the attempts of the government to control the Internet and the large number of websites blocked in Turkey, many Internet users have found their way to avoid filters and blocking mechanisms (Freedom House, 2013c). During the YouTube ban, the website remained among the eight most-accessed websites in Turkey. The small impact of blocking websites is emphasized by many respondents.78 The editors-in-chief of Bianet and T24 both do not fear of being banned.79 A lot of websites are closed down because of nakedness for example, but the government does not block journalism websites. Closing down websites is not a very relevant issue for us.80 The fact that Dogan Akin, editor-in-chief of T24, does not even mention the blockage of (Kurdish) news websites, underlines the little impact of the bans. He continues: if we would insult Ataturk for example, we would have a problem, but that is not relevant for us. And if the AKP is ever planning to close down T24, we are not scared and will just open T25.81 Highly worrying for the AKP are the major social media websites Facebook and Twitter. Although the government did succeed in blocking some Facebook group pages during the Gezi protests, the government has not yet found a way to deal with them (Freedom House, 2013c). Especially concerning is Twitter, which has become an increasingly popular source for alternative (critical) information. So far, the AKP is not able to control Twitter: it cannot block it, amongst others because of Twitters complex technical structure 82 and Turkeys international reputation.83 However, Asli Tunc and Engin Onder are both worried about the next steps of the government.84

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78 79

See Appendix C1, C2, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8 See Appendix C7, C8 80"See Appendix C8" 81 See Appendix C8 82 See Appendix C1 83 See Appendix C2 84 See Appendix C1, C6

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The major concern is if a law comes up to censor the Internet, apart from the Internet law, that might be critical. They are now working on something, although they deny it, because they are not comfortable about social media's power among young people. I am sure they will come up with something.85

In the meantime, Erdogan is publicly changing its position toward Twitter. While calling Twitter a menace during the Gezi protests (Freedom House, 2013c), the AKP has recently set up a 6000-member volunteer social media team86 to create [their] own agenda and to inform people by sharing correct information quickly according to that agenda.87 Many respondents consider the team as a propaganda tool of the AKP, but some believe that the governments activity on social media is also (mainly) for monitoring reasons.88 During the Gezi protests, several people were arrested because of their tweets (Freedom House, 2013c): it is obvious that the government is watching and observing everybodys behavior on the net.89 Obviously, the freedom on the Internet in Turkey is limited. Besides regulating the Internet with Law No. 5651, the AKP is also looking for other ways to control the online discourse. How do online media users cope with this situation? The following section will analyze self-censorship among social media users and online journalists. Censorship In Turkish traditional media self-censorship is huge, resulting in major media blackouts during critical events. Especially at these moments, social and online media are highly popular as alternative information sources. Here, an interesting question arises: are online media users not subject to self-censorship? Although the scope of this thesis was too limited to interview a wide range of social media users, the media experts could still give some substantive information about the extent of online self-censorship in Turkey. Moreover, two respondents are the co-founders of 140journos, a Twitter news organization, who work together with many citizen journalists.90 . Although the freedom on the Internet in Turkey is limited, online gives more freedom, because, [in contradiction to traditional media], there is no intimidating structure to control what is being told and what is being covered over there.91 Where traditional journalists are weak and fragile against their owners and the government, social media users and online

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85

See Appendix C6 Turkish Government recruits Social Media Representatives (8 October, 2013). Available at: http://www.socialmediafrontiers.com/2013/10/turkish-government-recruitssocial.html#.Us1gUCgz3WE 87 See Appendix C3 88 See Appendix C6, C7, C9 89 See Appendix C9 90 See Appendix C1 91 See Appendix C1
86

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journalists are not: 92 the government may silence institutions, but it cannot silence individuals.93 Social media users feel freer94; most of them do not have anything to lose.95 However, online media users are also subject to the repressive laws in Turkey: are they not scared of being arrested? In 2013, a Turkish court convicted pianist Fazil Say of blasphemy on the basis of Article 216(3), which prohibits the denigration of the religious values held by a section of society, over a series of comments he made on Twitter. The musician was given a suspended 10-month jail term (Freedom House, 2013c). Furthermore, on 31 December 2013 (two weeks after the corruption scandal started), Erdogan has filed a complaint against Todays Zaman96 journalist Mahir Zeynalov for posting tweets (against Erdogan and the AKP) that include heavy insults in a bid to provoke the nation to hatred (in line with Article 216 and 301).97 Here, it should be noted that Fazil Say and Mahir Zeynalov both have tens of thousands of followers. But besides that, during the Gezi protests, dozens of regular social media users (with much less followers) were arrested. However, important to know about these arrests is that while the Turkish traditional media made it look like people were arrested because of their critical tweets, they were actually detained because they confessed on Twitter that they vandalized an AKP building.98 Hence, the arrests had actually nothing to do with being too critical. Many respondents emphasized that the arrests were more symbolic and a method of the AKP to create self-censorship among social media users.99 Moreover, as already mentioned before, the fact that Turkey holds more journalists in custody than any other country does not mean that people cannot cover critical news concerning the AKP. Asli Tunc and Esra Arsan both stress the importance of discourse.100 In Turkey, there are several laws that ban for example inflaming hatred and hostility among peoples (Article 216), denigration of Turkish government institutions (Article 301) or denigration of religious values (Article 216(3)). Social media users know that they can be arrested when they insult for instance the AKP or the Islam and this can have an influence on their tone and style of writing, but they do not censor themselves.101 According to Asli Tunc, many people know their limits, but it is not self-censorship.102 Esra Arsan agrees: of course I do not stop myself from writing the truth, I am not hiding facts, but I am trying to change

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92 93

See Appendix C5 See Appendix C7 94 See Appendix C4 95 See Appendix C2 96 Todays Zaman is the English online (small) version of daily newspaper Zaman 97 Erdogan sues Today's Zaman journalist over critical tweets (31 December 2013). Available at: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-335397-erdogan-sues-todays-zaman-journalist-over-criticaltweets.html 98 See Appendix C1, C2 99 See Appendix C1, C2, C5, C7, C9 100 See Appendix C6, C9 101 See Appendix C6, C7, C9 102 See Appendix C6

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my discourse and to be more academic for example. You want to say screw up, but you do not do that.103 According to the respondents of this thesis, there is not much or no selfcensorship among social media users.104 The arrests during the Gezi protests did make some impact, but mainly in the beginning: after the news reports, the tweets went down for a week or two, less people twittered.105 However, the arrested people were released in a short time, which decreased the impact of the arrests on social media users.106 So far, based on the interviews with the respondents, this section has shown that although social media users might not be hiding any facts, they do pay attention to their tone. Hence, it seems online there is no intimidating structure to control what is being told107, but the AKP still has an influence on how things are being told. However, there is more to the story. Besides the regular social media users, there are certain people who do censor themselves on Twitter: Erkan Saka mentioned that the more popular people with many followers (like actors) sometimes apply self-censorship 108 and Ceren Sozeri mentioned self-censorship among traditional journalists. Her research on traditional journalists Twitter behavior in 2011 demonstrated that many traditional journalists often refrain from expressing their real (critical) feelings about the government or their news organization on Twitter, because they fear losing their job when their boss finds out (Sozeri, 2011: 85). Some of the journalists who were interviewed by Sozeri (2011) said that they or their colleagues have been warned about their tweets by their editors-in-chief, resulting in self-censorship on the net. Here, using a nickname is seen as a solution (Sozeri, 2011: 86). Sozeri also saw this during the Gezi protests, where many of her friends who work at the traditional media created another profile to express themselves.109 For these people, the concentration of media ownership and employment pressure have not only caused self-censorship in the traditional media, but also on the Internet, which clearly shows the intimidating structure in which they operate. Next to social media, online media also concern the websites Bianet and T24. Is there self-censorship? The answer of Haluk Kalafat, editor-in-chief of Bianet, is very clear:
There is no self-censorship here, although we know that some issues will create strong reactions in any segment of the society. [...] We are not scared of the government, never. For example, during 2002, writing about the Kurdish issue was much more dangerous, even on that time, there was no self-censorship here.110

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103

See Appendix C9 See Appendix C1, C2, C4, C5, C6, C7, C9 105 See Appendix C1 106 See Appendix C2, C5, C7 107 See Appendix C1 108 See Appendix C2 109 See Appendix C5 110 See Appendix C7
104

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Dogan Akin, editor-in-chief of T24, is also straightforward: we are not hiding any facts. [...] We never abstain from publishing any news that would benefit the public, also not now during this corruption scandal. And also during the Gezi protests, we covered everything.111 However, some respondents mentioned that the websites do pay attention to their discourse112: Bianet and T24 are already very careful in their news language, what kind of words are used, they are careful in discourse anyway.113 Here, Haluk Kalafat and Dogan Akin both underline that they are trying to be objective and to not embed any personal comments in the news reports. However, they do publish a few opinion pieces per day in which a lot of criticism can be found114 and they do not do anything to silence them.115 Both editors-in-chief stress that they are not scared of the AKP. Most important here is that both websites are not financially dependent on the state.116 Dogan Akin explains: for the suppression and oppression to work on media, you need to have something to lose. We do not have anything to lose. T24 does not own a factory, there is nothing that they can actually do to us.117 T24 has a 20.000 dollar income through advertisements. Nowadays, Dogan Akin has noticed that many advertisers are not sure if they want to be seen in T24, because T24 criticizes the government. But are they not scared to lose their advertisers if they are critical about the government? We are not scared, because it is so little anyway. We have a strategy of not putting all the eggs in the same basket. [...] We [also] provide textual and visual content for various websites of companies outside the media sector.118 Further, they recently set up a crowdfunding project (100.000 Turkish Lira). Bianet has a different business model: they receive several funds from international organizations and at this moment they are also setting up a (small) crowdfunding campaign. We are still dependent, but not of the state and the market.119 However, both admit that they have problems with sustaining themselves, which will be discussed in further detail in the last paragraph of this chapter. Furthermore, both editors-in-chief seem not scared to be arrested. If you want to learn about how government suppresses journalists through direct police force, look for the Kurdish journalists, they are being arrested. But us, no. We are also not that big.120 Many respondents believe that the AKP does not pay much attention to Bianet and T24, because they are relatively small websites. 121 However, Esra Arsan thinks that the AKP is

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111

See Appendix C8 See Appendix C1, C6 113 See Appendix C6 114 See Appendix C7, C8 115 See Appendix C8 116 See Appendix C7, C8 117 See Appendix C8 118 See Appendix C8 119 See Appendix C7 120 See Appendix C8 121 See Appendix C1, C4, C6, C9
112

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underestimating the intellectual power of Bianet among academics, who are all working with Bianet from the beginning.122 Self-censorship is subjective and hard to measure with only expert interviews. Still, it is possible to uncover a general picture: there is not much self-censorship among online media users. Here, highly important seems the fact that most online media users do not have to fear losing their job or a business deal when criticizing the AKP. As already mentioned before: suing is not the biggest weapon of the government, but the economic sanctions are.123 Media Identification For social media users, analyzing their media identification with the public interest may seem odd, because social media users are the public. In Turkey, it is obvious that Twitter provides space for opinions that cannot be seen in traditional media: the spectrum of debate appears to be much broader and pluralistic in the world of tweets (Sahin, 2012: 10). In the restricted Turkish media environment, Twitter users are highly important to provide information that involves public interest, especially during a time of crisis. Social media might offer new hopes as an alternative platform (Tunc, 2013: 161-162). However, it is important to note that Twitter is also used for hate speech or to spread disinformation (Sahin, 2012: 10). Concerning the latter, some respondents mentioned the role of the AKP in this, which was for instance doing its utmost to portray the Gezi protesters as terrorists.124 On the other hand, Neslihan Cenk, chairwoman of AKP Youth Branches, mentioned disinformation about the AKP that is spread by the opposition.125 In Turkey, Twitter is especially popular among critical voices, because for them Twitter is the only means of communication they can turn to.126 During the Gezi protests, the government became more aware of this and soon created a 6000-volunteer member social media team to change social media trends and react with correct information against black propaganda of the opposition. With the team, the government has become very active on Twitter. We are setting up the team to create our own agenda and to inform people by sharing correct information quickly according to that agenda. This agenda can be party policies, government and ministry activities et cetera.127 Obviously, the volunteers are servants of political interests and openly identify themselves with the AKP. According to Neslihan Cenk, the team is highly effective and many people are joining their campaign on social media.128 When looking at Bianet and T24, they both identify themselves with the public

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122 123

See Appendix C9 See Appendix C1 124 See Appendix C2, C9 125 See Appendix C3 126 See Appendix C1, C6, C9 127 See Appendix C3 128 See Appendix C3

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interest. Bianet is especially concerned with rights journalism: we are fighting for the rights of the poor, children, women et cetera. Haluk Kalafat, editor-in-chief of Bianet, emphasized that he will never refrain from publishing issues that are important for the public to know.129 In their news coverage, the editors of Bianet are not embedding any personal or ideological comments, which distinguishes the website from traditional media. This also applies to T24:
The difference between us and traditional media is simply not putting anything more important than journalism itself. [...] We do not represent any particular political neighborhood, instead we try to publish everything and be the neighborhood paper for everyone. In our news coverage we try to cover what is happening truthfully, what we think the reader is supposed to read. [...] We never abstain from publishing any news that would benefit the public.130

This section can be concluded by stating that although servants of political interests can be found on Twitter, there are many online media users who identify themselves with the public sphere. Ideally, besides identification with the public interest, media should be a critical watchdog of the government, by keeping a close eye on its actions. The following characteristic will discuss the role of online media users. The role of online media users Within Turkish traditional media, investigative and critical journalism are rare: most media outlets are engaged with spreading propaganda or are fulfilling the role of an uncritical lapdog. This section will analyze whether online journalists and social media users are being an alternative watchdog of the AKP in Turkey. Twitter is highly important as a platform for critical voices and as a source for alternative information. Twitter users are critical of the government and are keeping a close eye on its actions and decisions (Tunc, 2013: 161).131 They call attention to signs that something fishy is going on behind closed doors (Sahin, 2012: 11). A growing number of people in Turkey are trying to cover ignored issues on Twitter. People tweeted inside courtrooms while controversial politically motivated trials were going on and while no journalist dared to write about them (Tunc, 2013: 160). However, Twitter certainly has its limitations: with its 140 character limit it is not suited for real investigative journalism. According to Sahin (2012: 11) investigative reporters are yet to discover the full capacity of the new media as tools for investigative news gathering. Esra Arsan and Asli Tunc both

