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Social Media and Politics in Turkey: A
Mysterious Relationship
Duygu Basaran Sahin
The Graduate Center, CUNY
February 27, ...
Gezi Park Protests
From the protests Gezi Park
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 2
Photo credit: Osman Orsal/Reuters Source: sh...
Allude to CNN Turk’s Indifference
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015
3
Photo credit: C. Mehmet Kösemen
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Former
Primer Minister of Turkey
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 4
Source: http://www.tccb.gov.tr/
“Social media is the worst
menace to society”
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 5
Where is Soma located?
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 6
Soma Mine Disaster
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 7
Source: Reuters
Abdullah Gül, Former President
of Turkey
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 8
Source: http://www.abdullahgul.gen.tr/
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Leader of the
Opposition Party
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 9
Source: www.chp.org.tr
Research Questions
Question 1: To what extent political figures’
reactions on Social media match their reactions
in non-so...
Official Twitter Accounts
Leader of the Opposition Party Former President of Turkey
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 11
Official Twitter Accounts
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 12
Research Questions
Question 2: What can Facebook comments tell
us about the demographics of the
commentators?
Data & metho...
Abdullah Gül, Former President
of Turkey
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 14
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Leader of the
Opposition Party
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 15
CNN Turk
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 16
Anadolu Ajansı
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 17
Hürriyet
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 18
Most Frequently Used Word
The Former
President
Leader of
Opposition
Party
CNN Turk Anadolu
Ajansı
Hürriyet
about Turkey So...
Facebook Comments
AA
• Video on the mine
accident, its casualties
and arrests
• 33 unique comments
CNN Turk
• Video by a s...
Gender Distribution of
Commentators
Male
65%
Female
35%
Male
76%
Female
24%
CNN Turk AA
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 21
41%
41%
14%
4%
62%
21%
13%
4%
Turkey urban
Turkey rural
Europe
Other
Where CNN Turk
Respondents Say
They Live
Where AA
Res...
Visits to Soma
The Former President’s visit to
Soma
Opposition party leader’s visit to
Soma
Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 23
Thank you!
Comments/suggestions/corrections are welcome.
dbasaransahin@gradcenter.cuny.edu
@basaranduygu
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Duygu Basaran Sahin Social Media and Politics in Turkey: A Mysterious Relationship #digitalsociology

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This paper aims to assess the extent to which social media use of news agencies, political figures and ordinary citizens reflects recent political debates in Turkey. Inspired by Halpern and Gibbs’ study (2013), which analyzed comments posted on the White House’s YouTube Channel and Facebook page, I combine data from Twitter and Facebook to examine reactions expressed on social media concerning the worst mining accident in Turkey’s history. Using R’s twitteR package, I extract 250 tweets from news agencies and political figures and generate word clouds. I also estimate demographics of the news agencies’ audiences from a sample of 100 Facebook users who provide comments.

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Duygu Basaran Sahin Social Media and Politics in Turkey: A Mysterious Relationship #digitalsociology

  1. 1. Social Media and Politics in Turkey: A Mysterious Relationship Duygu Basaran Sahin The Graduate Center, CUNY February 27, 2015 #digitalsociology @basaranduygu
  2. 2. Gezi Park Protests From the protests Gezi Park Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 2 Photo credit: Osman Orsal/Reuters Source: showdiscontent.com
  3. 3. Allude to CNN Turk’s Indifference Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 3 Photo credit: C. Mehmet Kösemen
  4. 4. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Former Primer Minister of Turkey Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 4 Source: http://www.tccb.gov.tr/
  5. 5. “Social media is the worst menace to society” Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 5
  6. 6. Where is Soma located? Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 6
  7. 7. Soma Mine Disaster Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 7 Source: Reuters
  8. 8. Abdullah Gül, Former President of Turkey Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 8 Source: http://www.abdullahgul.gen.tr/
  9. 9. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Leader of the Opposition Party Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 9 Source: www.chp.org.tr
  10. 10. Research Questions Question 1: To what extent political figures’ reactions on Social media match their reactions in non-social/conventional media? Do news agencies with different political orientation react/behave differently on social media? Data & method: 250 tweets, R’s TwitteR package, word clouds Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 10
  11. 11. Official Twitter Accounts Leader of the Opposition Party Former President of Turkey Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 11
  12. 12. Official Twitter Accounts Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 12
  13. 13. Research Questions Question 2: What can Facebook comments tell us about the demographics of the commentators? Data & method: 90 Facebook comments posted to CNN Turk’s and AA’s official Facebook pages, descriptive statistics Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 13
  14. 14. Abdullah Gül, Former President of Turkey Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 14
  15. 15. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Leader of the Opposition Party Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 15
  16. 16. CNN Turk Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 16
  17. 17. Anadolu Ajansı Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 17
  18. 18. Hürriyet Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 18
  19. 19. Most Frequently Used Word The Former President Leader of Opposition Party CNN Turk Anadolu Ajansı Hürriyet about Turkey Soma AA Soma bicycle not In Soma Soma minute Rome today mine Yıldız last today let it be Erdogan minister custody Tim (Cook) CHP custody energy Istanbul Nice big about resources disaster @anadoluaja nsi Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 19
  20. 20. Facebook Comments AA • Video on the mine accident, its casualties and arrests • 33 unique comments CNN Turk • Video by a surviving coalminer talking about poor work conditions • 57 unique comments Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 20
  21. 21. Gender Distribution of Commentators Male 65% Female 35% Male 76% Female 24% CNN Turk AA Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 21
  22. 22. 41% 41% 14% 4% 62% 21% 13% 4% Turkey urban Turkey rural Europe Other Where CNN Turk Respondents Say They Live Where AA Respondents Say They Live Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 22
  23. 23. Visits to Soma The Former President’s visit to Soma Opposition party leader’s visit to Soma Duygu Basaran Sahin ESS 2015 23
  24. 24. Thank you! Comments/suggestions/corrections are welcome. dbasaransahin@gradcenter.cuny.edu @basaranduygu

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