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Talking Back to the West: How Turkey Uses Counter-Hegemony to Reshape the Global Communication Order


In the 2010s, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mobilized a global media system to counter international criticism of its authoritarian practices and to position the country as a rising great power. Bilge Yesil examines the AKP’s English-language communication apparatus, focusing on its objectives and outcomes, the idea-generating framework that undergirds it, and the implications of its activities. She also analyzes the decolonial and pan-Islamist message the AKP-backed outlets deploy to promote President Erdogan as the voice of oppressed Muslims around the world. As the AKP government wields this rhetoric to further its geopolitical and economic goals, its communication instruments pursue their own objectives by replacing facts with Muslim identity politics, cloaking populist commentary in humanist critique, and demonizing the West to aggrandize the East.



  • Bilge Yesil is an associate professor of Media Culture at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island, and affiliated faculty of Middle Eastern Studies at the Graduate Center. She is the author of Video Surveillance: Power and Privacy in Everyday Life, Media in New Turkey: The Origins of an Authoritarian Neoliberal State, and co-editor of the Handbook of Media and Culture in the Middle East. Please join us for the presentation. There will be a lunch provided.