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129

See Appendix C7 See Appendix C8 131 See Appendix C1


130

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believe that there are good (citizen) journalists active on social media and it is important to look for ways to make social media more professional and reliable.132 A step into the right direction is Twitter organization 140journos: before the employees tweet the information provided by one of the citizen journalists with whom they work, they first use three different (analogue or digital) sources to verify the information.133 However, besides the limited watchdogs that can be found on Twitter, there is also a group that is engaged with promoting the government. With the 6000-member social media team, the AKP aims to promote the party perspective with sharing news, videos and images.134 Although Neslihan Cenk believes the team has managed to change the trends and popular topics on Twitter135, many respondents disagree with her and asserted that the AKP volunteers are unsuccessful in changing the online discourse.136 Asli Tunc emphasized that social media cannot be used for propaganda.
Social media's nature is totally against propaganda, it does not work like this, I think they do not know how to use it. It is not top-down, you cannot make announcements like in bulletin on social media, it does not work. Social media need humor, originality, personal stuff, it is more dynamic. But if you are making propaganda, it is just ridiculous.137

Ceren Sozeri and Esra Arsan both underline that when Twitter is used for spreading propaganda or manipulating the discourse, people immediately recognize that.138 Next to social media, online media also concern independent news websites. Based on the interviews with the editors-in-chief of Bianet and T24, both websites are acting as true watchdogs. Bianet provides around 30 news stories daily, in which they are especially concerned with rights journalism. Although they are less focused on immediate reporting and are more well-known for their analyses139, they certainly keep an eye on the AKP. During the Gezi protests, they were investigating the human rights violations done by the state140 and also during the corruption scandal they have written many critical articles.141 Furthermore, the website publishes three or four articles per day in which opinions are allowed: in those articles you can find a lot of criticism, mainly against those who are in power.142 T24 is more

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132 133

See Appendix C6, C9 See Appendix C1 134 See Appendix C3 135 See Appendix C3 136 See Appendix C1, C2, C5, C6, C9 137 See Appendix C6 138 See Appendix C5, C9 139 See Appendix C1, C4 140 See Appendix C7 141 http://www.bianet.org/english 142 See Appendix C7

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news focused and has around 200 news pieces per day. What we try is to keep a track of the parliamentary politics and discussions about the speeches made by politicians, the kind of laws that are passed, we are closely tracking down the day-to-day things that are happening in politics. Furthermore, T24 publishes around two or three columns per day: in terms of our columnists, they are strongly and systematically criticizing the government and we do not do anything to silence them.143 Based on the research conducted for this thesis, most online media users are fulfilling the role of a (limited) watchdog of the government. The propaganda machine of the AKP is doing its utmost to change the online discourse, but so far, according to many respondents, it is unsuccessful. The government seems better in controlling traditional media than social media. However, although the AKP is being watched and criticized online, many Turkish citizens still only watch television and read newspapers. Here, an important question arises: are online media users able to influence the traditional media agenda in Turkey? The following section will elaborate on this. Agenda-setting Online media can have a significant effect on setting the media agenda. Citizens are no longer mere passive receivers of news: they spread issues across the Internet, which can become major agendas in the online world. For traditional media it may be hard to ignore these topics. This reversed agenda-setting theory particularly applies to social media users. How important and determinant are they in setting the traditional media agenda? Before analyzing social media, firstly, the influence of independent news websites will be discussed. When looking at the influence of Bianet and T24 on the traditional media agenda, both editors-in-chief stress that they do have some impact with their own agenda. Haluk Kalafat, editor-in-chief of Bianet, is here referring to their monitoring part about the monthly women killings that is done by men: where the traditional media first tilted these cases as killings on the basis of local traditions, they are now taking over the men kill women discourse promoted by Bianet. 144 Dogan Akin also believes T24 has influence: we have various news stories that were published at T24 first, which were taken over by Turkish newspapers and some television channels, for example our story about the wiretapping of the intelligence agency.145 However, more significant is their interaction with social media. For instance, T24 has set up a Facebook group that gathered all the news and photographs of the Gezi protests and they soon had 650.000 followers. The news on Bianet is also being

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143

See Appendix C8 See Appendix C7 145 See Appendix C8


144

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circulated and disseminated by social media. Both websites are especially popular among young people, the group that is most active on Twitter (Tunc, 2013: 160).146 When looking at the influence of social media (especially Twitter), many respondents, including Neslihan Cenk of the AKP, emphasized the growing importance of social media for the traditional media agenda.147 Firstly, there is an increasing interaction between the two148 : traditional media outlets use Twitter for their news and the Twitter users use the traditional media for their conversation.149 However, when discussing the characteristic agenda-setting, most important is the pressure coming from social media, especially during critical events. During the third day of the Gezi protests, they [the traditional media] could not not cover the protests. They see people on the street, they see people on Twitter spreading information and saying that the Turkish media should be ashamed of themselves, so they eventually published. Somewhat.150 Traditional media cannot ignore Twitter and totally go blind as if it does not exist.151 The significant influence of Twitter on the traditional media agenda became for the first time clearly visible in December 2012, when Turkish war planes bombed a Kurdish village and killed 35 citizens. The victims were apparently mistaken for militants of the PKK. For twelve hours, there was nothing on the mainstream media, while Twitter was the only news source about this event (Tunc, 2013: 160). That was also a big media blackout, it was unbelievable. They just ignored it. If there was no Twitter, maybe they did not have covered it at all.152 However, despite this, Asli Tunc emphasized that on small topics, we cannot catch the importance of social media on setting the traditional media agenda.153 The media blackout in summer 2013 had an even bigger impact on people: this time, it did not involve Kurdish issues, the protests happened in the center of Turkey and virtually spanned every province in the country. Besides pressuring the media to cover the protests, maybe even more important was that online media made people realize that the mainstream media are lying and hiding what is going on in Turkey.154 Many respondents emphasized that for a lot of people the protests were a turning point in creating an awareness of a media sector driven by business interests and clientelist relations (Tunc, 2013: 161).155 For them, traditional media have lost their credibility. Erkan Saka speaks of a generational shift.
If you do not broadcast about for example the Gezi park protests, you are a loser, the

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146 147

See Appendix C6 See Appendix C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C9 148 See Appendix C2, C5 149 See Appendix C5 150 See Appendix C7 151 See Appendix C6 152 See Appendix C5 153 See Appendix C6 154 See Appendix C9 155 See Appendix C2, C4, C5, C9

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new generation will not be watching you. NTV also lost many of its audiences since the protests. For me, that was the only news channel I was watching and I cannot have myself to watch it anymore.156

Online media are highly popular as a source for information among young people and Ogulcan Ekiz thinks that they will eventually be the biggest news source in Turkey. 157 However, too much optimism should be avoided. This chapter will end by discussing the challenges facing Turkish media.

4.3. Turkish media: obstacles and challenges


The first part of this chapter outlined the relationship between traditional media and politics and the general picture was that media freedom in Turkey is highly limited. Repressive laws, but mostly the media ownership structure, have created a climate of fear and self-censorship in Turkish media, which has brought about a dominance of government-driven reporting. However, traditional media are no longer the only players in Turkish media. Especially since the major media blackout during the Gezi protests, online media have become increasingly popular sources for information. Where the government, media owners and - to a lesser extent the Glen Movement dominate the traditional media, online media users operate in a much more free (although still limited) environment. However, here, it is important to note that on 18 January 2014, two weeks before the deadline of this thesis, the AKP announced a plan to amend Law No. 5651.158 Besides blocking sexual websites and websites that insult Ataturk, the new legislation will also allow blocking of websites deemed to infringe privacy. Furthermore, the law will mandate Internet service providers to restrict access to proxy sites, making circumventing censorship highly difficult. Finally, the amended law will also allow officials to keep a record of all activities of Internet users for two years. The announcement of the plan resulted in anti-government protests in Istanbul, where the police (again) used excessive force. The law will be discussed by the parliament in the coming weeks. Obviously, the AKP is doing its utmost to curb Internet freedom in Turkey. The future will tell whether the government will be able to control the online media in Turkey. For this reason, it is highly interesting and necessary to conduct future research on this topic. Online media might offer new hopes to improve the freedom of expression in Turkey, although there is definitively a long way to go. Firstly, social media have many reliability

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156 157

See Appendix C2 See Appendix C1 158 Turkish police fire water cannon at rally against Internet censorship law (18 January, 2014). Available at: http://rt.com/news/protest-turkey-internet-law-832/

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problems 159 : the users are not subject to oversight, which makes it easy to spread disinformation and manipulate the online discourse. A promising initiative is 140journos: their employees use three sources to verify the information before it gets online. Secondly, online media have not yet developed a sustainable business model.160 Advertisers still prefer traditional media, the high budgets are over there. Although Bianet and T24 have managed to do good journalism without a lot of money, both admit that they have problems with sustaining themselves.161 When looking at social media, they are not profitable at all. In order to challenge mainstream media, it is necessary to look for ways to make online media more sustainable and reliable.162 However, the importance of traditional media in Turkey cannot be underestimated. Traditional media are still the biggest information source and as long as they are owned by major conglomerates, it will be very hard to change their government-driven reporting.163 Finally, most important are the people who live in Turkey: they have to demand freedom of expression and real information. It is important to understand that although tens of thousands of people were fighting for their rights in summer 2013, the Gezi protests were still a rare pro-democracy social movement (Tunc, 2013: 161). At the end of her interview, Esra Arsan stressed the following:
There is no demand in Turkish public to get real information, this is our problem, a cultural problem. [...] People do not care in Turkey, there is a really small amount of people, like us, who are doing all the things to change the situation.164

The vision of Nicole Pope is not so much different: there are a lot of people who are quite satisfied that some things are secret and that you should not touch them.165 Ironically, the way of thinking in Turkey might be the biggest obstacle to improving the media situation. However, it remains a fact that the number of especially young people on Twitter is rapidly growing: the new generation may offer new hope.

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159

See Appendix C1, C4, C6, C9 See Appendix C2, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, C9 161 See Appendix C7, C8 162 See Appendix C6, C9 163 See Appendix C1, C2, C6 164 See Appendix C9 165 See Appendix C4
160

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CONCLUSION
The relationship between politics, traditional news media and online media in Turkey is the central focus of this thesis. In this conclusion, an answer will be given to the main research question: to what extent is the relationship between politics and traditional news media in Turkey characterized by state logic and what is the role of online media? Further, a reflection will be made on the research conducted for this thesis, including suggestions for further research. Because this thesis takes the political environment as a starting point of analysis, this conclusion will start by briefly summarizing the political system of Turkey, which is in this thesis assessed as a hybrid regime. In chapter one, several definitions of democracy were discussed, which can be broadly divided into the minimalist category, that emphasizes political competition and participation, and the extensive (liberal) category, that stresses the importance of civil liberties and political rights. Nowadays, most academics and organizations share the concept of liberal democracy. The growing emphasis on civil liberties (including free media) and political rights in a democracy has had serious consequences for listing countries as a democracy. Many countries that are qualified as a democracy by the minimalist conception, fall short by the definition of liberal democracy. This also applies to Turkey: while Polity IV, which is more in line with the minimalist definition of democracy, still considers Turkey as a democracy, the Economist Intelligence Unit and Freedom House, which both include political rights and civil rights to their checklist of criteria, respectively classify Turkey as a hybrid regime or partly free. Although Turkey has succeeded in establishing electoral democracy, it has failed in terms of generating a liberal democracy. Under the AKP, Turkey has certainly taken some steps forward in the direction of democracy, but these steps have been counterbalanced. Especially since 2006, the AKP has moved into a different direction. Many international organizations are concerned about the creeping authoritarianism of Erdogan, a trend that strongly affects the Turkish media. Political and economic pressure over the media have increased and the freedom of expression is restricted. Furthermore, there are significant concerns about the autonomy and fairness of the judiciary. Since December 2013, the corruption scandal and the power struggle between the AKP and the Glen Movement have seriously harmed Turkeys political and economic stability. The outcome of this struggle will be important for the future of Turkey. However, here, highly problematic is the fact that there is still no political opposition in Turkey that is capable of posing a real challenge to the AKP. This thesis has analyzed the political influence on the media and how the relationship between the two can be characterized. State logic implies outright state dominance over the media and is the only media system logic that is embedded in a non-democratic political

