Hâlâ Gazeteciyiz-Media Raport-5 (August-2018)

DISCRIMINATION AND HATE SPEECH IN MAINSTREAM TURKISH MEDIA: QUO VADIS?

Can Irmak Özinanır – Ozan Değer

INTRODUCTION

This report discloses the groups that hate speech targets alongside with the ways in which the repercussions of increasing authoritarianism are manifested through hate speech in the media by means of a thorough review of news reports published in the dailies within the last two years. Firstly, a conceptual and theoretical discussion on hate speech will be presented accordingly to designate the scope of hate speech, followed by a discussion on what kind of motives and strategies are implemented to subject targeted groups to hate speech in Turkey through an analysis of specific instances obtained as a result of a comprehensive review of national media.

The report sets aside Armenians, Syrians, Greeks, and Jews as the main groups that have recently been subjected to hate speech in Turkey. Alongside with these groups, the notion of “terrorism” -which has become a significant component of hate speech especially in recent years and that covertly and/or overtly “normalizes” hate speech and even hate crimes- is included in the study as well through an extensive example having been addressed as an alternative form of targeting people.

It goes without saying that the existence of groups subjected to hate speech in Turkey is not limited to those sampled in this study. For example, Alevis and Kurds who are among the groups that have been subjected to the gravest instances of hate speech and discrimination in Turkey are not addressed as main examples in this study. The reason for this is not about the fact that these groups have not been subjected to hate speech but is indeed about the fact that hate speech that these groups have been subjected to in recent years displays not an overt but a covert and more “subtle” characteristic. For instance, the government and the government-controlled media (this category constitutes the largest part of media in Turkey today), on one hand, address the Kurds under the title “terrorism” as “Kurds who are manipulated, cheated” as mentioned above; they, on the other hand, are able to follow an ambivalent strategy that can cover them as “my Kurdish brothers.”

Moreover, the results of the media review reveal that recently the Alevis have virtually been disregarded. The problems faced by Alevis and their demands have hardly ever been covered by media outlets other than the dissident ones. An example showed that the Alevis have been covertly subjected to hate speech under the “terrorism” category as well, but it was observed that it did not constitute an exception to the strategy of disregard.

Gender-based discrimination and hate speech have also been excluded from the scope of this report, since a competent study on the issue has already been published on the “Hâlâ Gazeteciyiz” website last month (See Yıldız and Salmanoğlu Erol, 2018).

The samples collected from the media have been selected among those published by the ones that could be considered to be mainstream rather than those publications that have merely rendered the use of hate speech as a professional principle like Yeni Akit, Sözcü, and Ortadoğu. The selected samples are composed of news reports that are regarded to be presenting strategies of discrimination in the clearest way possible.

The introductory part of the report also offers a brief rendering on what kind of discussions have been conducted about hate speech during the 16-year AKP rule. The 2000s have been a decade during which hate speech made its way to discussions more commonly with the novel prominence of many social movements, notably identity politics. Many forms of struggle like the emergence of the LGBTIQ+ movement as an increasingly growing one, recognition demands by Kurds, demands of Alevis surfacing in a collective manner, the Armenian community beginning to make themselves heard by a larger group especially around the daily Agos, and the struggle of the women’s movement have rendered it possible for people to begin questioning hate speech directed at these groups. Significant discussions have been undertaken during this process on legislative reforms concerning discrimination, hate crime, and hate speech. The time period during which hate speech constituted the most serious agenda was the period following the assassination of Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of daily Agos, on January 19, 2007 after being subjected to hate speech for a long time.

The AKP government that claimed power in 2002 stated that it was concerned with hate speech during this process now and again, while appearing to be taking steps towards the recognition of various identities. The truth, however, signifies that these steps have mostly remained as “pragmatic” ones and it was observed that the government has handled hate speech merely as “anti-Islamic hate speech.”

Hate speech used by the members of the government against other groups with the increasing authoritarianism of the government has started to rise geometrically especially during the period after 2011. The media, over which the government has gradually assumed more and more dominance, has also accompanied this rise. This dominance, however, should not bring about a false notion that hate speech has only been produced by the pro-government media. It is seen that media outlets that position themselves against the government have also produced hate speech against various groups.

Hate speech in the media has increasingly become more prevalent in parallel with the polarization in the society after the end of the process referred to as the Resolution Process, the coup attempt of July 15 and during the subsequent declaration of state of emergency. As will be provided in the examples below, hate speech continues to reproduce itself dramatically along old and new social fault lines.

Discourse, Power, and Dominance

“As you know, my dear spouse Hrant Dink was targeted as a result of deliberate and planned hate speech and was ruthlessly murdered… I thought about how hate speech does not only consist of words, but rather of the way they are strung together; about the importance of who utters them and where, when and why they are uttered. For instance, I remember once that one of the former Ministers of Foreign Affairs was trying to stop one of those many Armenian Genocide Draft Resolutions from passing in the American Senate and said ‘If this genocide draft passes, we may not be able to contain the public.’ When my husband and I heard this, we looked at each other in fear, surprise and confusion saying ‘Just what is he saying?!’ It should be easy for you to guess that our thoughts drifted to the events of September 6-7, the Sivas Massacre, the Maraş Massacre, to Dersim, and of course to 1915. Because these words provoke some, incite a riot for others, makes yet others angry and emotions are followed by actions. The result is death and pain.”

Rakel Dink

Teun A. van Dijk, one of the most prominent scholars in discourse analysis studies who also shapes the field, offers significant points about theoretical perspectives in hate speech. Van Dijk states that his analysis is based on a critical perspective and argues that while he analyzes the relationship between power and discourse he does not conduct a mundane analysis but a direct “critical discourse analysis” and the said analysis has not only to do with power, but, at the same time, should be specifically related to discourse and the abuse of power. Therefore, what is essentially at stake is “discourse and dominance” which go beyond mere power. Within this context, critical discourse analysis is concerned with the reproduction of dominance through text or talk, in other words, through discourse (van Dijk, 2010: 10).

Within this framework, one should firstly define what needs to be understood by the notion of power before talking about discourse and its relationship with power. According to critical discourse analysis, power has a conceptual content related to social groups, organizations, states, etc. rather than signifying personal power, in other words, the state of someone being more powerful than another and as personal power requires a psychoanalytical perspective it opts out of critical discourse analysis. The notion of power here should be interpreted as “power based primarily on hegemony” (van Dijk, 2010: 12). Therefore, power is not only the exercise of oppression over a person or a power relationship, it also signifies ruling other people and groups while controlling their actions which means harnessing what they can and cannot do, in other words, exercising control over their most basic faculties and capacities. Thus, the notion of power that critical discourse analysis takes into consideration is directly about the restriction of human freedoms.

