Twitter As a New Battelfield: AK Party Vs #Occupygezi

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: 411
Oral Presentation
F. Mutlu BINARK , faculty member, Ankara, Turkey
GŁnseli BAYRAKTUTAN , faculty member, Ankara, Turkey
Established in 2001, The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is a political group that has created extensive impact on the political scene in Turkey by manufacturing a new type of hegemony. Since 2002, AK Party has increased its vote share in all three general elections and earned political power for “establishing government”, “governing” as well as “restructuring political-social-economic and cultural institutions”. For this purpose, AK Party also facilitates ICT for the restructuring of the society, politics and economy and embeds the technological change and transformation to its self-transformatory politics. 

In May-June 2013 there was an “occupy!” movement first in İstanbul, then Ankara. This movement labelled as “#occupygezi”, “#direngezi”,  and flourished in  whole social media. This social media movement can be considered  as the most visible quake in AK Party’s longlasting hegemony. For Party, this movement has been perceived as a “coupdetat”, defined in mainstream media in a paralel context. User generated content produced by the citizens during movement are misinterpreted by the Party elites. Regarding with this perception, the Party strategically labeled social media as “evil media/troublemaker” by using a conspirative discourse against itself. Moreover, the ruling elites of the party guided and organized  their supporters to occupy social media for the sake of Party and the Prime Minister Erdoğan. As a consequence, the hegemonic struggle between the party and the “others” (i.e. activists, NGOs, opposition parties, authors, artists, academicians) transmitted in a new environment, in  this case Twitter. In this paper we will briefly summarize both the political positions taken among  Gezi Movement and the ideological stand point (such as conservative democracy) of AK Party. In order to clarify and analyse this hegemonic struggle, the Twitter usage modalities of Erdoğan and some members of the government will be examined by discourse analysis  both during and after Gezi movement.