CARGC Colloquium by Bilge Yesil

Media in New Turkey: The Origins of an Authoritarian Neoliberal State
27 Oct 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
3901 Walnut Street, Room 602


In July 2016, Turkey was shaken by a bloody coup attempt. Although the would-be putschists failed, their 
ill-fated insurgency led to an unprecedented reshuffling of Turkey’s political economic and military 
landscape. In an attempt to weed out the coup planners and their associates, President Erdogan and the 
AKP government (Justice and Development Party) embarked on a massive purge that resulted in 
dismissals and detentions of thousands of civil servants; closing down of schools, universities and media 
outlets; blocking of websites and social media accounts, and arrests of journalists. 
In this talk, I offer a political economic and historical analysis to argue that the current troubles with 
Turkey’s media system are not unusual developments that can simply be imputed to the post-coup 
conjuncture or the AKP’s 14-year and continuing rule. Based on my book Media in New Turkey: The 
Origins of an Authoritarian Neoliberal State
, I argue that Turkey’s media system has been beset by a 
centralized state authority and its national security paradigm, and untrammeled commercialization and 
clientelism since at least the 1980s. I analyze the tensions and negotiations between longstanding 
authoritarian state forms and Turkey’s experiences with globalization and neoliberalization in the post-
1980 era, and discuss its media system as a byproduct of the interpenetration of state and capital, and the 
convergence of domestic and global dynamics (e.g. military interventions, rise of political Islam, end of 
the Cold War, and recent geopolitical shifts in the Middle East). In addition, I also map the connections 
between Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan and Russia with respect to the development and regulation of their 
media systems in light of their experiences with modernization and globalization. 


Bilge Yesil is an Associate Professor of Media Culture at the City University of New York, College of 
Staten Island. She is the author of Video Surveillance: Power and Privacy in Everyday Life (2009). She 
has published in Cultural Studies, Media History, Global Media and Communication, Communication, 
; in edited collections and online forums. Her research focuses on Internet policy, 
mediated activism, Kurdish media in diaspora, and transnational political communication.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lunch and colloquium begin at noon. Space is limited, RSVP to

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