Such a practice not only controls the actions or freedoms of people or groups, but also exercises simultaneous control over their minds, how and what they can think, their notion of knowledge, attitudes, ideas, and ideologies within a cognitive framework. Ruling, within this context, signifies controlling other people’s actions and minds. Controlling other people’s minds is of primary significance as controlling other people’s or groups’ minds, knowledge, intentions, projects, and plans refers to indirectly controlling their future existence as well. Consequently, an indirect control over actions is enabled through ruling people’s minds rather than only directly controlling actions, hereby, power realizes itself (van Dijk, 2010: 12).

At this point, another notion utilized in the analysis, “discourse” should be included to elaborate on the framework. Discourse, just like power, is an action or practice that occupies a place in our everyday lives. Controlling people’s actions implies controlling their discourses as well. Therefore, one of the most significant ways to control power within the society is to exercise control over not only a type of discourse or act but, at the same time, over text or talk that we call “specific discursive practices” since controlling discourse is a comprehensive activity that affects and overtakes other people’s minds. Exercising control over knowledge, ideology, and attitudes is a guaranteed way to control people’s minds rather than their actions. Thus, discourse proves to be an extremely fundamental and central practice of power in establishing control.

Within this context, the act of control is a trademark of power as a practice that renders it much easier for discourse to leave a mark on people and is a profoundly effective method that can validate mass manipulation. For instance, when the control over newspapers is taken into consideration, one can argue that what people will think of a specific social group is indirectly controlled as well. What underlies this is the fact that discourse is not only about a text or talk but it possesses a specific “context.” Hence, exercising control over discourse requires exercising control over the “context” as well because interaction is not merely about what the text wants to tell but also about the content of the context. Thus, the first thing that a political power that wants to utilize exercising control over discourse as a method for mind control is exercising control over its context as well. Context, on the other hand, is a subjective representation of people’s social situations rather than an objective social situation that affects the text. In other words, context is not an objective and a social thing but, on the contrary, it is subjective and psychological. For example, “…writing in a Turkish newspaper on what is good or what is not good, is not enough to create a discourse. Someone has to know, realize and be conscious of that article or news report as a Turkish person, or as a woman, or as a man, or Kurd, and so on. Now this is exactly why context is subjective and psychological: Who can participate, as what, when, where, with what kind of objective, then you can also control what is being said in the newspaper, what kind of topics, syntax, rhetoric, style and so on” (van Dijk, 2010: 14 et al.).

Hate Speech and Hate Crime

Hate speech in literature is recognized as an “American expression” that has gained international currency (Boyle, 2010: 65). Although hate speech does not have an official and binding definition, it is generally defined as a category of speech that involves the advocacy of violence, hatred or discrimination against individuals or against groups on the basis of their race, color, ethnicity, national origins, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or other status. The only internationally recognized definition of hate speech is found in a 1997 Council of Europe Recommendation on hate speech. The recommendation defines hate speech as,

“all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance.”[1]

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that provides for important studies and referential guides on the issue defines hate speech (in comparison to hate crime) as such:

“Forms of expression that are motivated by, demonstrate or encourage hostility towards a group — or a person because of their membership of that group — are commonly referred to as “hate speech”. Since hate speech may encourage or accompany hate crimes, the two concepts are interlinked. … The term ‘hate crime’ is used to describe acts and not discriminatory views or hate speech alone.” (Preventing and Responding to Hate Crimes: A Resource Guide for NGOs in the OSCE Region, 2015: 15).

The International Hrant Dink Foundation, which conducts comprehensive studies in this field, states in a report on hate speech that:

“Such forms of understanding and interpretation as biases, racism, xenophobia, discrimination, sexism and homophobia underlie hate speech. Factors like cultural identities and group characteristics affect the use of otherizing and aggressive discourses, while the language of hate on the rise lifts its effectiveness notably under conditions of increasing nationalism and intolerance for those that are different” (Media Watch On Hate Speech Report, January-April 2018: 1).

The Foundation has also designated categories of hateful discourse (which were determined in consideration of lingual and cultural differences specific to Turkey):

  1. Exaggeration / Attribution / Distortion: Any discourse that features negative generalization, distortion, exaggeration or negative attribution targeting a community as a whole, based on a specific individual or event (e.g. “Enough with the Syrians”),
  2. Swearing / Insult / Defamation: Any discourse that contains swearing, insult or defamation about a community (e.g. “treacherous”, “traitor,” “immoral”),
  3. Enmity / War Discourse: Any discourse that includes hostile, war-mongering expressions about a community (e.g. “violence of the Greeks”),
  4. Using an inherent identity as a basis for hate or humiliation / Symbolization: Any discourse that uses various aspects of one’s inherent identity as a basis of hate, humiliation or symbolization (e.g. asking in a negative way “Will a Jew represent us in the Eurovision?”) (Media Watch on Hate Speech Report, January-April 2018: 4).

Hate speech, within this context, can be specified as discursive forms that can be handled within a very large framework separately from hate crime and –mainly– target disadvantaged groups; therefore, it is not a type of offence but constitutes a discursive category. Indeed, hate speech and hate crime are different terms and concepts which constitute different forms of and practices of hate. While hate crimes refer to a type of offence covered by criminal law, hate speech is often regulated within the scope of its relationship with the right to freedom of expression and the abuse of this right (Çelik, 2013: 209). Although they have different contents of meaning, they are at the same time interconnected: “Hate speech creates the risk of hate crime.” (Boyle, 2010: 66)[2]

The term hate crime is based on the notion of racism and was first used in the media in 1986 during the news reporting of attacks against a young African-American man by a group of white students in New York (Vardal, 2015: 136). This offence constitutes criminal acts that take action based on bias or prejudice against specific groups of persons. These offences, as opposed to hate speech, are the manifestations of intolerance through physical violence and aim at creating a profound effect not merely on the current victim but also on the social group that the victim defines himself/herself as a member of.[3]

“Legal Platform for Hate Crimes” (Nefret Suçları Yasa Platformu), which was founded in 2012 in Turkey incorporating 62 non-governmental organizations, developed a larger definition for hate crimes and defined such acts as:

“Offences committed with bias and prejudice against individuals and groups that have specific and common characteristics or against their properties are called hate crimes. Hate crimes are committed worldwide based notably on ethnic, national and religious identity, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity alongside with health status, mental or physical disability, social status, political or philosophical ideas, and educational status.” (Şensever, 2012: 8).

