Propaganda and Media Manipulation in AKP’s Turkey
The Case of the “Gezi Resistance” and the Castigation of Free Speech
Keywords:media, propaganda, AKP, manipulation, Erdoğan
Ever since the beginning of its first term in 2002, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been influencing the media in order to curtail and circumvent independent journalism in Turkey. This repression on media freedom in the last fifteen years indicates democratic regression in Turkey. A free press is vital to any democracy, allowing for constructive public debate while also holding government accountable. Nonetheless, rather than establishing a secure and independent space for the press, the government has formed an environment that is contentious and even threatening for journalists to report opposing views. In addition, the unruly government proceedings toward news media have primarily been led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, now the President of Turkey, establishing an intimidating, powerful media autocracy. This article explores Turkey’s current state of declining freedoms of the press as the government has employed different strategies to suppress the media’s role in Turkey, including approaches of controlling media monopolies, alongside the incarceration, intimidation and dismissing of journalists. It also provides an illustration of the government’s media surveillance through different backgrounds and occasions, confirming not only its obstinacy of government criticism, but also its apprehension of the media’s power to induce anti-AKP sentiments.