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Rhetorical Activism in Politics: Stability Discourse and Pragmatic Practicality in Times of Crisis

Authors:
  • İstanbul EsenyurtUniversity
153
Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178
Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178 DOI: 10.26650/CONNECTIST2019-0022
Connectst: Istanbul Unversty Journal of Communcaton Scences
E-ISSN: 2636-8943
Aratırma Makales / Research Artcle
Rhetorical Activism in Politics: Stability
Discourse and Pragmatic Practicality in
Times of Crisis
Şermin TEKİNALP1, Seyra KESTEL2
1 Prof. Dr., Istanbul Esenyurt University,
Department of Public Relations and
Advertising, Istanbul, Turkey
2Res. Asst., Istanbul Esenyurt University,
Department of Public Relations and
Advertising, Istanbul, Turkey
ORCID: .T. 0000-0002-9874-6059;
S.K. 0000-0001-6105-8810
Sorumlu yazar/Corresponding author:
ermin Tekinalp,
İstanbul Esenyurt Üniversitesi, Halkla İlikiler
ve Tanıtım Bölümü, İstanbul, Türkiye
E-posta/E-mail: sermintekinalp@esenyurt.edu.tr
Geli tarihi/Received: 09.03.2019
Revizyon talebi/ Revision requested:
20.03.2019
Son revizyon teslimi/ Last revision
received: 10.05.2019
Kabul tarihi/Accepted: 29.05.2019
Atıf/Citation: Tekinalp, S., & Kestel, S. (2019).
Rhetorical activism in politics: Stability
discourse and pragmatic practicality in times
of crisis. Connectist: Istanbul University Journal
of Communication Sciences, 56, 153-178.
https://doi.org/10.26650/CONNECTIST2019-0022
ABSTRACT
This articl e aims to investigate how successfully the dich otomy between
stability and crisis is used as a medium of eec tive political activism and
power in a critical election. The main question of the article is how the
parties took advantage of the political climate in their political rhetoric
to activate the mental cognitions of the majority at a time when Turkey
was struggling with internal and external problems. In the framework
of the research question, it is analyzed whether the parties, which were
represented in the Turkish Parliament, utilized the dichotomy between
stability and crisis in the context of pragmatic practicality or were lost
obsessively in the normative, theoretically inductive long term ideals
such as democracy, human rights and gender equality. In this context
the term ‘rhetorical activism’ is associated to the term ‘pragmatic
practicality’. The principal objective of the article is to help increase
consciousness of how the political rhetoric of the ruling party AKP
(Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi/Justice and Development Party) comprising
the catchword “stability” contributed to the domination of the mental
cognitions of the electorates, and so increased its votes by 10% in ve
months in November 1, 2015 elections.
Keywords: Rhetorical activism, crisis, stability, pragmatic practicality,
idealism
Rhetorical Activism in Politics: Stability Discourse and Pragmatic Practicality in Times of Crisis
154 Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178
EXTENDED ABSTRACT
The principal objective of the article is to help increase consciousness how the
political rhetoric of the ruling party AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi/Justice and
Development Party) comprising the catchword “stability” contributed to the
domination of the mental cognitions of the electorates, and so increased its votes
by 10% in five months in November 1, 2015 elections. The article investigates
how the political parties made use of the political and social situation of the
country in their political rhetoric to activate the voters’ preferences. Drawing on
this aim, the article focuses on the contextual critical analysis of the propaganda
speeches of the four parties, (AKP/Justice and Development Party, CHP/
Republican People’s Party, MHP/Nationalist Movement Party, HDP/Peoples’
Democratic Party) given on October 31, 2015 on Turkish State Channel TRT1,
broadcast just one day before the November 1 general election. TRT1 was chosen,
because each party was allowed equal time to make their last propaganda
speeches (10 minutes) a day before, on the eve of the elections. The propaganda
speeches of each party is analyzed in the context of rhetorical activism, which
can closely be associated to pragmatic purposive practicality, reinforced mainly
by the theories of context Van Dick’s (2010, p.10), commonsense (Fairclough,
1989, p. 89) and Aristotle’s (1992) master rhetorical tools (pathos, logos) to project
how each party utilized these 10 minutes.
Propaganda speeches of four political parties are recorded and categorized to
investigate how parties conceptualized the political situation in Turkey, whether
they pursued pragmatic practicality in the contexts based on the present or in
the contexts of future-based idealistic goals. To analyze how parties
conceptualized the political and social issues to get public consent, four discourse
analysis tools of Gee (2011, pp. 150-184) are used. Situated Meaning Tool (SMT)
covers the analysis of the meanings behind words to capture the parties’ world
views and values, Figured World Tool (FWT) helped us to analyze how parties
refer to a picture of a simplified world view they take ideal, typical or normal and
the Big “D” Discourse Tool (BDDT) refers to how party spokespersons talk as
members of the party’s social and cultural background. The discourse topics to
be investigated were categorized under six headings. They are ‘stability’,
‘exhortation for voting, ‘inveigling the voters’, ‘promotion of the party’,
‘condemnation’, ‘woman issues.
