Chapter published in:History, Discourse, and Policy in Modern Turkey
[Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 95] 2021
► pp. 1–14
The book traces how the discourse rooted in Turkey’s history and the evocation of specific key historical themes are used to legitimate new policies under the AKP government. After ascending to power as the single political party on November 3, 2002, the AKP administration pursued an accommodationist political discourse that was anchored in the governance rhetoric of the traditional bureaucratic paradigm characterized by Westernism, Western alliance, European Union (EU) membership, and aloofness toward the Middle East. This orientation prevailed until 2007, but the following year witnessed a change in political discourse that indicated the first divergence from the aforementioned paradigm. The seeds of a new political rhetoric developed on the basis of historical legacies, clearing the way for the emergence of different functions, such as deconstruction, reconstruction, and the institution of the self as appropriate teller and doer. This political discourse enables a rhetorician to condemn the dominant ideology and refashion an alternative one, and its underlying historical legacies legitimize new policies. The study interrogates the role of discourse in the AKP policymaking process, examines what particular discourses signify and reveal the interests of policy proponents, and inquiries into any gaps between discourse and the reality of the final implemented policy. In particular, it puts forward the argument that the AKP elicits a discourse that typifies a “grand legacy of history,” which refers to the deployment of rhetoric that taps into the notion of Islamic and Turkish civilization to legitimate new policies today.
- 1.1Guiding objectives and questions
- 1.2Outline of the book
- 1.3Historical legacies in Turkish politics