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system. Consequently, the presence of state logic in Turkey would underline its democratic deficit. In this thesis, the state-media relations are measured by using six media system characteristics: media regulation, media ownership, censorship, agenda-setting, media identification and the role of journalists. In order to give a balanced answer to the first part of the research question, it is worth recalling figure 3 of this thesis (page 23). This figure summarized the ideal-type scores the characteristics can take for each logic and will be helpful when making the assessment about which logic best describes the relationship between politics and traditional media in Turkey. The first characteristic is media regulation. In an ideal-type state logic, laws on the freedom of speech are ignored by the government as they are overshadowed by other laws and measures. The Constitution of the Republic of Turkey grants freedom of expression, but it is seriously limited by the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law. Due to these laws, since a few years, Turkey has been the worlds biggest prison for journalists. Especially Kurdish journalists are victims of the repressive laws in Turkey. By far, not every regular critical journalist is arrested in Turkey, but the fact that there are laws that enable the AKP to do so when it thinks it is necessary, is highly critical for the enjoyment of freedom of expression. Hence, it can be concluded that regarding media regulation Turkey can be placed closest to state logic when compared to the other logics displayed in figure 3. The second characteristic is media ownership. In an ideal-type state logic, all media are owned by the state. However, besides direct state ownership of the media, this thesis also included the possibility that under a state logic privately owned media are present in a country, but controlled by the state. Here, central is the theory of media-political clientelism, in which close alliances (clientelist relations) between media owners and the state play a key role. The analysis of this characteristic showed that the relationship between the AKP and the conglomerates is characterized by this theory, where the former is acting as the patron and the latter as clients. Pro-government reporting translates into business deals and contracts, but the clientelist relations have also enabled tools for political pressure. Conglomerates depend on government contracts and if they challenge the AKP, they are excluded from contracts. Hence, besides the public broadcaster TRT, the AKP also controls most privately owned media in Turkey. However, not all media in Turkey are owned by conglomerates. Some important mainstream media are affiliated with the Glen Movement. While these media until recently were seen as pro-government, since the power struggle between the AKP and the Cemaat they are strongly criticizing the government. Obviously, Erdogan does not control these media. He also does not control some small independent media outlets, but they are considered as less relevant because of their small impact. This also applies to HalkTV, which has close ties with opposition party CHP. By far, most media in Turkey are directly or indirectly controlled by the AKP. Therefore, it can be concluded that

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also regarding media ownership state logic elements are dominant. In an ideal-type state logic there is a high degree of (direct and indirect) censorship and self-censorship. In Turkey, the AKP has several means to exercise a certain degree of direct and indirect censorship, but most worrying is the high level of self-censorship that is particularly caused by the media ownership structure. However, it should be noted that with the creeping authoritarianism of Erdogan and especially since the Dogan Group was hit by the tax fine in 2009, the environment for media owners and journalists has become more hostile, resulting in even more self-censorship. Many journalists abstain from writing about sensitive issues, because they are scared to lose their job. In addition, if it is not the AKP that pressures media outlets and journalists to apply self-censorship, the Cemaat is quick to seize their media as well. Overall, regarding censorship Turkey can be placed closest to state logic. In an ideal-type state logic the state sets the media agenda. The media agenda of the TRT is obviously set by the government, but - due to the media ownership structure - the AKP also plays a central role in setting the media agenda of the news outlets owned by the conglomerates. However, not all news is driven by the AKP: some media agendas are set by either the Glen Movement, the CHP or the independent media outlets themselves. Because the media agendas of most media in Turkey are set by the AKP, the country can be placed closest to state logic. The next characteristic is media identification. In an ideal-type state logic all media (are forced to) identify themselves with the state. In Turkey, this is the case for most media outlets and journalists. There are only a few independent media outlets that identify themselves with the public interest and present diverse viewpoints. Furthermore, in an ideal-type state logic, journalists are either lapdogs of the state or spread propaganda. In Turkey, most media serve the government and only a few true watchdogs can be found. Also regarding these characteristics state logic elements are dominant. Figure 5 summarizes the scores of Turkey on the media system characteristics.
Media regulation Media ownership Freedom of speech limited by repressive laws State and private (media-political clientelism) Smaller group: independent / affiliated with Glen Movement or CHP Certain degree of state censorship High degree of self-censorship State Smaller group: media / Glen Movement / CHP State Smaller group: public interest / Glen Movement / CHP Lapdog and propaganda Only a few true watchdogs

Censorship Agenda-setting Media identification

The role of journalists

Figure 5 / Scores of Turkey on media system characteristics

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When all scores are taken together it can be concluded that Turkey can be placed closest to state logic. The fact that almost all mainstream media, through which most Turkish citizens receive their news, are either directly or indirectly controlled by the AKP is very upsetting. The clientelist economic relations (whether or not complemented with ideological relations) between the conglomerates and the AKP are the most powerful tool for the government to control media in Turkey. However, it would be incorrect to label the relationship between politics and media in Turkey as ideal-type state logic. In a media system that is dominated by full-fledged state logic, freedom of expression is ignored and overshadowed by other laws. In Turkey, free speech is limited; there is still some space for critical reporting. Furthermore, an ideal-type state logic requires political dominance over the media system as a whole. While the media affiliated with the Glen Movement were long seen as pro-government, in the last months it has become clear that the AKP does not control these media. The Cemaat is not financially dependent on the government. Hence, ideological relations can be broken, clientelist economic relations are much more difficult to end. However, it should be noted that the AKP is doing its best to weaken the pro-Glen media. So far, Turkish Airlines has stopped the distribution of the Zaman and Bugn on its planes and Erdogan has filed a complaint against a Todays Zaman journalist. Besides the media attached to the Cemaat, the AKP also does not control some independent media outlets and one small media outlet that is affiliated with the CHP. However, again, when Erdogan thinks it is necessary, the AKP uses several means (including bans and fines) to weaken these media. A few months ago, the media situation in Turkey was reminiscent of the political situation: in both fields there was no opposition that was capable of posing a real challenge to the AKP. But nowadays, since November 2013, some mainstream media have challenged and criticized the AKP. Here, it is important to not glorify the role of the Glen Movement, because it also contributes in creating a climate of fear and self-censorship in Turkish media. However, besides this, the media affiliated with the Glen Movement play an important role in counterbalancing the government-driven reporting and have brought about some pluralism in the Turkish traditional media system. Nevertheless, the relationship between politics and traditional news media in Turkey still shows more characteristics of state logic than the other logics. Firstly, the Glen Movement is not a political party. Under partisan logic, media outlets are closely tied to politics, which stands for multiple political parties. In Turkey, there is only one small media outlet that is affiliated with a political opposition party. Moreover, the other logics are embedded in a democratic environment. In a democracy, media are allowed to operate independently of the government. However, in Turkey, Erdogan exerts great pressure and frequently uses non-democratic means to keep media outlets under his control, as well as to undermine the outlets that are out of his control. For these reasons, the other logics do not apply to the relationship between politics and traditional

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media in Turkey. The first part of the research question can now be answered by stating that the relationship between the AKP government and the traditional media is to a great and disturbing extent characterized by state logic. Although no ideal-type state logic can be identified, the characterization of the relationship does underline the democratic deficit of Turkey and the creeping authoritarianism of Erdogan. However, the media story of Turkey does not end here. As the Gezi Park protests demonstrated, it does not suffice anymore to characterize media systems exclusively by looking at the traditional media. Where the traditional media fell short, online media (especially Twitter) have become increasingly popular as sources for alternative information. This thesis has also analyzed the role of online media (independent news websites and social media), in which attention is given to the relationship between politics and online media and to the connection between traditional media and online media. In this part of the research, five media system characteristics of Brants and Van Praag (2005) and Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) have played a leading role. The relationship between politics and online media was analyzed by using the characteristics media regulation, (self-) censorship, media identification and the role of online media users. In countries where traditional media are restricted, online media are by many people welcomed as an independent and alternative platform. However, some scholars have trimmed down these expectations by believing that states extend their traditional restrictions to the Internet. When looking at the characteristic media regulation, this unfortunately also applies to Turkey. Besides the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law, there is also a separate law that regulates the Internet in Turkey, Law No. 5651. This law has paved the way for severe Internet restrictions: almost 40.000 websites are blocked in Turkey. However, because the law mainly affects sexual websites, it does not have that much impact on online media users. Recently, the AKP announced a plan to amend the Internet law in order to expand its control over the public's use of the Internet. Obviously, the government is doing its utmost to curb Internet freedom in Turkey through legal means. However, it is also looking for other ways to control the online media (and especially Twitter), including symbolic arrests during the Gezi protests to create self-censorship among social media users and the creation of a 6000-member social media team to change social media trends and to promote the AKP online. Despite this, when looking at the second characteristic, there is not much selfcensorship among online media users. Here, highly important seems the fact that most online media users do not have to fear losing their job or a business deal when criticizing the AKP. However, it should be noted that many online media users do seem to pay attention to their tone, because there are several laws that ban for example denigration of the AK Party. The third characteristic is media identification. Although servants of political interests (the

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social media team of the AKP) can be found on Twitter, there are many online media users who identify themselves with the public sphere. Furthermore, this thesis has also analyzed the role of online media users and it has become clear that most of them are fulfilling the role of a (limited) watchdog of the government. The propaganda machine of the AKP is doing its best to change the online discourse, but so far, it seems unsuccessful. When looking at the relationship between politics and online media, it is obvious that the government is better in controlling traditional media than online media. Although Internet freedom is limited, online media are an alternative and independent platform for (critical) Turkish citizens. When looking at the high and rapidly growing number of young people on Twitter, it may be expected that in the future online media are becoming even more important as an alternative platform. However, in present-day Turkey, the majority of the Turkish population still only watches television and reads newspapers. Here, an important question arises: are online media users able to influence the traditional media agenda? The relationship between traditional media and online media was measured by using the characteristic agenda-setting. Firstly, there is a growing interaction between online media and traditional media, but more significant is the pressure coming from online media (especially Twitter). Especially during media blackouts, online media pressure traditional media to cover the events: mainstream media can no longer ignore Twitter and go blind as if it does not exist. Moreover, even more important, during the Gezi protests, online media have created an awareness of a media sector driven by business interests and clientelist relations. For many (young) people, traditional media have lost their credibility. However, it is important to not glorify the role of online media, which have their own challenges as well. Online media have not yet developed a sustainable business model and social media have many reliability problems. Furthermore, traditional media are still the biggest information source and as long as they are owned by major conglomerates, it will be hard to change their government-driven reporting. Finally, most important is the Turkish population: although there is certainly a growing group that is doing its utmost to change the media situation, most citizens still do not care and do not demand free media. The second part of the research question can now be answered by stating that online media are an alternative platform for (critical) Turkish citizens and are a powerful tool to distribute information, to pressure traditional media during critical events and to create an awareness of a traditional media sector driven by business interests, but they are not (yet?) able to seriously challenge and replace traditional media as the most important information source in Turkey. Hence, for now, to a certain degree, online media are able to circumvent (although not ideal-type) state logic, but they are not able to undermine it. Turkey stands at a critical juncture and so is the Turkish media environment. Several questions arise: what if the AKP will lose many of its voters, will it also lose its grip on the

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traditional media? However, as long as there is no political opposition that can challenge the AKP, it will be highly difficult to break up the clientelist relations between the conglomerates and the government. Furthermore, it remains to be seen whether the media ownership structure will change if a new government comes in place, although it will certainly not be as powerful as the AKP. However, at this moment, the AKP is still in power and, as the characterization of the traditional media-state relationship demonstrates, Turkey suffers from a democratic deficit. When looking at the recently announced plan of the AKP to further restrict the Internet freedom, it seems that Turkey is more and more turning away from its reformist, progressive agenda. The future will tell whether the government will succeed in controlling the online media. Certainly, the AKP is facing a growing group of young Turkish citizens that is demanding freedom of expression. For those people, the traditional media have lost their credibility. Despite this, most Turkish citizens still only watch television and read newspapers that are either directly or indirectly controlled by the AKP. Will there come a time when the vast majority of the Turkish population demands free media? In order to end this thesis on a positive note, the last section will briefly look forward to a hopeful (?) future of Turkish media. However, firstly, it will reflect on the research conducted for this thesis and will give some suggestions for further research. This thesis has tried to make a contribution to the subject of the relationship between traditional media and politics in Turkey and the yet understudied subject of online media. In this thesis, the political environment was taken as a starting point when analyzing the media system in Turkey. The state-media relationship was measured by using six media system characteristics, outlined by Brants and Van Praag (2005) and Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) and have proven to be useful. Here, it is necessary to take a closer look at the characteristic media ownership. Although Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) already introduced a new state logic, where media could both be state and privately owned, the typology of this thesis (figure 3) introduced the theory of media-political clientelism, in which close alliances (clientelist relations) between media owners and the state play a key role. With the worldwide trend of commercialization of the media, it would be outdated to only focus on state-owned media in state logic. With the theory of media-political clientelism, this thesis included the possibility that under state logic privately owned media are present in a country, but still controlled by the state. The inclusion of the theory has proven to be very useful in the analysis of the relationship between politics and traditional media in Turkey. The media system characteristics combine the research of objective elements, such as media regulation and media ownership, and elements that are subjective of nature, such as the role of journalists, media identification and self-censorship. Analyzing the more

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subjective characteristics requires thorough research. This thesis included a research conducted by Arsan (2013) among 67 Turkish journalists, which helped to gain a better understanding of these subjective characteristics. The literature research, supplemented by the in-depth interviews conducted by the author of this thesis, has provided detailed insights into the relationship between politics and traditional media in Turkey. However, due to a language barrier, this thesis did not include all media system characteristics: it left out the characteristics addressing of the audience and the nature of news. In order to gain complete understanding of the traditional media system in Turkey, it is necessary to include an analysis of the actual journalistic product. A content analysis of the news coverage in Turkey would also give more body to the study of the other characteristics. Researching the role of online media in Turkey was less straightforward, due to limited availability of literature and research conducted on this topic. In this part of the research, the author of this thesis was forced to mainly rely on expert interviews. In the analysis of the role of online media, the media system characteristics of Brants and Van Praag (2005) and Krasnoboka and Brants (2002) have played a leading role. Although the characteristics are actually meant to study the traditional media system, they have proven to be useful to study the role of online media as well. Four characteristics have been used to measure the relationship between politics and traditional media: media regulation, (self-) censorship, media identification and the role of online media users. Interestingly, the characteristic agenda-setting, initially meant to study the relationship between politics and media, has been used in this thesis to study the connection between traditional media and online media and has proven to be useful. However, in order to gain complete understanding of the role of online media, thorough research is necessary. Especially self-censorship among social media users is hard to measure with only expert interviews and requires research among a wide range of social media users. Furthermore, it is necessary to include the characteristic nature of news and hence an analysis of the actual product: tweets and online news reports. This would also give more body to the other characteristics, including agenda-setting. A thorough analysis of the relationship between traditional media and online media requires a comparison of the news coverage in the traditional media and the tweets and trending topics on Twitter and the online news reports. The media situation in Turkey is rapidly developing. In order to keep track of the media development in Turkey, it is highly necessary and interesting to conduct further research on the relationship between politics, traditional media and online media in Turkey. In this research, the media system characteristics can play a leading role, but in order to gain a complete understanding of the Turkish media, it is necessary to take into account the suggestions that were given above.