Therefore, in contrast to hate speech, hate crime should involve physical acts of violence and the offence in this sense has a criminal element that positive law indicates, as independent from speech. Thus, this angle between hate speech and hate crime should be taken into consideration when critical discourse analysis is at stake.

Hate Speech, Freedom of Expression, and the Media

There is a high-tension relationship between freedom of expression and hate speech. When freedom of expression is taken as a field covering all thoughts and expressions, temporal and spatial differences emerge as to when expressions that will be evaluated as “hate speech” will be excluded from this field and which social concerns will be pursued in the making of this positioning. Within this context, these two mentioned notions should be evaluated within a specific framework: i. with regards to the protection of the field, person, or groups that hate speech targets, ii. with regards to the protection of the field of freedom of expression itself from restrictions that may be imposed by putting forward the hate speech argument, in other words, with regards to protecting freedom of expression from abuse by hate speech (Çelik, 2013: 207). Thus the following can be argued to be the critical point: Neither freedom of expression should openly legitimize hate speech nor the fight against hate speech or ban on hate speech should be framed with a limitlessness that will violate freedom of expression. In other words, nothing but a balanced conceptual frame bears the capacity to protect both freedom of expression and the person or groups targeted by hate speech.

There is indeed an international effort to achieve the mentioned balanced as well. Studies endeavor to come up with mechanisms and regulations to protect both freedom of expression based on the high standards of international human rights law (ECHR and ECtHR case law) and persons and groups targeted by hate speech that involve the risk of hate crime. The perspective of the US, which has a unique position, declaring “It is only where the speech involves the incitement or threat of imminent violence that the state may punish [hate speech]” (Boyle, 2010: 68), is a country-specific comprehension of “freedom of expression” rather than bearing any universality (Karan, 2010: 58). Indeed, texts and talks based on hate speech covered by the print and visual media are evaluated in accordance with the mentioned “imminent threat” criterion and the relationship between hate crime and hate speech is generally disregarded. European understanding of freedom of expression, on the other hand, is not that limitless and whether an act can be considered an “expression” and/or whether there is a violation or not is based on such major criteria as the “nature of the act, place, time, person, targeted group” (Değer, 2007: 46 etc.). Accordingly, whether an act can be regarded to be an expression and/or whether an expression should be protected or not have been tied to some significant and high standards. This approach, which seeks to establish a balance between fighting hate speech and freedom of expression, bears a more universal acceptance and aims at unwinding the mentioned tension.[4]

Likewise, there is a similar tension between hate speech and freedom of expression when the press is at stake. Freedom of the press that, in its broadest sense, refers to one’s freedom to freely publicize news reports, ideas and thoughts through disseminating means is face to face with this tension. What an expression is, what hate speech is, and which act can be protected as a right based on this in the press is an important controversy. Hate speech practiced under the name of freedom of expression or condoned by political powers that run mechanisms of domination has been a significant part of the history of the press in Turkey as well.

Yet the hate defending, disseminating, and encouraging nature of news reports, beliefs and ideas broadcast or published on the grounds of freedom of expression does not comply with European standards of freedom of expression and unfortunately the media in Turkey was and is still living in a period during which hate speech has become a part of the “normal.” It is seen that the media often uses a non-objective, prejudiced, and discriminative language; it violates universal and national publication principles or the ethical principles declared by media outlets do not involve hate speech and discriminatory speech. The provocative, racist, and discriminatory rhetoric used in the news, specifically in the headlines and titles, transforms into an instrument that triggers enmity and discriminatory sentiments in the society, enhances stereotypes, and gives way to the settlement of a ubiquitous prejudice especially against disadvantaged groups. Targeted persons and/or groups are thusly intimidated and are subsequently forced to renounce their right to participate in social and political lives (Watch Report, 2018: 1). In spite of the fact that whether hate speech directly creates hate crime remains as a controversial issue in literature, the history of Turkey is replete with instances of how speech conditions, disseminates, and encourages the act itself and even blatantly marks persons or groups as targets. The press review and the covered news reports that have been handled within this very framework provide a more explanatory sample of the fact that hate speech is used within a large panorama and of the relationship between hate speech and hate crime in the light of the mentioned conceptual framework. Because the relationship that the media in Turkey has established with “hate” is not generally a distant one but, on the contrary, is “embracing.”

INSTANCES OF HATE SPEECH FROM THE MEDIA IN TURKEY

Hate speech rallying according to conjuncture: The Armenians

One of the groups that are subjected to the most serious hate speech in the media in Turkey proves to be the Armenians. There is an ample number of instances in daily life where the word “Armenian” is perceived to be an insult, or used as an accusation. For instance, CHP MP Canan Arıtman said in 2008 that the then President Abdullah Gül’s mother was an Armenian following a campaign titled “We apologize to the Armenians” and Gül, in response, filed a lawsuit for non-pecuniary damages in the amount of 1 TL against Arıtman saying that his mother was not Armenian but Turkish. Thereupon, Gül’s maternal uncle filed a lawsuit for pecuniary damages in the amount of 40 thousand TL. This example is one of the most typical instances of the fact that the word Armenian is being widely used and perceived as an insult in Turkey.[5] Similarly, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said “Some called me Georgian; another one came up, excuse me but called me with much uglier things like Armenian” in response to a question in Oğuz Haksever’s show aired on NTV in 2014.[6] Hate speech raised from the top of the state does not stem from the fact that racism, which in fact has spread around the society more commonly, is seen as a natural phenomenon. Although racist hate speech against the Armenians became visible upon the assassination of Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of the daily Agos, in 2007 and although some awareness started to develop about it, it is observed that the top executives of the state, presidents or MPs can still use such speech in a breeze as is seen in the above instances (2009, 2014). Mainstream media can also go with the language of hate speech when it comes to Armenians. It can be argued that hate speech targeting the Armenians in the media generally goes on the rise in some certain cases:

– When the adoption of a bill on the Armenian genocide is on the agenda in a country’s parliament,

– When individuals and/or groups that express statements about the Armenian genocide outside the official ideology emerge within the country,

– When there is a diplomatic problem between Armenia and Turkey,

– When there is a problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia and/or the Khojaly Massacre during the Karabakh War of 1992 become a topic,

– When one wants to claim that the PKK does not in fact represent the Kurds but is an Armenian organization, etc.