Tekinalp, Ş., Kestel, S.
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Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178
Topics in political speech may influence what people see as the most important
information of text or talk (Duin & Grayes, 1988). We have found that topics, if
presented in the right time and setting with the right discourse materials (metaphor,
metonymy, myth, emotional linguistic references, practical reasoning) correspond to
the top levels of people’s mental models. In the context of rhetorical activism and
pragmatic practicality, we found that the AKP speaker tried to penetrate into the
cognitive framework of the conservative audience by concentrating on facts at hand
rather than long term idealistic goals and made the best use of the chaotic political
and social situation, in other words, infused into the electorates’ internal thought
processes through a powerful Turkey image to end the crisis All the other parties, in
the midst of increasing terror, spent more time on the constant criticisms of the AKP,
mostly on the lack of democracy, corruption, poor governance, women issues and
promotion of their party ideals. Drawing on Chilton’s (2014, p. 204) assumption
pointing out to the “fear of intruders and unknown people”, we can claim that fear
and rescue dichotomy stimulated automatically mental frames of the voters. We have
seen that the AKP categorized its political priorities over and the advantages of a
powerful Turkey ornamented with Islamic and nationalist myths. The use of stability
metaphor has different connotations in the party messages. We strongly claim that, if
controlled with an effective rhetoric, crises benefit a strong government in office and
further empower its status.
Rhetorical Activism in Politics: Stability Discourse and Pragmatic Practicality in Times of Crisis
156 Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178
INTRODUCTION
The AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Parts/Justce and Development Party), whch held a
majorty of seats for 16 years n Turkey, obtaned 258 seats n the Parlament wth 40.9%
of the votes n the June 7, 2015 electon. The result was a shock to the party as t lost ts
majorty so could not form a government. Only fve months later, on November 1, 2015
the electons were renewed resultng n vctory for the AKP who ncreased ts votes over
the June 7 electons by almost 10 % wth 317 seats. As for the poltcal stuaton n Turkey
before and durng the electon, four man ssues attracted publc opnon: Conflct
between Turkey and the PKK (Partya Karkerên Kurdstan) had been ongong snce 1984
and resulted n some 40,000-100,000 fataltes and great economc losses for Turkey as
well as sprtual and physcal damage to the Kurdsh populaton. The ‘Peace Process’ wth
the Kurdsh movement dd not generate a real confdence n publc opnon. Another
crucal problem area was the problems created by Gülen Movement (Hzmet) led by
Fethullah Gülen, who made severe attacks to overthrow the Government. The Syran
war was another hot topc especally by the opposton. Turksh government’s strategy
was “based on the assumpton that the USA and the West would put ther weght behnd
topplng the Assad regme n the fall of 2011, as n Lbya earler n the same year.” (Yetkn,
2016). Syran war affected negatvely the Turkey-Syra border securty, army expenses,
economy and toursm. Overwhelmng nflux of refugees nto Turkey durng the Syran
war had reached over 2.5 mllon by 2015. Ths made Turkey the host country wth the
largest refugee populaton n the world (Carpo & Wagner, 2015).
When AKP came nto power n 2002 by the support of relgous conservatve votes
n the man, the current polarzaton between the secularsts and Islamsts changed
ts drecton n favor of the relgous conservatves. The rse of the new conservatve
captalst new class has been nfluental n the transformaton and moderaton of the
AKP. Ths conservatve mddle class played an mportant role across Anatola n the
transformaton, globalzaton and moderaton of the AKP n the frst fve years.
However, poorly planned state and publc expendtures, overconfdence, nsstence
manly on soupng up relgous socetes, conservatve captalsts, clngng to
uncontrolled power, gnorng the needs and demands of the opposton and
mpovershed sectons of the socety led the country to economc and poltcal crss.
As the crss started to show ts vsble effects n publc, AKP adhered to a mythc
natonalstc dscourse promotng a sococogntve context for stablty and power
aganst real and magnary enemes nsde and outsde the country.
Tekinalp, Ş., Kestel, S.
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The artcle focuses on the contextual crtcal analyss of the propaganda speeches of
the four partes, (AKP/Justce and Development Party, CHP/Republcan People’s Party,
MHP/Natonalst Movement Party, HDP/Peoples’ Democratc Party) gven on October 31,
2015 on Turksh State Channel TRT1, broadcast just one day before the November 1
general electon. TRT1 was chosen, because each party was allowed equal tme to make
ther last propaganda speeches (10 mnutes) a day before, on the eve of the electons. It
s assumed that each party, gven such a lmted tme on the eve of a very crtcal electon
would concentrate on ther core poltcal messages n order to maxmze perceptons.