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It is crucial for the future of Turkish media whether the government will succeed in controlling the online media as well. Online media pressure traditional media and, most important, create an awareness of a traditional media sector that is controlled by the government and driven by business interests. More and more young people are losing their faith in the Turkish traditional media and are demanding free media. A substantial expansion of this group might challenge the AKP and eventually turn Turkey away from its creeping authoritarian agenda. Here, the new generation might offer hope. Although in present-day Turkey the vast majority of the Turkish population does not demand freedom of expression, given the rapidly growing number of young critical people on social media, there is reason to believe that this will change in the (near) future. In the end, online media might still offer hopes as a tool to undermine (although not ideal-type) state logic and improve media freedom in Turkey. However, there is certainly a long way to go.

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Websites (footnoted in text)


http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/turkey.htm http://en.rsf.org/spip.php?page=classement&id_rubrique=1054

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http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world-2012/methodology

http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics http://global.tbmm.gov.tr/index.php/EN/yd/siyasi_parti_gruplari http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131120/turkey-parliament-deadlockedover-new-constitution-0 http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/tur2.htm http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23302046 http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/fresh-violence-rattles/916984.html http://ejc.net/media_landscapes/turkey http://en.rsf.org/spip.php?page=classement&id_rubrique=1054 http://cpj.org/imprisoned/2013.php http://fpif.org/turkey-uprisings-currents-run-deep/ http://www.todayszaman.com/turkish-airlines-discriminates-against-critical-newspaperson-planes.html http://www.hollanddoc.nl/kijk-luister/documentaire/i/in-turkije-afl-5-van-soap-totcel.html http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/12/pro-erdogan-media-says-israelbehind-corruption-probe.html http://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/2668/Buitenland/article/detail/3452025/2013/06/03/Dui zenden-betogen-weer-op-Taksimplein.dhtml

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http://www.nytimes. com/ 2013/07/21/opinion/sunday/in-turkey-media-bosses-areundermining-democracy.html http://www.connectedvivaki.com/16-31-temmuz-2013-tv-verileri/

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2013/06/turkey-free-media-monitor.html http://www.digitalintheround.com/turkey-digital-market/ http://www.Engelliweb.com/ http://www.socialmediafrontiers.com/2013/10/turkish-government-recruitssocial.html#.Us1gUCgz3WE http://www.bianet.org/english http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/akp-gulen-conflict-guide.html http://nieuwsuur.nl/onderwerp/596912-turkije-in-ban-van-de-omkoopschandalen.html http://www.todayszaman.com/news-335397-erdogan-sues-todays-zaman-journalist-overcritical-tweets.html

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APPENDICES
Appendix A | Interview questions
1. In Turkey, media owners need the government for contracts and business deals, consequently traditional media are scared to openly criticize the government. However, some newspapers and television channels are still quite critical about Erdogan. On the other hand, Turkey is the biggest prison for journalists in the world. Where do traditional media and/or the government draw the line? When are journalists too critical? 2. Censorship and self-censorship are widespread in Turkey. Many traditional media did not cover the Gezi Park protests, in contradiction to social media users and journalists for independent news websites. However, the Internet in Turkey is also subject to official censorship and the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law. How can you explain the difference in the reporting of the traditional media and online media? Does the underlying structure of Internet play a role? Are online media users less afraid of the government? Is it because they do not have to take into account the media owners interests? 3. Reading about the role of social and online media in Turkey, it seems that they are especially used by critical voices. However, Prime Minister Erdogan himself also uses Twitter and has an impressive 3.6 million followers. In addition, last September the AK party also set up an army of volunteers of 6000 members to promote the AKP on social media. Do you think the government is able to influence the discourse and news coverage on social media? If yes, what will this mean for the future of social media? 4a. In their reporting about the demonstrations, to what extent were social media users and journalists for independent websites subject to self-censorship? 4b. After the protests, dozens of people were arrested for their social media posts. In what way will this influence the online news reporting of events? Do you think online media users will apply more self-censorship in the future? 5. Around 35.000 websites are blocked in Turkey, and also during the demonstrations the government blocked many websites, including a considerable number of group pages on Facebook. In what way will this affect the usage of online media as an alternative news source? 6. Online media can have a significant effect on setting the traditional media agenda. Citizens spread issues across the Internet, which can become major agendas in the online world. For traditional media it may be hard to ignore these topics. This was also noticeable during the demonstrations, when for example the television channel NTV apologized for failing to cover the initial protests. How important and determinant do you think independent news websites and social media are and will be in the future in setting the traditional media agenda? 7. Traditional media are highly important for democracy. Do you think online media can be an alternative for traditional media?

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Appendix B | Respondents
Engin Onder and Ogulcan Ekiz Engin Onder and Ogulcan Ekiz are the co-founders of 140journos, a counter media movement using social media tools to provide real-time and independent news reporting. It is established in 2010 and rose to international prominence during the Gezi park protests. Erkan Saka Erkan Saka is an Assistant Professor at the Media School of the Istanbul Bilgi University. His key areas of study are new media, digital culture and cyber anthropology. Neslihan Cenk Neslihan Cenk is the chairwoman of AK Party Youth Branches, responsible for publicity and media. Nicole Pope Nicole Pope is a journalist and writer based in Istanbul. She is the author of Honor killings in the Twenty-First Century and the co-author of Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey. She is a columnist for Todays Zaman. Ceren Sozeri Ceren Sozeri is researcher at the Istanbul Galatasaray University. She published many articles on the media ownership structure, media economics and the role of new and social media. Asli Tunc Asli Tunc is the head of the Media School of the Istanbul Bilgi University. As a columnist she writes media-analyses for independent news website T24. Her key areas of study are media and democracy, globalization of media, media effects, social media and freedom of expression debates. Haluk Kalafat and Evren Gonul Haluk Kalafat used to work as a print journalist for almost 20 years for several national newspapers. Haluk Kalafat is the editor-in-chief of Bianet and Evren Gonul is the coordinator of Bianet. Bianet is an independent news website in Turkey and is part of the Independent Communication Network, established in 1997. Dogan Akin and Deniz Serin Dogan Akin used to work as a print journalist for more than 20 years for several national newspapers. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of T24. Deniz Serin is an editor of T24. T24 is an independent news website in Turkey, launched on September 1, 2009. Dogan Akin also recently co-founded Punto24, a platform that aims to support and improve independent journalism. Esra Arsan Esra Arsan used to work as a print journalist for more than 10 years for several national newspapers in Istanbul. Now she teaches journalism at the Istanbul Bilgi University. She is a well-known media critic in Turkey. Her articles in which she analyses journalism practices in Turkey have been published in many newspapers, magazines, websites and books.

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Appendix C | Interviews
Please note that there is one interview (C3) conducted with different questions than mentioned in Appendix A.

C1. Interview 1 (face-to-face) // Engin Onder and Ogulcan Ekiz


What is 140journos? Engin: We see 140journos as a counter media movement, we wanted to be a movement rather than a project. Our tools are different, our background is different than the professional journalists. We dont have any editorial controlling system as we know in the mainstream media. We became content producers of citizens data, and the format of 140journos is that people should create content using their mobile devices and they have to be in the place where news is occurring. They have to make a live coverage using text, video, photograph and audio record. We created a kind of network for citizen journalists who create content regularly from the protests, from different places. We are keeping track of what the government does. There are people who are regularly going to the courtroom, because their friends are being judged. So we are getting in touch with them and we become friends, and we continue the content production this way. We have found a way to verify the information: we use at least three different sources to verify the information and this fact-checking can be digital or real life, by for instance calling to a shop owner in some city in Anatolia. We are attending many conferences telling about the new media journalism, press freedom, the role of social media and democratic processes. And ironically, even though we have a strong criticism to the politics and traditional media, traditional media show attention to us. In Turkey, media owners need the government for contracts and business deals, consequently traditional media are scared to openly criticize the government. However, some newspapers and television channels are still quite critical about Erdogan. On the other hand, Turkey is the biggest prison for journalists in the world. Where do traditional media and/or the government draw the line? When are journalists too critical? Engin: The prime minister says the media are free, but there is the intimidation created by the government. Since they created a kind of community in the economic and political environments their intimidation works so well. It is a threat. On the other side, there is free media. This intimidation causes traditional media to self-censor. Thats what happening. You have this particular structure of traditional media and a government that is constantly suppressing the media. These two factors cause media to fail. I cant really choose which one affects more. The intimidation of the government or the convergence of the existing media. However, there are some critical media, a couple of newspapers, generally leftist papers, for example Birgun. Birgun is always critical, but they have a small readership, so the government doesnt care. That is also the case for news website Bianet for example. They do not disturb anybody, they are also being very careful, and only a limited number of people read it. But it is a great website, great analyses, I read it so pleasantly. Ogulcan: Suing is not the biggest weapon of the government, but the economic sanctions are. The fact that the media in Turkey are owned by a few conglomerates is the biggest secret weapon of the government. Engin: They can be critical about the government, but they often have to pay economic sanctions. During the last months, the Glen Movement, which owns Zaman, the biggest newspaper in Turkey, is in conflict with the government. They are being critical about Erdogan, but they are not economically dependent of the government. The AKP is planning to close down the schools of the Glen Movement, which are very important.

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Many traditional media did not cover the Gezi Park protests, in contradiction to social media users, bloggers and journalists for independent websites. However, the Internet in Turkey is also subject to official censorship and the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law. How can you explain the difference in the reporting of the traditional media and online media? Does the underlying structure of Internet play a role? Are online media users less afraid of the government? Is it because they do not have to take into account the media owners interests? Engin: Online gives more freedom, because there is no intimidating structure to control what is being told and what is being covered over there. A concerned part of the society uses social media a lot because of this advantage. The state couldnt develop a sustainable model to control online media, not yet. But they are trying very primitive. However, this is going to backfire, Im pretty sure. People in the government are old, they know how to prevent a group from gathering, but they dont know when a community is created online. But dont you think it is a matter of time before the government knows how to deal with communities online? Engin: Yes, definitely. They saw already one consequence of the social media during the Gezi Park Protests, so they are now putting together a team to make propaganda and to promote pro-government arguments on social media. In addition, new sanctions will probably be developed. It is not normal that Twitter is still open for free speech. The government does not like this, the prime minister calls it a menace. Erdogan himself also uses Twitter and has an impressive 3.6 million followers. In addition, last September the AK party also set up an army of volunteers of 6000 members to promote the AKP on social media. Do you think the government is able to influence the discourse and news coverage on social media? What will this mean for the future of social media? Engin: It is a moral online war. Nobody gets physically hurt and I see our chance higher in this war. The creativity and the originality are on the side of the people who defend free speech, not on the side of the people who learn social media to suppress free speech. Citizen journalism is a big weapon and 140journos is the leading citizen journalism outlet. It is still small, but it is growing. However, Twitter is huge in Turkey. Twitter is the biggest public space and is mainly used by critical voices. In their reporting about the demonstrations, to what extent were social media users and journalists for independent websites subject to self-censorship? Ogulcan: I think yes for a limited amount. Especially since the news about Twitter users being detained for their tweets. I think this was a response of the government because they wanted Twitter users to apply self-censorship. People got detained because they confessed on Twitter that they have vandalized a building, but the newspapers made it look like they were arrested for spreading false information about the government. Engin: Twitter is very frustrating for the government, they cannot block it because of their international reputation. And in addition, it is very hard to block because of its structure, you have to block every single user. Ogulcan: After the news reports, the tweets went down for a week or two, less people twittered. A lot of my friends were scared, I tried to explain the situation, some believed me, others not. Do you think online media users will apply more self-censorship in the future? Engin: Depending on the course of the legal steps, but they will probably enrich the Turkish Penal Code.

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Around 35.000 websites are blocked in Turkey, and also during the demonstrations the government blocked many websites, including a considerable number of group pages on Facebook. In what way will this affect the usage of online media as an alternative (objective critical) news source? Engin: In my eyes, Facebook is not a freedom of speech defender, they take care of their money. Turkey is really important for Facebook, because there are so many Facebook users in Turkey. The government has blocked many websites, in 2008 YouTube remained blocked for two years because of a video about Ataturk. But many people in Turkey learned to use DNS and every way to bypass the blockages. Even my mother knows how to use proxies. Online media can have a significant effect on setting the traditional media agenda. Citizens spread issues across the Internet, which can become major agendas in the online world. For traditional media it may be hard to ignore these topics. This was also noticeable during the demonstrations, when for example the television channel NTV apologized for failing to cover the initial protests. How important and determinant do you think online journalists, bloggers and social media are and will be in the future on setting the traditional media agenda? Engin: There is a long way to this. There is an online agenda and a traditional media agenda. Every Friday we broadcast a program on the radio about the difference between the online agenda and the mainstream agenda. Mainstream media do other journalism: prime minister does this, president says that, sports, weather and over. Online media agenda is the opposite. I really hope that the online media agenda will once set the traditional media agenda, but it will be very difficult, especially when the traditional media are still owned by major conglomerates. Ogulcan: The new generation is getting used to get news from online media. It will eventually be the biggest news source. But maybe not in the near feature. If citizen journalism gains more credibility, it can set the agenda. Traditional media can refuse some online topics some time, but they cannot refuse it forever. Traditional media are highly important for democracy. Do you think online media can be an alternative for traditional media? Engin: Sure. For me online media are sufficient, I read Bianet, I follow our account and some accounts on Twitter. But at this moment still many people are dependent on traditional media, unfortunately. It will take time, but I believe that after around twenty years most people will see online media as their biggest news source.