There are practices which have almost become patterns in the construction strategies of hate speech against the Armenians:

  • Use of adjectives like “so-called,” “scandalous,” or “groundless” about the Armenian genocide or bills on this issue,
  • Associating the whole Armenian community with terrorism over the ASALA and/or other organizations,
  • Claiming that the discussions about the Armenians are essentially used to victimize Turkey, the “Turkish nation,” which is coded as an inseparable part of it over Turkey, or the Muslims; therefore, if there is indeed a victimization it is primarily experienced by the Turks and the Muslims.

Hence, hate speech against the Armenians is mostly exercised through the denial of 1915 and association of Armenians with “terrorism” and in an effort to “feed the concern that the great powers are against Turkey,” as has been aptly stated by Eser Köker and Ülkü Doğanay (2010: 96). The examples we collected through our media review also confirm this argument.

Daily Türkiye, 24 February 2018. [Ignobility!]

The daily Türkiye, 24 February 2018. [THE TURKS OF HOLLAND! Are their family trees Armenian? 5 MPs of Turkish origin in the Dutch Parliament also backed the resolution that recognizes the events of 1915 as ‘genocide.’]

The news report of the daily Turkey dated 24 February 2018 is one of the examples of how hate speech against Armenians surfaces when the recognition of the Armenian genocide is brought on the agenda in any country. The news report by Halil Uygun, which sets five MPs of Turkish origin who backed the bill “to recognize the massacres committed against the Armenians in Anatolia in 1915 as genocide” in the Dutch Parliament as targets, was announced on the first page of the daily with the title “Are their family trees Armenian?” while the title of the actual report is “Ignobility!”. The report constantly refers to the resolution of the Dutch Parliament as a “scandalous resolution,” the vote to be cast has been defined on the basis of race. According to the news report, MPs of “Turkish origin” in the Dutch Parliament have been coded as liable to vote “No” to the bill to recognize the genocide as they were of “Turkish descent” and it has also been insinuated between the lines that casting a “Yes” vote to this bill would be treachery. While the bill has been characterized as “groundless” by the daily, the statement “They once again showed that they were against Turkey” has been used following the listing of the names and parties of the MPs of Turkish origin who voted “Yes” to the bill. Yet there is no information as to how these MPs previously showed that “they were against Turkey,” hence, the defined act of “being against Turkey” does not have a context although it seemed to present a historical background for the reader and is merely used to make the MPs who voted “Yes” as the targets of hate.

The basis of this act of the MPs who voted “Yes” to the bill has been explained by “lineage”. Expressions used both on the first page of the daily and in the main title of the news report point to the “ignobility” or “Armenian origin” of the MPs who voted “Yes.” Thereby it underlines the supposition that a “real Turk” would not be engaged in such an act, the mentioned MPs are positioned outside “Turkishness.”

The “strategy of victimization” is also enabled in this news report. The statements of the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu have been referred to as well. Racism has been directed against the Dutch Parliament and, therefore, against the MPs who voted “Yes” and were presumed to be of Turkish origin through Çavuşoğlu’s statement “Unfortunately, [this is] a reflection of the rising racism, anti-Turkey stance, anti-Islamism in Europe.” This news text which is entirely based on racism resorts to normalizing its own racism by assigning racism to the “other” in this way.

The daily Sabah, 2 February 2017. [PKK-ASALA Alliance in CIA documents]

This news, reported in the daily Sabah dated February 2, 2017, is one of the typical examples of reports that treats the Kurdish problem in tandem with the Armenians. After the period when the Kurdish question became one of the major items on the agenda with the actions of the PKK, which set out to establish an independent Kurdistan from the 1980s onwards, and the emergence of the ASALA at around the same time following the assassination of Turkish diplomats with a view to bring the Armenian genocide to the agenda and establishment of an independent Armenia, mentioning the Kurds and the Armenians in connection with each other became one of the fundamental discursive strategies to designate the Kurdish question as one triggered by “foreign powers.” For instance, Meral Akşener, one of the leading figures of the then DYP government, uttered the phrase “the Armenian offspring” for Abdullah Öcalan in the parliament, and when there was a backlash she “apologized” saying “I did not intend to imply the Armenians in Turkey but the Armenian race in general.” Likewise, in the AKP rule one of the frequently repeated arguments in the mainstream media was the contention that the PKK, which was an Armenian organization, did not in fact represent the interests of the Kurdish people. It is seen that the underlying idea of brotherhood of the Muslims was being implicitly cherished. According to this idea, both the Turks and the Kurds, as nations predominantly Muslim, belonged to the Islamic ummah and essentially formed a whole; this unity between them was being injured by the Armenians, who “were deceiving the Kurdish people”.

In this report issued by the Anatolian News Agency and published in many dailies apart from Sabah, the word Armenian is highlighted profusely in reference to the ASALA. The introduction of the report harbors the following statements: “According to the documents, two organizations targeting Turkey acted in cooperation with Armenian terrorists, also launching attacks together.” Here “terrorist” activity is identified with the Armenians and thus the phrase “Armenian terrorist” is accentuated. While what is meant by the phrase “Armenian terrorist” remains unclear, it is stated, on the basis of a CIA report, that “the PKK has spawned a unit called ‘HRK’ gleaning members from its own cadres as well as other Kurdish and leftist and presumably some Armenian organizations.” As many fractions from Kurdish organizations to leftist groups are named among those forming this unit, the subheading “There were also Armenian terrorists” for this section is used. The final subheading reads that the PKK “took Armenian organizations as model”; therefore, the news report has a structure which is designed to emphasize the word Armenian rather than the alliance between the two organizations.

The daily Star, April 25, 2017.

A news report in the daily Star, dated April 25, 2017 with the heading “It was in fact the Armenians who slaughtered us”, covers a conference held in the Azerbaijani capital Baku. This report, as mentioned above, constitutes an example of hate speech appearing “when individuals and/or groups that express statements about the Armenian genocide outside the official ideology emerge within the country”; in terms of discourse, however, the strategy that “the discussions about the Armenians are essentially used to victimize Turkey, the ‘Turkish nation,’ which is coded as an inseparable part of it over Turkey, or the Muslims; therefore, if there is indeed a victimization it is primarily experienced by the Turks and the Muslims” is put into practice. This report was issued on April 25, right after April 24, which commemorates the Armenian genocide and is accepted as the day it was launched both in Turkey and around the world. In the news that communicates the fact that “the real victims were the Turks, in order to object to those that express statements outside the official ideology, Ali Erdinç, the Head of the Talat Pasha Committee, states in his own words that 1915 genocide allegations are “Armenian lies”, emphasizing that “We need to fight this with the spirit of the Kuvayı Milliye National Forces in the War of Independence, without succumbing to any fears.”

