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Portrayals of Climate Change and Drought in the Politically Oriented Turkish Press: Socialist, Islamist, and Nationalist Accounts of Extreme Weather in 2007 and 2014

Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)

Abstract

Although the basic link between the global climate and local weather conditions is obvious, the extent to which anthropogenic pressures on the climate system produce a particular extreme weather event is a complex and contentious matter. This highlights the framing and sense making processes that are involved in communicating extreme weather events. This study takes the case of the 2007 and 2014 droughts in Turkey to examine the press portrayals of, and connections drawn between, global warming and drought. The analysis focuses on newspapers paralleling political parties and ideologies—socialist, islamist, nationalist—and examine a corpus of articles from 6 dailies (N = 285). Both quantitative and qualitative findings point out considerable differences between 2007 and 2014 in how global warming features in the Turkish media. The study also suggests that political ideology has a significant bearing upon the reporting of drought and its connection to global warming. The paper briefly discusses the three core findings concerning the differences (1) between the reporting context of 2007 and 2014, (2) among the coverage of socialist, islamist, nationalist newspapers, and (3) in making attribution links between drought and global warming in newspapers of different ideological orientation.

Keywords

  • Global warming
  • Drought
  • Extreme weather event attribution
  • Water scarcity
  • Ideologically oriented press

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Notes

  1. 1.

    To match the vocabulary of the press articles examined in this chapter, I prefer to use the term global warming, especially to refer to the geophysical phenomenon. The use of the term climate change will thus be limited to the contexts of international diplomacy and policy.

  2. 2.

    The rationale in this decision was to avoid heat-relevant—combined—coverage and probe into the reporting of winter-droughts, as mentioned in section Droughts in Turkey.

  3. 3.

    Although none of the papers are party organs—i.e., they are independent as organizations—they are well-known to portray the figures and voices of certain marginal political parties and leaders that do not as saliently and dominantly appear in other—commercial—media organs. Such political parallelism does not concern only the newspapers in our focus, it is a historical characteristic of Turkish media (Kaya and Çakmur 2010).

  4. 4.

    In the first week of February 2014 Birgün and Evrensel (socialist) sold on average about 12.000 and 6.500 respectively, Milli Gazete and Yeni Akit (islamist) about 25.000 and 30.000, and Yeniçağ and Ortadoğu (nationalist) about 50.000 and 7.700.

  5. 5.

    The newspaper has changed its name from Vakit to Yeni Akit in 2010. The apparent shift in positioning vis-à-vis the government mentioned above could be related to a shift in editorial policy associated with the change of newspaper's name.

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Üzelgün, M.A. (2022). Portrayals of Climate Change and Drought in the Politically Oriented Turkish Press: Socialist, Islamist, and Nationalist Accounts of Extreme Weather in 2007 and 2014. In: Leal Filho, W., Manolas, E. (eds) Climate Change in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Region. Climate Change Management. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-78566-6_8

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