C2. Interview 2 (Skype) // Erkan Saka


In Turkey, media owners need the government for contracts and business deals, consequently traditional media are scared to openly criticize the government. However, some newspapers and television channels are still quite critical about Erdogan. Where do traditional media and/or the government draw the line? When are journalists too critical? Since the commercialization of the media there are more economic relations between the government and the media conglomerates. The media owners are in many businesses and they profit from other industries, like energy. It is important that they should not be against the government, if they are also investing in other industries. Especially this government, that is in power for eleven years now, are very powerful. If any media group challenges this government, they are excluded from contracts. I have never experienced such a media blackout that happened during the Gezi Park protests, only a few small media outlets, which do not have any other investments, were sort of critical. So how critical they are depends on their other industry investments. Interesting nowadays is the conflict between the Glen Movement and the government. The Glen Movement was part of the government until very recently. They come from different Islamic traditions, but they cooperated against the army.

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Now that the army is gone and the power of the army, they are competing for state resources. Increasingly, and thats why the Glen movement became critical of the government. Currently, the government has moved against them, so now they are critical. The Glen Movement is quite powerful. So it will be harder for Erdogan to control them. The Glen Movement has a global network and most of their businesses are all around the world, so they are not only depending on Turkey anymore. Turkey is the biggest prison for journalists, when do journalists get arrested and when not? Most of the journalists get arrested because they are members of organizations, especially Kurdish organizations like PKK. Some people get arrested because of their critical reports, but the government always has an excuse. In arresting journalists who are critical, there is some arbitrariness. In fact, I might be arrested anytime for what Im writing on my blog for example, but the government prefers popular figures or people with some kind of membership to an organization. The Turkish Penal Code is really important in Turkey, they often use it against Kurdish journalists and activists, but currently there is this peace process with the Kurds. The Penal Code is also being used against Turkish activists and journalists who are being critical in a consistent way against the government, but again, its very arbitrary. Journalists are very scared being sued and arrested, and the trials last forever. In addition, if you are criticizing the government in a substantive way, you might lose your job. Censorship and self-censorship are widespread in Turkey. Many traditional media did not cover the Gezi Park protests, in contradiction to social media users, bloggers and journalists for independent websites. However, the Internet in Turkey is also subject to official censorship and the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law. How can you explain the difference in the reporting of the traditional media and online media? Does the underlying structure of Internet play a role? Are online media users less afraid of the government? Is it because they do not have to take into account the media owners interests? First of all, there is not a real blogger culture in Turkey, may be you already noticed. I have been thinking a lot about the reason, but I think it is because there are so many columnists in Turkey, I think people prefer writing a column for a newspaper than updating their own blog, although the latter is way more independent of course. But, instead, there is a huge culture of microblogging on Twitter. But back to the reasons you have listed, I think all reasons are important, but for example the independent websites Bianet and T24, they are quite small companies and they only invest in media, so they have less to lose. Apart from that, since the media blackouts, the new media outlets are the only sources for information, so maybe in terms of businesses like advertising still traditional media are really important, high budgets are there. But since the past six months, the main source of information became new media, thats for sure. I believe as people develop new business models to survive in new media, these new media outlets will become even more important, more self sustainable. And Twitter is also becoming more and more important of course. Reading about the role of social and online media in Turkey, it seems that they are especially used by critical voices. However, Prime Minister Erdogan himself also uses Twitter and has an impressive 3.6 million followers. In addition, last September the AK party also set up an army of volunteers of 6000 members to promote the AKP on social media. Do you think the government is able to influence the discourse and news coverage on social media? If yes, what will this mean for the future of social media? The government cares a lot about Twitter, they just couldnt figure out how to control it yet. They are already regulating the Internet, more than 35.000 websites cannot be accessed directly, so you should do DNS changing and stuff like that. It is not very intense censorship at the moment, but still they are banned. There is also a censored filtering system ongoing, so Internet is already not that free anymore, and they are trying to figure out how to control the Internet more. In Twitter usage, since they could not control Twitter or social media yet, what they did was that the government is now cooperating with some agencies, like PR agencies

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and social media agencies, to collect volunteers, they call it an army of volunteers, to counter the Twitter opposition and to spread propaganda for the AKP. As far as I could observe, they are not that quite successful. At this moment most social media users are against the government, so it wont be easy for them to influence them. In terms of quality of production, AKP loses the game. So I dont think the government cant easily influence the discourse on social media, off course they will be better and they are learning, but as far as I can see, the government is better in controlling traditional media than social media. What the government tries to do, is intimidating social media users by spreading news that Twitter users and hackers are being arrested. The government does that all the time, not technically controlling, but intimidating people and making them self-censor. In their reporting about the demonstrations, to what extent were social media users and journalists for independent websites subject to self-censorship? For the moment, there is not much self-censorship. Of course, the more popular people, like actors, are sometimes self-censoring themselves. Most people dont have anything to lose, but to be sure you can always use nicknames or create profiles that are not easy to detect. So there is some self-censorship, but not much. During the protests, dozens of people were arrested for their social media posts. In what way will this influence the online news reporting of events? Do you think online media users will apply more self-censorship in the future? At this moment no one is arrested because of tweeting about Gezi. The detained social media users were arrested because they burned down an AKP building and they tweeted about their burning activities. They were not arrested because of tweeting, the AKP wants to make people think that they got arrested because of tweeting, but that is not the issue, at the moment. Around 35.000 websites are blocked in Turkey, and also during the demonstrations the government blocked many websites, including a considerable number of group pages on Facebook. In what way will this affect the usage of online media as an alternative news source? The government bans especially smaller sites at the moment and you can easily circumvent these bans. I dont think the government will ban Twitter, because it is thinking about its international reputation. At the moment, they wont do that. But in addition, they can slow down connections, but we havent witnessed that yet. At least in the short run, the government will not rely on this explicit banning of very famous sites. Online media can have a significant effect on setting the traditional media agenda. Citizens spread issues across the Internet, which can become major agendas in the online world. For traditional media it may be hard to ignore these topics. This was also noticeable during the demonstrations, when for example the television channel NTV apologized for failing to cover the initial protests. How important and determinant do you think online journalists and social media are and will be in the future on setting the traditional media agenda? I definitely believe online media are the main agenda setter at the moment, especially during critical events. You see, even Erdogan is critical about this media, he keeps an eye on these trending topics on Twitter. If any organized group wants to try to do some kind of agenda setting, they will work on Twitter. Also, sometimes Erdogan is capable of creating new agendas to distract people, but the way he sets an agenda is now manipulated or exploited by the online activists. The way he wants to create an agenda is now disrupted by the online activists. Sometimes a new agenda emerges in Twitter, and then that affects offline settings. Everybody, including traditional media, has a look at the trending Twitter topics at the moment. There is this generational shift, if you do not broadcast about for example the Gezi Park protests, you are a loser, the new generation wont be watching you. NTV also lost many of his audiences since Gezi Park Protests. For me, that was the only news channel I was watching and I cannot have myself to watch it anymore.

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Traditional media are highly important for democracy. Do you think online media can be an alternative for traditional media? Traditional media in Turkey have never been part of the democratic public sphere. It was always politically attached, so maybe we now have the only chance there might be a more democratic public sphere through online media. In that sense we are very lucky with online media, this is the beginning for us. For the moment it will be very hard to change the media ownership structure in Turkey, but if online media will find new business models and become more sustainable, then I think it will be possible. We cannot predict the future, we need some more time.

C3. Interview 3 (email) // Neslihan Cenk


What do you think of (the current discourse on) social media? Social media allows everyone to express and share an opinion about any topic instantly and freely. In Turkey the most popular social media platforms are Facebook, than Twitter, YouTube, instagram, google+, pinterest, vimeo etc. comes. In general, people interact with each other for fun. But politicians use social media for propaganda with a formal language and this makes the topic not interesting. Some politicians are very popular who share their ideas humorously. People share a positive content that they like just once but if they do not like a subject they share negative content all the time. This means that negative reactions spread over the social media much quicker than positive ones. Why are you setting up a social media volunteers team? What do you hope to achieve? We are setting up a social media volunteers team to create our own agenda and to inform people by sharing correct information quickly according to that agenda. This agenda can be party policies, government and ministry activities, youth actions etc. We aim to promote the party perspective with sharing news, videos and images. Therefore we educate the volunteers to develop a positive political language. Before that, AK Party volunteers share ideas individually and desultory. After this team was formed and educated, we changed the trends and popular topics as we planned, because together we are more stronger. Also ,when the opposing camp spreads disinformation about the party, we correct them with valid information with positive language. Do you think the volunteers teams will influence the discourse on social media? If yes, in what way? This team continues to change social media trends and reacts with correct information against black propaganda of the opposition. In general, we use a positive language while sharing content about agenda. But these positive contents dont attract sufficient attention. However, when we defend our party and politics against the opposition, so many people join the campaign on social media. AK Party use social media more effectively after this volunteer team was formed. How important are social media for the traditional media agenda? Recently, traditional media also give the news from the social media as a reference. So the importance of social media is increasing and AK Party is aware of this fact. Currently we are preparing to campaign for the local elections and the following general elections with our 1.7 million young party members (aged 18-30) from a total of 8 million party members. Each party member is responsible to explain our policies to other voters face to face. We aim to reach every voter via traditional media such as TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and also with rally demonstrations. Now, especially young people are spending time on the Internet and we can reach them through social media. Therefore we teach the social media volunteers team of 6000 members from 81 cities with age between 18-30 how to convince people to join

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AK party. They are directed from the center of the party since AK Party gives great importance to social media.

C4. Interview 4 (Skype) // Nicole Pope


Media owners need the government for contracts and business deals, consequently traditional media are scared to openly criticize the government. However, some newspapers are still quite critical about Erdogan and the AKP. On the other hand, Turkey is the biggest prison for journalists in the world. Where do traditional media and/or the government draw the line? When are journalists too critical? Well, that is a very difficult question to answer. When we talk about Turkey being the biggest prison for journalists, I think it is important to see that in reality most of the people who are in prison are Kurdish journalists. It does not have as much impact as it should in Turkey, precisely because it mainly affects Kurdish journalists. It's only when other journalists get arrested, you see a lot more outrage. There are so many different issues in Turkish media, it is not just about the government versus the media. There are so many dividing lines in Turkish society that you also find in Turkish media. You can't say that there is one straight dividing line between the two. On the one hand you have the media owners who have their own interests, but on the other hand there is also a lot of self-censorship on the part of the media owners for this reason, but also from the journalists themselves who also have, some of them, a sense of serving the nation. They have their own red lines as well, because they also offer their perceptions of what is going on can be in line with the government or the state in general. It is very difficult to explain Turkey, Turkey is not a totalitarian country, there is still quite a bit of space for criticism. It is a fact that the prime minister is supersensitive to criticism, that he has become increasingly intolerant. Censorship and self-censorship are widespread in Turkey. Many traditional media did not cover the Gezi Park protests, in contradiction to social media users and journalists for independent websites. However, the Internet in Turkey is also subject to official censorship and the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law. How can you explain the difference in the reporting of the traditional media and online media? Does the underlying structure of Internet play a role? Are online media users less afraid of the government? Is it because they do not have to take into account the media owners interests? Social media users they feel freer, they are individuals. Even though the government does have campaigns against some social media users, still there is a greater degree of freedom. Social media are very useful in covering things as the Gezi protests, but there is also an issue of reliability. There were quite a number of false rumors that were circulating during the protests, and also you don't get any kind of analysis. While it is very useful, it does not replace the role of proper journalism. For the media the Gezi protests was a bit of a revealing moment because it was really seen very clearly that traditional media, especially television stations, were not doing their job as they should have done. I think that it does boil down to financial independence. But of course that also calls for raising the issue how you finance proper journalism. T24 are doing a very good job, all their reporting is done by very young people, who T24 are training as they go along, which is of course very good, because it means that you have a new generation of journalists that are being trained. But the people are paid a very minimum salary and most of the commentators are not even paid at all. It is a very interesting website and it certainly covers a lot of things that are not covered independently elsewhere, but it is not really a business model. And ultimately I would hope to see some kind of business model where journalists are not expected to be underpaid. That is the problem. Bianet has a slightly different business model, they get financial help from some foundations. Bianet concerns less immediate reporting, but I think they are doing a very good job. But when it comes to producing journalism that is self-sustaining, that is the difficulty.