The main element in this news is the date when the news is reported. Its publication on April 25 suggests that the news was intended to deny the events on April 24, 1915. And the overall structure of the report has the viewpoint that treats history as a field of struggle between nations or peoples. While the views claiming that a genocide was executed in 1915 are coded as “Armenian lies”, a shared lineage is set up between the Azerbaijanis and the Turks by means of “Turkism”: “The Armenians slaughtered the Turks on April 24, 1915. In Van 25,000 people were massacred in two days by the Armenians. Likewise, 30,000 people were massacred in Baku on March 31, 1918.”

This text assumes that Armenians living all across the world are responsible for what happened in Van in 1925 and in Baku in 1918. While the Azerbaijanis are being dissolved in the Turkish identity as a “cognate” of people in Turkey, the existence of Armenian citizens living in the Turkish Republic is ignored, by means of which Turkish Armenians are driven outside the “legitimate communality.”

New and popular targets for hate speech: the Syrians

Hostility against refugees/immigrants targeting especially the Syrians has been on the rise as a result of the fact that Turkey became the main destination of millions of Syrians when the uprising in their country turned into a civil war in 2011. The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey totaled 3,541,572 as of July 2018.[7]

Since 2011 hate speech targeting the Syrians has become commonplace both in the pro-government and anti-government press. This is so much the case that according to 2017 Media Watch On Hate Speech Report prepared by the International Hrant Dink Foundation, one of the two targets of hate speech along with the Armenians is the Syrians. According to the report, the Syrians are subjected to hate speech by means of the following strategies:

– the names of the Syrians are mentioned in tandem with such judicial cases as murder, theft, harassment,

-they are associated with problems of security and “terrorism”,

-they are presented as responsible for the negative economic situation and unemployment,

-they are labeled as a threat to Turkey’s demographic structure and as a source of “tension”,

– female Syrian refugees are put forward as a menace to the family and society,

-they are exposed to xenophobia in terms of the issues such as the citizenship discussions, entry into university without examination and “Euphrates Shield Operation” (Medyada Nefret Söylemi ve Ayrımcı Söylem, 2018: 17).

The hate speech directed at the Syrians is interwoven with systematically concocted information. This information is usually based on hearsay and disinformation claiming that the Syrian refugees are better off than citizens of the Turkish Republic.[8]

Discrimination against the Syrians permeates nearly all walks of life. According to a survey carried out by Istanbul Bilgi University, Center for Migration Research, the results of which were released in February 2018, 83.2% of the AKP voters, 92.8% of the CHP voters, 75.9% of the HDP voters, 88.9% of the MHP voters and 94.8% of those who intend to vote for the İyi Parti answered the question “Should the Syrians return home?” in the affirmative. The average rate of the respondents who advocated the return of the Syrians to their homeland is 82% (Turkey’de Kutuplaşmanın Boyutları Araştırması, 2018: 65).

The Turkish media appears as the most significant tool in the dissemination of discrimination against the Syrians and production of hate speech. Some of the news reports below that produce hate speech targeting the Syrians have been analyzed and the strategies by means of which hate speech is produced have been uncovered.

The daily Milliyet, May 16, 2017.

The news report prepared by Ali Ekber Şen and İbrahim Maşe of Doğan News Agency and printed on May 16, 2017 in the daily Milliyet with the headline “Syrians murder in dispute of noise” is an example of how the Syrians are subjected to hate speech by means of identifying them with crime. And an attempt is made to reinforce the perception that the Syrians are people that are constantly involved in criminal activities with the brief warning “Second incident in a month” next to the headline.

In the very first sentence of the news, different incidents that occurred in Mersin are assembled under the same headline and the Syrians are presented as accountable for the “tensions”: “Another instance of Syrian tension that occurred in April in Akdeniz district of Mersin came to pass.” The news is based totally on one-sided coverage, for the news report claims that the Syrian family in question continued to talk loudly while smoking water pipe despite warnings. According to the news report when Hanifi Hisak, who warned the family, went down stairs, a fight started and he was stabbed to death in the fight. The coverage is based solely on the witness of Hisak’s relatives. While the names of the Syrian family are disregarded the witness of the Hisak family is counted upon simply because they are from Turkey.

This news report bolsters the notion that the Syrians are “noisy” people that are “systematically inclined to commit crimes.”

The daily Yurt, August 22, 2017.

Yurt, one of the anti-government dailies, too is one of the media outlets that produces discriminatory news against the Syrians. This news report printed in in the daily Yurt on August 22, 2017 produces the notion that the Syrians are involved in crime by establishing a link between the Syrians and harassment. In the event that took place in Konya, a man named Mehmet Ertunç shot to death two Syrians, Mustafa El Muhammed and Hüseyin El Muhammed, who were claimed to have abused his sister. Despite the fact that one of the parties in the event being Syrian has no relevance the news report introduces the Syrians as harassers. Though the real incident is a murder, the headline focuses on “harassment by the Syrian” as if to concoct an excuse for the murder itself. The lead, which deals with a gunfight, codes one of the parties as “neighborhood residents”; however, when we look more closely at the news it turns out that it is not a gunfight but is a case which involves Ertunç, coded as one of the neighborhood residents, who opened fire at two Syrians.

The news makes use of incriminatory language towards the Syrians, while the assailants are presented as “neighborhood residents.” The El Muhammeds are taken to hospital and their relatives come to the hospital, this is covered as “Syrians flooded the hospital”; on the other hand, those who came to the hospital to attack the Syrians are presented with the sentence “People around who heard of the harassment incident went to the hospital to show their reactions to the Syrians”. The news report is of a nature that naturalizes the targeting of all the Syrians for the act of one Syrian and depicts the attacks against the Syrians with the sentence “There were tensions between the district residents and the Syrians at intervals.” The news report creates the impression that the Syrians are responsible for all the horrible incidents, even for the committing of the murder, of which they were the victims.

The indispensable constituent of Turkishness: Hostility against the Greeks and Greeks Living in Turkey

The most frequent target in the Turkish media from its earliest days has been citizens of Greece and the Greeks living in Turkey and Cyprus. The period known as “The War of Independence” and the battle against the Greek soldiers in the Western Front in this period have been a vital motif in the construction of the ideology of the Turkish Republic. A significant part of the Greeks, one of the autochthonous peoples of Anatolia, still residing in Turkey after the war, were sent to Greece in compliance with the population exchange treaty signed between Greece and Turkey. Therefore, the “Greek” image has been one of the vital aspects in the construction of Turkishness.

