Post-Factual Politics and the Illiberal Turn: The Case of Turkey

By Nora Fisher-Onar
Submitted to Session P5027 (Islamism, Liberalism, and Beyond in Turkish Politics, 2017 Annual Meeting
Intl Rltns/Aff
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The paper, “Post-Factual Politics and the Illiberal Turn: The Case of Turkey” examines the governance implications of post-factual politicking via the case of Turkey. The paper seeks to contribute to the nascent literature on political “practice” and performance in the Middle Eastern theater. It draws, especially, on Lisa Wedeen’s seminal work on the “politics of ‘as if” in Syria, where the regime fosters epistemological uncertainty about political developments in order to bolster its own repressive rule. This paper, in turn, develops an original framework with which to assess how regimes leverage old and new media towards framing political developments in their favor. The framework is vetted using extensive primary and secondary sources to map Ankara’s messaging strategy since 2013. Tracing tactics over the course of three critical elections, an abortive coup and its fallout, and a constitutional referendum scheduled for April 2017 which may culminate in abandonment of Turkey’s centuries-old, if fragile, democratic tradition, the paper seeks to contribute to our understanding of how political communication in our post-factual, new media age may impel towards authoritarian politics.

Bibliography:
Wedeen, Lisa. Ambiguities of domination: Politics, rhetoric, and symbols in contemporary Syria. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Wedeen, Lisa. Peripheral visions: publics, power, and performance in Yemen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.