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What does the government think of T24 and Bianet? Well, Bianet is very critical and they have some very good things, but it is really red by a relatively narrow group of liberal people, and I think it has not the kind of reach that is felt as threatening. I think that the government takes T24 a little bit more seriously, because it has some big name columnists. And also, Bianet is not so news focused, it is something that you don't have to read necessarily every day, but you can visit it if you are interested in a particular issue, where T24 is more like a daily paper. Reading about the role of social and online media in Turkey, it seems that they are especially used by critical voices. However, Prime Minister Erdogan himself also uses Twitter and has an impressive 3.6 million followers. In addition, he also set up an 'army of volunteers' to promote the AKP on social media. Do you think the government is able to influence the discourse and news coverage on social media? If yes, what will this mean for the future of social media? The fact is that after the Gezi protests, the AKP has not lost much of its support, it probably lost a view points, there are still no alternatives to this government on the political scene. And it continues to have many supporters, even in my neighborhood, during the protests the people who were banging their pots and pans on their balcony in support of the protesters, were a handful. So the government still has a lot of impact. Turkey as a country is not a very liberal country, if you look at the number of readers of liberal newspapers or independent websites, we are talking about are very small group of people. The more educated liberal people are in greater numbers on Twitter, and the government has clearly seen that is needs to be there as well. But I dont know if they a big impact on the online discourse. In their reporting about the demonstrations, to what extent were social media users and journalists for independent websites subject to self-censorship? After the protests, dozens of people were arrested for their social media posts. In what way will this influence the online news reporting of events? Do you think online media users will apply more self-censorship in the future? From the people I talked to around me who get on Twitter a lot and are very active, I don't get the impression that the arrests has had a huge impact on them. If anything, they are fighting back. I don't get the sense that there has been much self-censorship. Social media are ground that is seen as freer, and they are very keen to maintain that. It was really used as a way of passing on information very quickly, since the live coverage was very limited. Around 35.000 websites are blocked in Turkey, and also during the demonstrations the government blocked many websites, including a considerable number of group pages on Facebook. In what way will this affect the usage of online media as an alternative news source? Banning websites is not something new in Turkey. This was already a controversial area for a number of years, for a while YouTube was not available. It is going to be an ongoing battle with the government doing its best to curb the dissident voices, and the dissident voices trying to keep going. It is important to see also this is not a new problem in Turkey and it is not a problem that is limited to this government. The media have never been free, it is not a new situation. There is a long tradition in Turkey of blocking dissident voices. Under Erdogan it has involved in a different way, because some things have changed in Turkey, the fact that Erdogan has far more control over the government and the state than any of his predecessors of course makes the situation different. He has much more means of control and he gradually becomes more authoritarian. But on the other hand, in the 1990s, at the height of the Kurdish conflict, Kurdish journalists were being killed. Now, the government is talking to Abdullah Ocalan [leader of Kurdish PKK] who was described as enemy number one for years and years, also on the Armenian issue there are now conferences talking about genocide, a word that you couldn't use ever. Some things have opened up, and others where the scope for discussion has narrowed. What makes it particularly bad now is that in the early years of the AK party for a brief period there was a time when a lot of topics that could not be discussed,

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suddenly became far more open. So there was this expectation that we were going in the right direction, but unfortunately this window has now closed and we are going backwards. But the problem is not limited to politicians, within the society the liberal people who want everything to be able to be discussed are not a huge number. There are a lot of people who are quite satisfied that some things are secret and that you shouldn't touch them. Turkey has a long history of very autocratic leaders, and in many ways this is what the population likes. Partly, because it is a patriarchal culture. Ever since Ataturk, people have always been looking for that strong leader and it is something that many people want. Online media can have a significant effect on setting the traditional media agenda. Citizens spread issues across the Internet, which can become major agendas in the online world. For traditional media it may be hard to ignore these topics. This was also noticeable during the demonstrations, when for example the television channel NTV apologized for failing to cover the initial protests. How important and determinant do you think online journalists and social media are and will be in the future in setting the traditional media agenda? I think that it will probably have quite a bit of an impact. We saw it not only with online media, but also with more independent media that is not mainstream. Sometimes they did have stories that were too strong to ignore. I think that alternative media, whether it is online or offline, and increasingly online, will have a growing power. Traditional media are highly important for democracy. Do you think online media can be an alternative for traditional media? Well, not really, not until it have found a way of financing itself, that is the problem. For example, T24 recently launched a crowdfunding project under its readers to raise a 100.000 Lira, they want to have more video content. The thing is in Turkey, I don't know how many people are willing to support serious media. But T24 managed to raise the 100.000 Lira, but it is still a very small amount. Now they are working with very young journalists and are relying on commentators that mostly write for free, but how do you sustain that in the long term, how long can you ask people to write for free. And of course you raise a 100.000 Lira this time, but how many times can you go back to the people to ask for money, especially since you have a relatively limited readership. In Turkey, the traditional media are so divided, and T24 are really trying to have more diverse content with different voices and opinions on the same page. Hopefully, the idea that this can be done and should be done is going to spread. But it is still very difficult to produce good journalism without much money.

C5. Interview 5 (Skype) // Ceren Sozeri


Media owners need the government for contracts and business deals, consequently traditional media are scared to openly criticize the government. However, some newspapers are still quite critical about Erdogan and the AKP. Where do traditional media and/or the government draw the line? When are journalists too critical? When we are talking about the traditional media in Turkey, mostly we are talking about the big media groups. The media market is very high concentrated, dominated by four big media groups. They own newspapers, television channels and magazines. But there are also some small newspapers that can maintain the criticism against Erdogan and the government. I should add that nowadays there is a new confrontation between the traditional media and the government. Nowadays the Glen Movement is very critical about the government, because the government wants to close their schools. The most critical media nowadays are affiliated with the Glen Movement, for example the big newspaper Zaman. There are also opponent media in Turkey against the government, which fight each other on the ground of political reasons. For example, during the Gezi protests HalkTV showed all the protests in Turkey, all the police attacks, but HalkTV is owned by CHP, the biggest opposition party in Turkey. So it is not owned by of the four media groups. You see that some opposition media are mostly

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against the government only, they establish their position to be against the government, not to fight for freedom of expression. Political polarization in Turkey is very powerful nowadays, if you are against the government you are part of this side, if you support the government you are on the other side. All the media groups are on the side of the government, because they are big organizations and they have a lot of investments in other industries, like energy, that is a big investment. The big conglomerates use their media organizations to please the government. Turkey is the biggest prison for journalists in the world. When are journalists get arrested? Most of the imprisoned journalists are Kurdish journalists. The other ones, some of them are arrested on the ground of the Ergenekon case and some of them are in prison for their relationship with terrorist organizations, according to the government's definition. There is a really bad Anti-Terror Law in Turkey, everybody can be judged by this regulation. They made some amendments in the last years, but it is still a very problematic issue, and to my opinion it should be cancelled as soon as possible. Censorship and self-censorship are widespread in Turkey. Many traditional media did not cover the Gezi Park protests, in contradiction to social media users and journalists for independent websites. However, the Internet in Turkey is also subject to official censorship and the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law. How can you explain the difference in the reporting of the traditional media and online media? Does the underlying structure of Internet play a role? Are online media users less afraid of the government? Is it because they do not have to take into account the media owners interests? In the past, traditional media did not show anything about the political issues in Turkey, for example on the Armenian Genocide or on Kurdish issues, on other sensitive issues. During the Gezi protests, the people, especially who live in the big cities, recognized that the traditional media don't show anything. If they did not show our protests, they also did not cover about the Kurdish issue in the 1990s. They recognized everything about the media in Turkey. The traditional media in Turkey don't care too much how the people think about them. The preference of the owners is to be on the side of the government. Most of the traditional journalists were working until 6 or 7 o'clock, then came to Gezi park to protest against the government. The journalists are very weak and very fragile against their owners and the government. In that time, the social media and online media, as an alternative media, became very popular for the people. If the traditional media don't cover the protests, you can find another solution. For example, T24 became very popular since the Gezi park protests. Even my mother, who lives far from Istanbul, and does not use Internet very much, recently said to me that she had discovered a good online news source, T24, and that she now only follows the news from there. She doesn't watch television anymore, because they are awful. Then, T24, launched a crowdfunding campaign and some people gave 100.000 Turkish Lira. T24 is not scared of the government, because there are no other investments, there are no any other interests. They only focus on making good news, to cover the events in Turkey. And not only T24, Bianet also, they really care about making good journalism. But the problem is, how do they get money? They are so weak for now, the advertisers still prefer the traditional media, not the online media. Everybody watches television. Is there a chance that people from T24 or Bianet get arrested? Everybody can go to jail in Turkey, for example, for participating in the Gezi protests. Everybody is at risk, because of the Anti-Terror Law and the Turkish Penal Code. But it is not true if people say that the journalists in Turkey are always at risk and are scared to get arrested, they can cover the news against the government. If people say that everybody in Turkey fears the government and that they cannot cover anything, it is a little bit exaggerated.

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Reading about the role of social and online media in Turkey, it seems that they are especially used by critical voices. However, Prime Minister Erdogan himself also uses Twitter and has an impressive 3.6 million followers. In addition, last September, the AK party also set up an 'army of volunteers' of 6000 members to promote the AKP on social media. Do you think the government is able to influence the discourse and news coverage on social media? If yes, what will this mean for the future of social media? I don't think so. The critics in Twitter are very individual, people go to Twitter and post their own ideas. If you use Twitter for propaganda or for political interests, everybody recognizes that. I think it is not working to change the agenda or change something. An important thing, we know that the most powerful speech of the prime minister against the Gezi protesters, is that he said that the protesters drank beer in a mosque. But that was not true, because some people who escaped from the police attacks were going to the mosque because they were really sick of the teargas. These mosques became little hospitals, but the prime minister always said that they were going into the mosque with shoes and drank beer in the mosque. But yesterday night, a proponent reporter, not now, but at that time he was supportive of the government, said that he knew that these bottles of beer were put there after the Gezi Protests. These reporters had to spread the lie of the government. You cannot use social media to use propaganda, because it is uncontrollable area. In their reporting about the demonstrations, to what extent were social media users and journalists for independent websites subject to self-censorship? Some of the most popular traditional journalists use their Twitter page for good journalism, but there are also some journalists that create another profile to cover the Gezi protests or to spread information about the traditional media or the government. I have some friends who work at traditional media, they cannot write posts against the government or their news organizations, so they use another profile to express themselves, because they don't want to get fired. They need their job to survive. After the protests, dozens of people were arrested for their social media posts. In what way will this influence the online news reporting of events? Do you think online media users will apply more self-censorship in the future? I don't think so, the AKP uses this method to create self-censorship, to scare people of. But I don't think so, because most of them were released in a short time. Further, the people do not fear too much of the government or anything. After the Gezi protests, most of the people said that they are not scared anymore and they believe that they can change something in Turkey. But I should add that I think that around 100 journalists lost their job during the protests. Around 35.000 websites are blocked in Turkey, and also during the demonstrations the government blocked many websites, including a considerable number of group pages on Facebook. In what way will this affect the usage of online media as an alternative news source? Most websites are banned on the ground of sex issues, pornography. But it will not influence the usage of online media as an alternative news source, because it is now a new issue in Turkey. The government has always banned websites against Ataturk or on the ground of pornography. Online media can have a significant effect on setting the traditional media agenda. Citizens spread issues across the Internet, which can become major agendas in the online world. For traditional media it may be hard to ignore these topics. This was also noticeable during the demonstrations, when for example the television channel NTV apologized for failing to cover the initial protests. How important and determinant do you think online journalists and social media are and will be in the future in setting the traditional media agenda? I think social media and traditional media are in a very interactive relationship for agenda setting. In the morning for example, everybody on Twitter talks about the front pages of the traditional newspapers: 'how can they say it like this? This is really ridiculous'. In the middle

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of the day, for example a few days ago, the prime minister gave an extensive speech, then people on Twitter said: 'oh how can he say that? These policies are nonsense!'. What follows is a big conversation on Twitter about this. The next day, you can see in the newspaper: 'yesterday the prime minister gave a speech in the parliament and the people on Twitter discussed it and said this and that'. Traditional media outlets use Twitter for their news and the Twitter users use the traditional media for their conversation. There is an interaction nowadays. But the traditional media are always more powerful than the people. Do you think online media can change the traditional media news reporting? Traditional media have to change. They lost their credibility after the Gezi protests thanks to online and social media. They cannot maintain these policies for a long time anymore, because everybody knows what is happening in Turkey from Twitter or from other online news sources. Traditional media are highly important for democracy. Do you think online media can be an alternative for traditional media? First of all, I should say that the generalization about traditional media is not a good thing. It is not true that all traditional media do not cover important things in Turkey, there are also good traditional media. There is some really good journalism in traditional media, and we should not underestimate this journalism, so the traditional media are still very important for democracy. Online media, yes, is also really important, but we cannot compare social media or citizen journalism with traditional journalism. Citizen journalism is a different thing. In the future, more people will participate in the news making process. But, they are not at the same professional level. T24 and Bianet do. But they are alternative and they need a good business model. If you are a good journalist, you cannot survive only working in these alternative media, because they do not have enough money to pay you. A journalist still needs to work in traditional media to survive. In Turkey, we dont have people who want to pay subscription fee for good journalism. You have that in the Netherlands with the Correspondent, to have good news, but in Turkey not now. I hope that it will change in the future, because it is not only a problem of journalists, it is also a problem of the audience. If we want more good news, we have to do something.

