Turkish newspapers' role in winning votes and exasperating Turkish-Kurdish relations: The Agri shootings

Way L. C. S. , Kaya E. N.

DISCOURSE & COMMUNICATION, vol.10, no.1, pp.82-100, 2016 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/1750481315611241
  • Title of Journal : DISCOURSE & COMMUNICATION
  • Page Numbers: pp.82-100


Relations between Turkish authorities and their Kurdish minority have been a source of conflict for decades. On 11 April 2015, in the run-up to Turkey's parliamentary elections, a gunfight broke out in the south-eastern province of Agri, resulting in six Kurdish people being killed and four Turkish military personnel wounded. Although skirmishes like this are not unusual, this caught the public imagination as it became clear that Kurdish civilians had helped wounded Turkish soldiers after the shoot-out. The government denied such help and was keen to place the blame for the fight on the Kurdish opposition in its attempt to dissuade the public from voting for Kurdish-oriented parties, thereby increasing their chances of securing a parliamentary majority. The Kurds were keen to do the same to the government for the sake of votes, while the mainstream opposition saw this as an opportunity to represent the government and Kurds as poor voting options. The Turkish media, polarised and closely aligned to political interests, recontextualised events in ways which showed their political ties. This article uses critical discourse analysis to show how this was done in three national newspapers. Furthermore, the article argues that representations as such do nothing to aid in solving the decades-old problem of how Turks and Kurds can coexist peacefully.