The historically existing conflict between Turkey and Greece has also been frequently exploited by the media, and, as is evident in September 6-7 1955 incidents, it has led to the staging of pogroms against non-Muslims living Turkey including the Greeks, which also has contributed to transformation of hate speech into hate crime. The September 6-7, 1955 incidents targeting the non-Muslims was triggered with the news claiming that the house of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, in Thessaloniki was bombed; upon this, thousands of people carrying clubs, axes and picks took to the streets, looting shops owned by the non-Muslims. In the incidents 11 people lost their lives. Though this is the gravest event in which the Greeks living in Turkey were victimized by the Turkish-Greek relations, it is not the only one. Discrimination against Greeks and Greeks living in Turkey has been reiterated time and again and it is still a common practice.

Hate speech against the Greeks and Greeks living in Turkey in the press usually escalates in the following occasions:

-When there is a conflict between Turkey and Greece, usually concerning the Aegean islands, and when a diplomatic crisis is imminent,

-When there is a crisis between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) and the Cyprus Republic.

Hate speech targeting the Greeks and Greeks living in Turkey finds its expression generally in phrases like “overstepping the mark”, “effrontery”, “giaour” and “shove into the seat”. The latest conflict between Greece and Turkey erupted when the former did not accede to the latter’s demand to repatriate some soldiers who fled to Greece after the July 15 coup attempt. Following this event, it was observed that hate speech in the Turkish press against the Greeks rose again. Phrases harboring hate speech can be directly linked to this specific conflict, however, as can be seen in the examples below, they can also appear totally in connection with daily incidents.

The daily Star, July 30, 2018.

Published on July 30, 2018 on the webpage of the daily Star, the news report titled “Take a look at the terrorist enthusiast Greeks” is based on the claim that the soldiers who participated in the July 15 coup attempt were given priority when people were being saved in the wildfire disaster that hit Athens. Though the daily bases the report on the Greek press, the phrase in the headline, “Take a look at the terrorist enthusiast”, turns into hate speech that holds the all the Greeks responsible for something that only the authorities are responsible for. All of the contents of the news are garnered from the daily Vraditi published in Greece. Though no hate speech is seen in the text except for the headline, the news report implicitly creates the idea that “the Greeks support terrorists opposing Turkey” since the coup soldiers are saved in the wildfire.

Milliyet, May 26, 2017.

The news report by Sefa Karahan of Milliyet dated May 26, 2017 is an example of how hate speech targeting the Greeks living in Turkey is produced when a problem emerges between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) and the Cyprus Republic. The news report covering the demands of the Southern government that the North stop or limit exports during the ongoing negotiations between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) and the Cyprus Republic, hate speech appears once more in the headline.

In addition, the news text, directly taking sides with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), is based on a jingoistic language. In the news the Southern government, which is officially called the Cyprus Republic, is referred to as “Greek Cypriots” or the “Greek Cypriot government”. The demand of the Cyprus Republic is presented as if it were made by all the Greeks. Thus, when the headline is considered all the Greeks are accused of being “insolent”.

Akşam, March 17, Mart.

In this news report that appeared in the daily Akşam dated March 17, Mart clearly exemplifies how hate speech targeting the Greeks could seep into a news report about the daily life. The news report covers the football match between Beşiktaş and the Greek team Olympiakos; the headline, however, evokes the claim that while withdrawing from İzmir, Greek soldiers jumped into the sea on September 9, 1922, which signals the end of the War of Independence; thus Greeks are coded historically as “enemies to be shoved into the sea”.

The primary targets in conspiracy theories: the Jews

The Jews are one of the most frequently targeted groups in the Turkish media. According to Media Watch On Hate Speech Report January-April 2018 by the Hrant Dink Foundation, the Jews, following the Armenians, are found to be the second group about which most hate speech is produced (Medyada Nefret Söylemi İzleme Raporu, Ocak-Nisan 2018). Distortions and conspiracy theories systematically produced about the Jews appear as principal aspects that nourish anti-Semitism also in Turkey.

While hate speech that targets the Jews appear more frequently in pro-Islamist newspapers, explicit hate speech is fabricated mostly through the association of Israel and the Jews. The mainstream media harbor less hate speech targeting the Jews; however, in such media outlets as Yeni Akit and Millî Gazete, which frequently produce hate speech and which are not included in the present study, the Jews are constantly targeted. The Israel-Palestine conflict serves as the most prevalent ground for the production of anti-Semitist hate speech. Anti-Semitism owes its existence to the dissemination of conspiracy theories that treat the Jews not only in connection with Israel but as the supervisor of some mastermind or that “the world is run by the Jewish lobby” as well as the prejudice that all the Jews are “very rich”.

Targeting of the Jews in the social media is frequently seen. One comes across posts targeting the Jews on the social media after almost every social event.[9]

The daily Yeni Şafak, December 12, 2017.

An opinion column written by İsmail Kılıçarslan in Yeni Şafak, one of the mainstream media outlets, is one of the evident examples of anti-Semitism. The author claims that it is wrong to criticize Zionism, which is the official ideology of the state of Israel, saying that the problem is not Zionism but Judaism itself; he declares all the Jews to be racists and fascists and he alleges that as long as they do not renounce their religion they are bound to remain “the most dangerous community for the world”. Kılıçarslan openly invites people to become anti-Semitists by targeting the Jews and Judaism.

The daily Sabah, January 17, 2018.

The news report received from the İhlas News Agency and printed in the daily Sabah in January 2018 covers how a group of settlers who were relocated in Jerusalem by the Israeli government went into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a site in Jerusalem sacred to both the Muslims and the Jews, under the protection of Israeli police and worshipped inside.

The news is presented without considering any context. Who is meant by “the Jewish settlers” is not clarified. The phrase “the Jewish settlers” creates the illusion that it covers all the Jews when no background information or context is provided. In fact, what is meant here is the people who were relocated in the Palestinian lands by Israel so as to change the demographic structure to the detriment of the Palestinian Arabs. Since the news does not contain this information, the phrase “the Jewish settlers” is associated with all the Jews both in the headline and the text.

In addition, while referring to the settlers, who were reported to have evacuated the Al-Aqsa Mosque by the guards of the Mosque and the Muslims, the news makes use of the statement “There was tension while the Jews were being evacuated”. The news text has a one-sided attitude towards religious groups. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is a venue regarded to be sacred not only by the Muslims but also the Jews. Projecting the entry of a religious group into a sacred space as a negative event, independent of the balance of power between Israel and Palestine, means producing hate speech about one religious group by favoring the other. Therefore, the news report identifies Israel with the Jewish community and produces hate speech to the detriment of the Jews, both in terms of the way the news is presented from the headline onwards and the way it is structured.