C6. Interview 6 (face-to-face) // Asli Tunc


In Turkey, media owners need the government for contracts and business deals, consequently traditional media are scared to openly criticize the government. However, some newspapers and television channels are still quite critical about Erdogan. Where do traditional media and/or the government draw the line? When are journalists too critical? Well, no government wants to be criticized, but this government became a little bit too intolerant toward the critical media, because they felt they are now too strong after three elections coming out with great majority of votes. They thought everyone is supporting them, of course it is a big majority, but there is the other half of the society and the other half of the society was and is actually still split into many identities, ethnicities et cetera. So there is no united opposition toward the government, that was of course good for them, it was split, it was fragmented, the opposition. But the line of course is, if you feel too comfortable and too powerful, if you are surrounded with people who are totally making propaganda for you and the government. If there is no objective criticism, you become blind and that's what happened with this government. The prime minister's personality is also an issue here, he is harsh, he is strict, he is intolerant et cetera. He became harsher and became more intolerant when things moved further. And the mindset is thinking that everybody is against them and everything is part of a big conspiracy plan. For example, after the Gezi protests, in this grand conspiracy theory Erdogan started to blame everybody. A little bit criticism even makes them uncomfortable. And self-censorship is huge in Turkey. People are afraid to lose their jobs,

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they are being intimidated. They keep to be silenced. Even if you are against the government, you can work for a pro-government newspaper or channel. Journalists still see it is a kind of a job they should do, but of course journalism is something different than selling a refrigerator. You are dealing with informing citizens, so your position is different. That's why mainstream media are now totally bad. And what about the newspapers, like Taraf, which are not owned by the conglomerates? Well Taraf began to be published with a mission, they tried to undermine the military, they fulfilled their mission, the military is out of the picture and they stopped siding with the government at that point. Sometimes they are now working with the religious network, Fethullah Glen Movement, so it is complicated. Their journalistic mission is a little bit debatable. So there are very small marginal newspapers that are independent, but they don't have any power. In their criticism, they can be harsh, but because they do not have much influence, the government doesn't care. Another important thing is the polarization in the media. There are definitely dividing lines within the media, for example there are more Islamist newspapers, there are moderate newspapers in favor of the government because of their financial links. Some newspapers that are owned by the big conglomerates have for example hardline Kemalist and secularist on the staff, as columnists for example, there are critical voices in pro-government liberal newspapers, there are critical voices as columnists, but they are symbolic things, but they stay calm in their criticism. The editorial line is important anyway. It is disgraceful that the newspapers are so blindly defending or supporting the political establishment. The media ownership structure is important, who owns the money, who has relations with who. And this became worse, it was always like this, the government trying to control the media, they have their own outlets, we know that, but in this government it became so obvious. The gains are higher, the deals, the tenders. That's why they support the government more intense. Censorship and self-censorship are widespread in Turkey. Many traditional media did not cover the Gezi Park protests, in contradiction to social media users and journalists for independent news websites. However, the Internet in Turkey is also subject to official censorship and the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law. How can you explain the difference in the reporting of the traditional media and online media? Does the underlying structure of Internet play a role? Are online media users less afraid of the government? Is it because they do not have to take into account the media owners interests? Of course there is a vibrant scene in terms of Internet in Turkey, especially Twitter and Facebook usage is increasing. They cannot substitute the media institutions, but they can show their way as an alternative platform for young people. Because if you dont hear anything from the mainstream media, that's the only way to turn to. That's what they did during the Gezi protests, to organize, to spread information. It became an oppositional platform, especially Twitter. But of course, mainstream media are established, have money, have power, and the society is still a television society. So people are still getting news from television, we cannot ignore their significance. Social media are becoming important, but we cannot exaggerate or glorify their significance, but it is a powerful tool. In terms of independent websites, they are strong and powerful among certain amount of people, intellectuals, left-wings, socialists et cetera. But they cannot be very powerful on the whole society. As I said, television is the key here. And even to a certain amount newspapers. Even though people don't trust them, their circulation is low, they are still influential. Social media are a rising star in terms of media. A young, vibrant, urban generation is using them effectively. But in terms of legal restrictions, there are also many legal restrictions on the Internet, so the government is trying to restrict and limit the freedom of expression on the Internet by of course Penal Code, plus the Internet Law, that concerns the content regulation. It is very easy to criminalize them. Penal Code is very effective. Many articles are very vague, who is a terrorist for example. The definitions are incredibly ambiguous. Today 40 journalists are in jail, so it has a little bit decreased, but still many. The government says they are not journalists, they are terrorists et cetera.

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Would you say social and online media users are less scared of the government? The alternative discourse and opposition are shifting toward social media. You can see more brave analyses or comments on social media, because they cannot write on the mainstream media or say it on television. Social media are the only platform where everything can be said. But it is not just opposition though, there is also a propaganda machine on social media, so they clash, there is hate speech also, it is a chaos there, but you can also see real opposition. Especially during the protests, and the government did not like social media, mainly Twitter. Bianet and T24 were also critical, but not very harsh and they are quite small, so the government did not do anything with them. Bianet is not that effective, T24 is a respected independent platform, I'm writing for T24 also. Occasionally, I'm writing media analyses. I feel free in writing for T24, I think it is a very good outlet. I'm pretty honored to be part of it. Reading about the role of social and online media in Turkey, it seems that they are especially used by critical voices. However, Prime Minister Erdogan himself also uses Twitter and has an impressive 3.6 million followers. In addition, last September the AK party also set up an army of volunteers of 6000 members to promote the AKP on social media. Do you think the government is able to influence the discourse and news coverage on social media? If yes, what will this mean for the future of social media? Social media's nature is totally against propaganda, it doesn't work like this, I think they don't know how to use it. It is not top-down, you cannot make announcement like in bulletin on social media, it doesn't work. Social media need humor, originality, personal stuff, it's more dynamic. But if you are making propaganda, it is just ridiculous. I think the government tries to track down the opposition, making propaganda is a second thing, they are just trying to blacklist who is saying what et cetera, their usage is for monitoring reasons. That is much more dangerous, it is for surveillance purposes. In their reporting about the Gezi Park protests, to what extent were you subject to selfcensorship? Did this change after the Gezi protests? After the protests, dozens of people were arrested for their social media posts. In what way will this influence the online news reporting of events? Are you applying more self-censorship in the future? I don't think it will change it. There is intimidation of the government anyway, this is not a new thing. I don't think they will get intimidated by the arrests or that the government will silence them. Many people know their limits, it is not self-censorship, the discourse is really important here. Bianet and T24 are for example already very careful about news language, what kind of words are used, they are careful in discourse anyway. Around 35.000 websites are blocked in Turkey, and also during the demonstrations the government blocked many websites, including a considerable number of group pages on Facebook. In what way will this affect the usage of online media as an alternative (objective critical) news source? First reflex of the government during the protests was to blackout the Internet, but it is not that easy anymore. People can find other ways to connect. It will not affect anything, the major concern is if a law comes up to censor the Internet, apart from the Internet law, that might be critical. They are now working on something, although they deny it, because they are not comfortable about social media's power among young people. I am sure they will come up with something. This is the only thing they cannot control right now, so I think with regulations and limitations they will do something. On one hand, they are trying to understand social media, on the other hand, they are trying to punish and criminalize the oppositional voices on social media.

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Online media can have a significant effect on setting the traditional media agenda. Citizens spread issues across the Internet, which can become major agendas in the online world. For traditional media it may be hard to ignore these topics. This was also noticeable during the demonstrations, when for example the television channel NTV apologized for failing to cover the initial protests. How important and determinant do you think online journalists and social media are and will be in the future on setting the traditional media agenda? Well, that is a difficult question. Of course, social media are becoming more and more powerful in terms of setting the agenda, because there is no original reporting on the mainstream media, they are taking some issues from social media and make it news. And of course there will be a pressure coming from social media, but social media have many problems, reliability problems, professionalism, business model, how can you earn money from it. So there are a lot of things to get clear in terms of internet journalism. Before setting all those things clear, you cannot challenge mainstream media. Bianet and T24 do have some influence on the traditional media agenda, but more in terms of opinion makers and columnists, I don't think Bianet has an influence, but T24 sometimes they do, but still in a small intellectual circle. If you are talking about a nation wide interest, those are not significant. If you go to mid Anatolia, nobody knows, they watch television. But for example, if you look at the corruption issue that is going on now for the last two days, traditional media are of course reluctant to cover, it is big news. We are totally beyond journalism and what is newsworthy now. But nowadays, thanks to social and online media, there is more pressure. Young people check for example T24 regularly, but most important of course is the pressure coming from Twitter, the traditional media cannot ignore and totally go blind as if it doesn't exist. It comes to a point that they have to cover, they cannot hide it under the floor. Like the bombing, one year ago, that the Kurdish village was bombed and Kurdish villagers have died, there was nothing on mainstream media for hours and hours and there were incredible tweets on Twitter, at some point of course after hours the traditional media said, yes there are some incidents. We already knew from Twitter what happened, that was also a big media blackout, it was unbelievable. They just ignored it. If there was no Twitter, maybe they didn't have covered it at all. So that was that pressure coming from Twitter, they set the agenda. But on small topics, we cannot catch the importance of social media on setting the traditional media agenda. Traditional media are highly important for democracy. Do you think online media can be an alternative for traditional media? I don't think you can replace it in terms of institutional structure and establishment, but of course it will be a good addition, an alternative platform to make that pressure for demand for a more democratic society. If there was no challenge, no pressure coming from another platform, anything goes, mainstream media would act as if they do not need to do anything. I'm not glorifying social media's significance, but we should appreciate it and give credit that it plays a very important role, especially in countries like Turkey, because we are desperate, we are desperate to find information from anywhere, so witnessing something and getting first-hand knowledge from citizen journalists is becoming more and more important. 140journos, for example, is doing a very good job in this. Do you think there is a chance that the media ownership will eventually change? If the government changes, they will shift to another political establishment, but there should be some regulation, put some quota in terms of ownership. It is now so chaotic, people can now own an oil company, a bank and a media company at the same time, it cannot work like this. And in this social and online media can put a pressure and increase awareness about it, young people can create a kind of movement against it. But of course, the money is huge and the benefits are huge, so it's very hard to shake it.

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C7. Interview 7 (face-to-face) // Haluk Kalafat (translated by Evren Gonul)


In Turkey, media owners need the government for contracts and business deals, consequently traditional media are scared to openly criticize the government. However, some newspapers and television channels are still quite critical about Erdogan. Where do traditional media and/or the government draw the line? When are journalists too critical? If there are some economic relations on the background, we can say that this line of criticism may change depending on the deepness of these relations. We often use the term yandas, which is used for the mainstream media that is supporting the side of the government. [Haluk Kalafat is showing newspapers that are yandas: Turkiye, Askam and Sabah]. These newspapers have ideological and economic relations with the government, but for example Hurriyet, Milliyet and Radikal only have economic relations. These newspapers are owned by Dogan Holding, that was long the biggest media group, but after the huge tax fine, they have changed their stance against the government slightly. Yesterday morning, there was the big operation with the corruption, and Hurriyet, Milliyet and Radikal are publishing and covering the corruption scandal with details unlike these [pointing to the yandas newspapers]. So these three are examples of newspapers that are owned by conglomerates that just have an economic relation with the government. But they are not attacking the government, in contradiction to Zaman and Bugn, attached to the Glen Movement. There is a high self-censorship in Turkey, but this does not mean that they do not cover any case that is touching the government critically. But the language, the images, the headlines, all these components of journalism are being destructed by the oppression of the government. And that is more under the AKP, that is a truth. After being in power for eleven years, they feel almighty and can suppress the media. During the Gezi protests, in the beginning traditional media were covering penguins et cetera, but during the third day they could not not cover the protests. They see the people on the street, they see people on Twitter spreading information and saying that the Turkish should be ashamed of themselves, so they eventually published. Somewhat. We know that the reporters of news channels of the Dogan news agency were recording the protests around Taksim square, but the channels did not broadcast it, that was an institutional problem. The editor-in-chief and owner decided that. Censorship and self-censorship are widespread in Turkey. Many traditional media did not cover the Gezi Park protests, in contradiction to social media users and journalists for independent news websites. However, the Internet in Turkey is also subject to official censorship and the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law. How can you explain the difference in the reporting of the traditional media and your reporting? Are you less afraid of the government? Is it because you do not have to take into account the media owners interests? We are especially concerned with rights journalism, we are fighting for the rights of the poor, children, women et cetera. Our main journalistic ethos is based on that. What we are trying to do and to promote is the notion of rights journalism and some basics of journalistic ethos to be changed even in the mainstream media. I can say that there is no self-censorship here. Although we know that some issues will create some reactions in any segment of the society. During the Gezi Protests we investigated the human rights violations done by the state, and violation of the right of freedom expression. There is a deep tradition in Turkish media to embed personal comments or ideological comments and one of our editorial principles is not to do that. That is the main difference between us and traditional media. Bianet has around 30 news stories daily and 3 or 4 articles per day. In those articles you can find lots of criticism, mainly against those who are in power, but in the news stories, our strict rule is not to articulate any personal ideas and comments. We dont know what the government is thinking about us, this monitoring and tracing media on the part of the government is underground, we cannot know whether there is someone who is watching us, but that doesnt stop us from publishing issues that are important for the public to know. That is against our principles, we are not scared of the government, never. For example, during 2002, writing about the

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Kurdish issue was much more dangerous, even on that time, there was no self-censorship here. We are also still quite small, there are 14 people working here and we have daily 25.000 unique readers. We didnt grow after the Gezi Protests, but we did grow the last year. Around 35.000 websites are blocked in Turkey, and also during the demonstrations the government blocked many websites, including a considerable number of group pages on Facebook. In what way will this affect the usage of online media as an alternative (objective critical) news source? Banning and closing websites does not mean anything for us or for Turkish people in general who just find another way to avoid the blockages. They cannot block Twitter, but they can arrest people now, because of their messages on Twitter. What is mostly concerning is that the government uses social media to trace people, during the protests the government found people with Twitter. But although social media users became a little bit scared, that does not mean that they will apply self-censorship. They forget it really quickly. You cant silence individuals, maybe you can silence institutions, but individuals are much more difficult. Online media can have a significant effect on setting the traditional media agenda. Citizens spread issues across the Internet, which can become major agendas in the online world. For traditional media it may be hard to ignore these topics. This was also noticeable during the demonstrations, when for example the television channel NTV apologized for failing to cover the initial protests. How important and determinant do you think online journalists and social media are and will be in the future on setting the traditional media agenda? We have created our own agenda that is being circulated and disseminated by social media. Sometimes traditional media are referring to Bianet, and we also sometimes refer to a newspaper. We are not subscribed to a news agency, we try to get the local information from our network to use citizen journalists for example. We have a monitoring part about the monthly women killings that is done by men. Until two years before, traditional media titled these cases as killings on the basis of local traditions, like honor, or just women killings. What we are trying to promote is a men kill women discourse, I mean someone is doing the killings. And now, the traditional media are slightly taking over this discourse. Traditional media are highly important for democracy. Do you think online media can be an alternative for traditional media? . In Turkey, traditional media are also the main source for disinformation. We dont think the structure of traditional media will change. Financially, alternative online media are not able to collect data in such an efficient way as traditional media. But in this, social media makes me hopeful for the future, because the mechanism is much more straightforward, you get information much quicker. But the main problem is, how to get money. We get funds mainly from Sweden and some other international organizations, like MATRA in the Netherlands. And we are now setting up a little crowdfunding project. Of course it is not sustainable, we are still dependent, but not of the state and the market.

