Generating Antagonistic Nationalist Collective Identities and Lynching Regimes through Social MEDIA in Turkey

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 15:00
Location: Seminar 34 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Rasim Ozgur DONMEZ, Abant Izzet Baysal Universitesi, Turkey
This study analyses the power of social media in generating antagonistic nationalist identities leading to political violence and lynching regimes in Turkey. By addressing the Turkish case, our study tries to understand the symbiotic relationship between social media and lynching regimes emerging from two antagonistic nationalistic collective identities -namely Kurdish and Turkish nationalisms-. The study evaluates nationalism strategies both in terms of symbols and discourses, and in terms of mobilisation practices through social media.

As a field of study, we take lynching incidents which happened in the South of the country from the 8th September 2015 till the 15th September 2015, the aftermath of Turkish Security Force and PKK’s (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) arm struggle which costed the lost of many security forces’ lives. After this arm struggle, a crowd attacks most of the pubs and discos run by Kurdish business people. Most of them are ruined. People blame ordinary Kurdish citizens and Kurdish businesses. Some of them denounce to the newspapers that they were aggressed by the victims’ Facebook accounts.

This case makes essential to analyse the role of social media in generating competing identities and lynching attempts.

We follow two routes to reach this rationale: The first one is to carry out observations in the southern part of Turkey where the incidents occur -namely Manavgat, Fethiye, Alanya, Alanya towns- and to collect oral history about these lynching incidents, both from the victims and perpetrators in order to understand the role of social media in these actions. The second is to perform discourse analysis of the nationalist messages -both Kurdish and Turkish websites- on Facebook and Twitter, in order to understand how these competing identities nurture each other.