“Terrorism” as an empty signifier

Though the terms “Terror, terrorism, terrorist” have a very long history they have been put to use to describe many different acts in Turkey as well as in the world since the 1980s. Despite being directly related to violence, after a while, these terms were employed by many governments so as to include non-violent forms of action, which enabled these governments to accuse people who did not approach various problems in the way the government designated, to put it mildly, of being “terrorism supporters.” From this vantage point, the term “terrorism” has become an “empty signifier”.[10]

With the end of the Resolution Process and especially with the declaration of the State of Emergency following the July 15 the coup attempt, this characteristic of the term “terrorist” was further expanded and over 100,000 public employees were dismissed by means of Emergency Decrees (KHK) that made use of terms that do not appear in the history of law such as “having an affiliation”, or “connection with terrorist organizations.” A wide range of people including signatories of the declaration “We will not be a party to this crime!” penned by Academics for Peace, the masterminds of the July 15 coup attempt, MPs, mayors and members of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Republican People’s Party (CHP) members, Gezi Park protesters and students of Middle-East Technical University (METU) and Boğaziçi University were treated indiscriminately in the same manner with the use of terms like “terrorist”, “affiliated with terrorism” or “connected with terrorism”.

The word “terrorist” has become one of the fundamental tools for the production of hate speech in the media and has been used to target different social groups. The example below is highly lucid in demonstrating how “ingeniously” the term “terrorist” is used in the production of hate speech.

The daily Star, June 2, 2018.

This news report, published on the web page of the daily Star on June 2, 2018 before the elections, covers the speeches of President Tayyip Erdoğan. The President is naturally an important news source for journalists. However, the statements of the President are not only quoted, they are approved and thus a portrait of the “alliance of terrorism” is drawn. The headline and subheadings that are not placed within quotation marks imply that they are Erdoğan’s as well as the daily’s views. In the news, HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), one of the largest political parties in Turkey, is called “an extension of the terrorist organization”, and HDP’s presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş is presented as “being guilty of terrorism charges” though no court has convicted him.

With the subheading “The picture of dirty alliance”, hate speech aims at many social groups. In the rest of the above news, the following explanation is provided in connection with a picture in which CHP (Republican People’s Party) and HDP stalls stand side by side in London: “The joint election campaign of CHP and PKK in London, the English capital, which the President Erdoğan referred to with the words ‘In a foreign country, one side of a campaign tent is used by CHP, and the other by those who are the extension of the terrorist organization’ has been photographed. In the election tent that was set up before the 8th Alevi Festival to be held on Sunday, CHP and HDP started working side by side. Among the participants are London Gezi Group, which is known to have very close ties with the terrorist organization, UK Academics for Peace Group and Mehmet Ali Alabora, who had tweeted the post ‘You don’t get it, mate, the Gezi Park is not the issue here’ during the Gezi riots. One of the organizers of the activity in which the so-called artists participated was Sibel Özçelik, the head of CHP British Association.”

These lines attempt to create the impression that supporters of CHP and HDP, Alevis, Gezi Park protesters, Academics for Peace are all “terrorists” and all are targeted at the same time.

The daily Sabah, February 9 2017.

Published on the web page of the daily Sabah on February 9 2017, this news report is one of the typical examples of targeting various social groups by means of “terrorism” allegations. In the news report where the academics who signed the declaration titled “We will not be a party to this crime!”, opened for signature by Academics for Peace, were accused of supporting the PKK, all the signatory academics, notably the signatory academic İbrahim Kaboğlu, are targeted.

Academics who signed the declaration called “We will not be a party to this crime”, which called for the war and violence to be ended in this country in the early 2016 and included statements criticizing the government, were soon declared “traitors” by the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who used such words as “dark”, “mandatary” and “so-called intellectuals” for the signatory academics. Following this speech, a great many examples of hate speech targeting the signatory academics appeared in the media.

It is stated in the news report above that the majority of the academics who signed the declaration were dismissed from public positions with the emergency decree on February 7 and it is claimed two days later that the majority of those who were dismissed were dismissed on grounds that they were PKK supporters.[11] The lead of the news defines the declaration of Academics for Peace as one “in favor of the PKK”, alleging also that signatory academics received instructions from Bese Hozat, the chairperson of the Executive Committee of KCK (The Kurdistan Communities Union). Hozat’s statements that appeared in the ANF News portal are presented as the source of this allegation. However, what kind of connection exists between the statements in the ANF News and the declaration of Academics for Peace has not been clarified.

In a subheading where Academics for Peace are collocated with the adjective “so-called” it is stated that the intention was black “propaganda against Turkey”, which is further emphasized with an exclamation mark. At the end of the news report, Prof. Dr. İbrahim Kaboğlu, one of the signatory academics who was dismissed, is targeted with the sentence “Kaboğlu, signed the so-called ‘Academics for Peace’ declaration, which was in effect a declaration including PKK propaganda.”

The news report stigmatizes all the signatories as “PKK supporters” and “people making black propaganda against Turkey” without interviewing any of them on this subject and totally depending on an allegation, thus acts as a propaganda that legitimizes the dismissals that were put into practice by means of Emergency Decrees.

CONCLUSION

Hate speech has been an inseparable part of the press ever since its birth in Turkey and has been used for targeting many different social groups. Many groups such as the Armenians, Greeks, Christians, Jews, Alevis, Kurds, LGBTİQ+s, communists, socialists and workers have become the targets of hate speech. Though some groups remained fixed all the time as targets of hate speech, some groups have conjecturally changed within the process. However, it is a fact that in many cases hate speech has led to hate crimes and brought about extremely traumatic social consequences; and it still retains this potential.

Hate speech discussions under the AKP (Justice and Development Party) rule have a number of distinctive features. First of all, one should note that hate speech became a more widely discussed concept and phenomenon in the media and academia especially in the early periods of the AKP rule. This may have something to do with the claim of the National Vision and Islamist tradition that “they were the essential targets of hate speech” in the Republican era, their discourse concerning termination of the “guardianship system” and the fact that the cadres including those of AKP were relatively targets of hate speech in the February 28 period. In addition, it is an undeniable fact that as many groups such as non-Muslims, Kurds, Alevis, women and LGBTİQ+s started to voice their identity demands more collectively, hate speech became an item on the agenda. The dates when non-governmental initiatives devoted to fighting hate speech and hate crime appeared to overlap exactly with this period. As a matter of course, it is not possible to say that these demands were not met with hate speech in both the pro-government press and in some parts of anti-government press in the early 2000s; however, no doubt, it is also a fact that the hate speech became a topic of discussion and began to treated as an important socio-political and even an academic “matter.”