C8. Interview 8 (face-to-face) // Dogan Akin (translated by Deniz Serin) and Deniz Serin
In Turkey, media owners need the government for contracts and business deals, consequently traditional media are scared to openly criticize the government. However, some newspapers and television channels are still quite critical about Erdogan. Where do traditional media and/or the government draw the line? When are journalists too critical? Deniz: Maybe I can start by pointing out some of the groups within the big media. There are some that are very openly close to the government, these are newspapers such as Sabah. That group, there is another group, the Fethullah Glen Group. These two groups, they had a

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common enemy, they were both working against the power of the army in Turkey. They have allied themselves, for example during the Gezi Protests, there were days that the headline for seven newspapers was the same sentence. But right now, there is a fight between them, they publish completely different things. Erdogan was seeing that the alliance with the movement was to end soon, there were many signs of it, for example the Glen Movement doesnt want Erdogan to become president. If you look at the coverage of the corruption scandal, the Glen newspapers cover it well. The government ones they covered it like this: they didnt give the names of the sons of the ministers who are involved, one of them gave it as initials and one of them didnt even had names. Dogan: The most powerful media in Turkey, half of them publish as though they are the voice of the government, and the other half, like Radikal and Hurriyet, they covered somewhat, but they are afraid of the pressure of the government. The self-censorship works in a different way in television and newspapers. In television, for example, they say a son is arrested, but not whose son. They somehow are afraid to tell the truth. In print, those who are not the voice of the AKP, they print the names. For example, Hurriyet provided some critical details, but they are still afraid of losing contracts. However, there are differences of nuances, Dogan Holding they sold their banks, but the owner of Sabah for example owns a bank and they are more dependent of the government. In general, there are some small critical newspapers, but Erdogan sees it like this, the political influence of those newspapers isnt so much. The kind of journalism they do is not effecting the political climate. The control of the government is more on the mainstream media. Why did you founded T24 and what do you want to aim with T24? Dogan: I worked for 21 years for big media in Turkey, I worked in various newspapers, I had a lot of time to observe what was wrong with the media in Turkey. The difference between us and traditional media is simply not putting anything more important than journalism itself. An important thing in the traditional media is the polarization, each political neighborhood has its own newspapers, we dont represent any particular political neighborhood, instead we try to publish everything and be the neighborhood paper for everyone. What we try is to keep a track of the parliamentary politics and discussions about the speeches made by politicians, the kind of laws that are passed, we are closely tracking down the day-to-day things that are happening in politics. We publish roughly 200 news pieces per day. To what extent is T24 being critical in their reporting about the government? Do you stay respectful toward the government? Dogan: In our news coverage we try to cover what is happening truthfully, what we think the reader is supposed to read. We are not hiding any facts. We dont use a particular respectful tone in our news, we are just trying to be objective. In terms of our columnists, they are strongly and systematically criticizing the government and we dont do anything to silence them or suppress them. We have two or three columns per day. Self-censorship is widespread in Turkey. To what extent are you subject to self-censorship? Dogan: We never abstain from publishing any news that would benefit the public, also not now during this corruption scandal. And also during the Gezi protests, we covered everything. Plus we also made a Facebook portal that gathered all the news and all the photographs of the Gezi protests, and we were expecting that it would maybe reach 20.000 followers or so, and in one month it was 650.000 followers. Are you not scared to get blocked or get arrested? . Dogan: If you want to learn about how government suppresses journalists through direct police force, look for the Kurdish journalists, they are being arrested. But us, no. We are also

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not that big, we have 50.000 unique visitors per day. And about blocking websites in Turkey, a lot of websites are closed down because of nakedness for example, but they do not block journalism websites. Closing down websites is not a very relevant issue for us. But, if we would insult Ataturk for example, we would have a problem, but that is not relevant for us. I mean if the government is ever planning to close down T24, we are not scared and will just open T25. Self-censorship is widespread in Turkey in traditional media. However, the Internet in Turkey is also subject to official censorship and the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law. How can you explain the difference in the reporting of the traditional media and online media? Are you less afraid of the government? Is it because you do not have to take into account the media owners interests? Dogan: For the suppression and oppression to work on the media, you need to have something to lose. We dont have anything to lose. T24 doesnt own a factory, there is nothing that they can actually do to us. How do you sustain yourself? Dogan: Well, we are not getting enough advertising on our website. That is one of the problems, because those who give advertising they are not sure if they want to be seen in T24, because T24 criticizes the government. We have a 20.000 dollar income through advertisements, for example of Samsung. Because we dont publish news that draws your attention but doesnt provide you with the info you seek, so in that way it is a good environment for advertisers. These days they are sort of hesitant to advertise on our website. One problem is that everyone thinks that if you want to start up a newspaper or to go into the field of journalism, that you need a lot of money to do this. And T24 is a statement against this, we dont do this with a lot of money. Saying and believing that in order to do journalism or publish a newspaper you need a lot of money is one of the things that corrupts the way journalism is done in Turkey. Arent you scared to lose advertisers if you are critical about the government? Dogan: We are not scared, because it is so little anyway. We have a strategy of not putting all the eggs in the same basket. And we have a supplementary funding operations as well, crowdfunding is one thing, that was only done for one time, instead we have this: we provide textual and visual content for various websites of companies outside the media sector. Like videos of how to cook this, how to do sailing, things like this. Online media can have a significant effect on setting the traditional media agenda. Citizens spread issues across the Internet, which can become major agendas in the online world. For traditional media it may be hard to ignore these topics. This was also noticeable during the demonstrations, when for example the television channel NTV apologized for failing to cover the initial protests. How important and determinant do you think online journalists and social media are and will be in the future on setting the traditional media agenda? Dogan: We do influence, we have various news stories that were published at T24 first, which were taken over by Turkish newspapers and some television channels, for example our story about the wiretapping of the intelligence agency. And we also sometimes influence the agenda of newspapers abroad. For example, this picture [Dogan points at a picture, made by one of the T24 editors, where the police suppresses a girl with a water cannon during the Gezi Protests] was published on the first page of La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper. Traditional media are highly important for democracy. Do you think online media can be an alternative for traditional media? Dogan: It is a possibility that online media can be an alternative, but right now there are neither resources for this and also an attempt to make it happen. The structure of capital in the big media is still very influencing. T24 may be counted as one of the examples of

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independent online media, but that the media are bad in what they do, doesnt qualify us as good journalists, their mistakes doesnt make us saints. So, we have a lot of things to do, for example, if we had money we would have a Reuters subscription, that would be great, but we dont have the funding. The reason that we are visible at T24 these days is because there is a lot of pressure on these guys, but in the long term, in terms of defining our strategy, we have to pay attention to the content that we are producing. I mean, they say that journalism cannot sustain itself in Turkey, we try to show that this is not necessarily the case, and we can make self-sustaining journalism that can turn around itself basically. Instead of being concerned of what the traditional media miss and dont have, I am more concerned what we dont have and what we are missing.

C9. Interview 9 (face-to-face) // Esra Arsan


In your research you are interviewing journalists who work for newspapers that are owned by one of the big media groups, and those, like Taraf, who are not owned by one of the media owners. In your research you don't specify per newspaper, but were there any differences? For example, were journalists of Taraf less subject to self-censorship than journalists working for newspapers that are owned by the big conglomerates? First of all, I dont think that Taraf is an independent newspaper, it has never been an independent newspaper. Taraf was an alternative, but attached to the religious community. With religious groups, also in my survey, I mainly mean the Glen Movement. The writers and the columnists of Taraf, like Emre Uslu, are attached to the Glen Movement. They are still working for the paper, and the Taraf newspaper was always attached to the Cemaat. The Glen Movement is the most powerful religious group in Turkey, which is actually being proved by the ongoing operations of the bribery and the corruption et cetera. These people, of Taraf newspaper, are releasing all the leak documents of the government and security forces. If you are working for a newspaper which is supported by the Glen Movement, you cannot at the end of the day write about their wrongdoings in cases like the Ergenekon trial or disagree with them on important issues. The Glen Movement until recently was working together with the government, and now it is still trying to be one of the most powerful power in the country right now. In Turkey, media owners need the government for contracts and business deals, consequently traditional media are scared to openly criticize the government. However, some newspapers and television channels are still quite critical about Erdogan. On the other hand, Turkey is the biggest prison for journalists in the world. Where do traditional media and/or the government draw the line? When are journalists too critical? That the press situation in Turkey is quite bad in Turkey doesnt mean that you cannot say anything in the academia or you cannot write anything. The problem with Turkey and the freedom of press is not what we are writing or what we are saying, what we cannot say, the problem is about that. In the frontpage we cannot talk about the wrong things of the government, the wrong use of the judiciary, we cannot talk about the unjust law enforcements in Turkey, there are many things. About 40 Kurdish journalists are in jail, because of their writings. If they write a story about the reality in Kurdistan, they go directly to jail. If newspapers write about the high degree of self-censorship in Turkey, the government doesnt care. All the frontpages of the newspapers are the same, there is a polarization of course, the workers and ideas are polarized, but they cannot express their feelings because they are tight. You see the polarization mainly in the columns of the columnists. They are allowed to write critically, but if they are getting out of the line, they are fired, thats it. Dogan Holding is a Kemalist, secularist and nationalist group and they are against the government, because they do not believe that a religious party can rule the country, but they cannot express their feelings because of the economic relations. The government put a high tax fine on the Dogan Holding, that was really unfair. Some

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journalists are resigning: if we cannot do journalism anymore, then we leave. But there are others that are getting really high salaries for showing penguins. Censorship and self-censorship are widespread in Turkey. Many traditional media did not cover the Gezi Park protests, in contradiction to social media users and journalists for independent news websites. However, the Internet in Turkey is also subject to official censorship and the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law. How can you explain the difference in the reporting of the traditional media and online media? Does the underlying structure of Internet play a role? Are online media users less afraid of the government? Is it because they do not have to take into account the media owners interests? Bianet is the best example of independent media in Turkey, of course they are being funded by several organizations from abroad, but they are transparent, they pay salaries to their workers, they write good stories. They are trying to be good journalists. I think the government doesnt think Bianet is an important body to deal with, they are not aware of Bianet's power. In the meantime, the founders of Bianet are very powerful people in terms of intellectual power, so we, academics, are all working with Bianet from the beginning. For the government, it is not so easy to push them to stop stories, in the newspapers and the channels, they are calling with the owners or the editors-in-chief and say you are not going to publish this or broadcast this. It is that simple, but they cannot do that with Bianet. T24 is also a good information source, because the owner of T24, Dogan Akin, is a very dedicated journalist as well. These are good information sources that you can trust. Twitter is different, because social media have a complex structure. There are good and bad sources, if you are able to read social media in an analytical way, if you are analytical and critical about what you are reading, you can get a lot of information from social media. But if you are not, you will be crazy, because you cannot understand what is true and what is not true. So, it is really important, so thats why all this manipulation and distortion are going around Twitter right now. And the government is using Twitter very professionally. Reading about the role of social and online media in Turkey, it seems that they are especially used by critical voices. Last September the AK party also set up an army of volunteers of 6000 members to promote the AKP on social media. Do you think the government is able to influence the discourse and news coverage on social media? No, they are trying to manipulate of course. People discover them, hey, they are the manipulators of AKP. But they are trying to do their best, for example with the wake up attack Twitter account they published stories in four or five languages professionally without any proof and they were working really hard to create a perception that Gezi protesters are terrorists. But these people were demanding their rights and the police used brutally force to stop them. This is not fair. Twitter was used to legalize what the government was doing. But Twitter was of course also used by the activists and I think they used Twitter more effectively. In their reporting about the Gezi park protests, were social media users and online journalists for independent news websites subject to self-censorship? No, I dont think so. During the protests, dozens of people were arrested for their social media posts. In what way did this influence the online news reporting of events? Did social media users applied more self-censorship? Well of course we got scared, even myself actually, I was trying to share information in a much more proper level. Of course I dont stop myself writing the truth, Im not hiding facts, but I am trying to change my discourse and to be more academic for example. You want to say screw up, but you dont do that. Because the government can use that against you. You are aware that the government can arrest you for what you are writing on the net. And also many people from different kinds of media institutions got opinions from their bosses or their superiors saying that they are using Twitter very badly and they should be careful. It is

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obvious that the government is watching and observing everybodys behavior on the net, and the arrests were mainly symbolic things of the government. Online media can have a significant effect on setting the traditional media agenda. Citizens spread issues across the Internet, which can become major agendas in the online world. For traditional media it may be hard to ignore these topics. This was also noticeable during the demonstrations, when for example the television channel NTV apologized for failing to cover the initial protests. How important and determinant do you think online journalists and social media are and will be in the future on setting the traditional media agenda? Social media are becoming more and more important in terms of getting information. People, for the first time during the Gezi protests, they realized that the mainstream media are lying and hiding what is going on in this Turkey. It used to be like this for years and years, but that mainly involved issues about Kurdish people. So when it comes to Istanbul, the center of Turkey, people realized that the media are lying, and they started to look for other sources like social media and social media have become the most important information source in Turkey right now, for the people who are seeking the truth, not ordinary citizens like my mother. Some critical people, who are very limited actually in Turkey, are using social media. I believe that in social media there are really good journalists actually. Traditional media are highly important for democracy. Do you think online media can be an alternative for traditional media? It might be an alternative if they use good journalists and provide original stories and if social media become a source of income, because people dont make money from social media and they have to live. Social media are not profitable and companies like Bianet have a limited budget and they can give good money to the reporters, but they can only work with around 12 reporters, not more. But if social and online media become a profit source in the future, then maybe. If you look at the newspaper sales in Turkey, they are very low, people dont read newspapers in Turkey, most people watch television, not to get information, to watch some soaps et cetera. Turkish people like fiction, not the reality. People have to demand real stories and reality coming from the media, there is no demand in Turkish public to get real information, this is our problem, a cultural problem. We have no public like in the Netherlands or in Sweden who are demanding the truth from the media and who are demanding good journalists. People do not care in Turkey, there is a really small amount of people, like us, who are doing all the things to change the situation. We have to demand real journalism first, we have to ask the government to be accountable and responsible.

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