The government’s authoritarian tendency peaked after 2011, which found its repercussions in the Turkish media; thus many social groups like the Gezi Park protesters, Alevis, women, Armenians and Syrians gradually became open targets for hate speech. With the termination of the “Resolution Process” as of 2015, the foregrounding of intemperance, opposition, polarization, conflict and war politics in Turkey as well as outside Turkey contributed to the rise of a climate conducive to hate speech and practices of hate speech became a commonplace as if the discussions in the 2000s had never taken place. The coup attempt in July 15 and the ensuing State of Emergency further solidified this climate, creating a resource for hate both as speech and crime as social phenomenon. A considerable segment of the media today is ingeniously resourceful in raising their loud voice based on hate to those groups targeted by the government. This is a practice that is available also in some of the dissident media outlets, which have a standoffish and even fundamentally different political perspective to that of the government.

In this context, though the present condition of the Turkish media is far from being promising, the increase in the number of studies, reports, dissertations and articles on hate speech, and social struggles for this cause is encouraging in the sense that an awareness could emerge in today’s atmosphere in which the social polarization is on the rise, new tension lines along which hate speech targets come to the surface and the media is caught between the pressure of the government and the capital. This study, despite the existence of discouraging examples therein, has been conducted with the consideration that the above-mentioned hope could be cherished; hoping that hate speech would be eradicated from the Turkish society.

REFERENCES

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Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers Recommendation on “hate speech” R (97) 20 (1997).

Çelik, E. (2013). “Nefret Söylemi İfade Özgürlüğünün Neresinde?” İnönü Üniversitesi Hukuk Fakültesi Dergisi, 4(2), s. 205-240.

Öztürk, E Ç. (2011) “Toplumsal Yapılar ve Şiddet: Ruanda Örneği”, Ankara Üniversitesi Afrika Çalışmaları Dergisi, 1(1), s. 67-114.

Değer, O. (2007). “AİHS’nin 10. Maddesi Çerçevesinde Şiddet Unsuru İçeren İfade: Güneydoğu Davalarından Örnekler”, AnkaraÜniversitesi Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi Dergisi, 62(1), s. 43-64.

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Karan, U. (2010). “Nefret Suçlarından Ne Anlıyoruz?” çev. Mehmet Ali Bahit, Nefret Suçları ve Nefret Söylemi içinde. İstanbul: Uluslararası Hrant Dink Vakfı Yayınları, s. 56-62.

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Yıldız, P ve Salmanoğlu E C. (2018). “AKP’nin 15 yıllık iktidarında medya ve toplumsal cinsiyet”, http://halagazeteciyiz.net/2018/07/16/medya-raporu-4-temmuz-2018-akpnin-15-yillik-iktidarinda-medya-ve-toplumsal-cinsiyet/

http://www.avlaremoz.com

http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/diger/63848/Ermeni_koken__davasi_Aritman_lehine_sonuclandi.html

http://www.diken.com.tr/afedersin-cok-daha-cirkin-seylerle-ermeni-diyen-oldu/

Türkiyedeki Suriyeli Sayısı Ağustos 2018

https://teyit.org/turkiyede-yasayan-suriyelilerle-ilgili-internette-yayilan-14-yanlis-bilgi/

Can Irmak Özinanır

He was graduated from Journalism Department of Ankara University Communication Faculty in 2006. The same year he started his master degree in the same department. He defended his master thesis titled “Anti-capitalist Movement and New Communication Technologies” in 2009. He started working as a research assistant in the same faculty in 2011 during his PhD studies. He was purged by Number 686 State of Emergency Decree in February 7th, 2017, since he signed the petition called “We will not be a party to this crime” by Academics for Peace. He is still writing his PhD theisis on media studies and hegemony.

Ozan Değer

While he received his undergraduate degree from the International Relations Department of Hacettepe University, Economic and Management Faculty, master and PhD degrees from the International Relations Department of Ankara University, Faculty of Political Sciences. He was purged from Ankara University, Faculty of Political Sciences in September 1st 2016 where he had been working since January 3rd, 2016. His main areas of interest is as following science of law, international public law, human rights law, international justice, political offenses and political philosophy. He is from Muş-Varto and still lives in Ankara.

  1. Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers Recommendation on “hate speech” R (97) 20 (1997).
  2. “Rwandan Genocide” is one of the most significant and dramatic examples of this issue. Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (Radio RTLM) spread hate speech against the Tutsis for days and called on for hate crimes which in the end increased participation in the genocide at a very serious level. The perpetrators stood trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and were convicted (Öztürk, 2011: 98).
  3. Hate crimes comprise two separate elements: i. They are criminal acts that constitute an offence under ordinary criminal law, ii. The criminal act is committed with a particular motive which is bias or prejudice (See. Hate Crime Laws – A Practical Guide, 2009).
  4. According to the ECtHR, “Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, one of the basic conditions for its progress and for the development of every man. Subject to paragraph 2 of Article 10 (art. 10-2), it is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favorably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population. Such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no ‘democratic society’” (Handyside v. the United Kingdom App No: 5493/72, (ECtHR 1976) para 49).
  5. http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/diger/63848/_Ermeni_koken__davasi_Aritman_lehine_sonuclandi_.html
  6. http://www.diken.com.tr/afedersin-cok-daha-cirkin-seylerle-ermeni-diyen-oldu/
  7. https://multeciler.org.tr/turkiyedeki-suriyeli-sayisi/
  8. For misinformation about Syrian refugees see: https://teyit.org/turkiyede-yasayan-suriyelilerle-ilgili-internette-yayilan-14-yanlis-bilgi/
  9. For a list of posts targeting the Jews in the social media see www.avlaremoz.com
  10. According to Ernesto Laclau, “Empty signifier is a signifier that simply does not have a signified…An empty signifier … can only emerge if there is a structural impossibility in signification, and if only this impossibility can signify itself as an interruption (subversion, distortion, etc.) of the structure of the sign” (Laclau, 2015: 95-98).
  11. Massive dismissals were executed at many universities, notably at Ankara University on February 7, 2017; however, the first dismissals targeting Academics for Peace started on September 1, 2016.