The propaganda speeches of each party s analyzed n the context of rhetorcal actvsm,
whch can closely be assocated to pragmatc purposve practcalty, renforced by the
theores of context, relevance, commonsense and Arstotle’s (1992) master rhetorcal
tools (pathos, logos) to project how each party utlzed these 10 mnutes.
Background Lterature
Crtcal sococogntve approaches to language use, dscourse and power,
dscourse and dscrmnaton, dscourse and deology and creatng common sense by
meda messages grew nto an nternatonal research methodology for crtcal studes
(Farclough, 1995, 2001; Fowler, 1991; Gamson, 1992; Gee, 2011; Smtherman & van
Djk, 1988; Van Djk, 1989, 2002, 2010; Wortham & Reyes, 2015). Crtcal Dscourse
Analyss (CDA) prmarly examnes ths control, domnance, abuse of power and
nequalty. Ths artcle nvestgates the dscourse structures of poltcal partes’
propaganda speeches, how they legtmate ther demands, reproduce or challenge
relatons of power and domnance, how they use dscourse as a tool of power,
authorty, oppresson, percepton management and persuason, how they are
dvded between dealsm and materalsm, n what meanng they use conceptual
nstruments such as metaphors and metonymes. To understand the sococogntve
structure of the dscourse we have to refer to certan theores and assumptons whch
wll contrbute to understandng how power and percepton management s
reproduced. Arstotles’ (1992) wdely dscussed rhetorcal tools, pathos and logos,
form the nterrelated elements of the persuasve arts. Pathos appeals to feelngs and
emotons such as exctement, fear, love, and patrotsm. Logos , whch appeals to
logc, means to convnce audence by use of reasonable explanatons. The AKP, for
example, focused ts poltcal campagn on a powerful one-party rule and stablty by
referrng to nsde and outsde dangers and created a mental frame that no other
party has the capacty to perform the demandng tasks for the country.
Rhetorical Activism in Politics: Stability Discourse and Pragmatic Practicality in Times of Crisis
158 Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178
Context model of Van Djk (2010) clams that poltcal stuaton affects speech. “It
s not socal stuaton that nfluences (or s nfluenced by) dscourse, but the way the
partcpants defne such a stuaton” (p. 10). Edelman’s (1977, p. 47) example attracts
attenton to how a contextual realty was dstorted by the poltcal rhetorc durng
Presdent Kennedy’s admnstraton on the threat of Sovet mssles. They dd not
show “the mantenance of Amercan mssles n Turkey, a few mles from the borders
of the Sovet Unon, as creatng a crss, but chose to defne Russan mssles n Cuba
as an ntolerable threat.” Drawng on the theoretcal concluson of Wasbord (2012,
pp. 438-440), we can put forth that the strength and effect of a speech cannot be
analyzed wthout readng the cultural and deologcal DNA of a naton and the
speaker. These assumptons smply ndcate that dscourse s shaped (or dstorted) for
power, economc and poltcal nterests n lne wth the expectatons of the naton.
Common Sense Theory assumes that “a domnant dscourse s subject of
naturalzaton” (Farclough, 1989, p. 89). Drawng on the theory, we can argue that
AKP’s poltcal agenda, whch were constructed on domestc and global enemes and
effectvely supported by the manlne meda, have created a common sense
consensus. The theory explans how power domnates sococogntve frames of
brans and s perceved as natural. Poltcans usually apply to common fears of people
such as enemes, terrorsts, chaos, economc collapse, underdevelopment,
unemployment, etc. As Chlton (2014, p. 204) ponts out “Fear of ntruders and
unknown people… mght have an nnate bass and be stmulated automatcally n
the poltcal use of language. In the analyss we also nvestgate how partes make
use of soco-economc fears.
AIM AND METHODOLOGY
Am
The artcle nvestgates the power of rhetorcal actvsm and ts means leadng
to success. By ‘pragmatc practcalty we mean concentraton on facts rather than
deals, meetng poltcal problems wth practcal solutons rather than deologcal
ones to secure practcal goals. In the study we hypothesze that among all other
reasons, pragmatc practcalty makng the best use of the poltcal stuaton (n our
case, crss) at hand nstead of long-term dealstc goals (n our sample, women’s
rghts) and canalzng electorates’ perceptons to stablty and securty played a
Tekinalp, Ş., Kestel, S.
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great role n the electon results. The lterature s reevaluated n the context of
poltcal actvsm, whch s a polcy of takng drect, and often mltant acton to
acheve a poltcal and socal end. Drawng from ths descrpton, we can put
pragmatc practcalty nto the category of most effectual means of rhetorcal
actvsm to acheve an end n poltcs. In broader terms, we can conceptualze
actvsm n two contexts: Rhetorcal (poltcal propaganda speeches, poltcal
debates) and operatonal (demonstratons, protests, strkes, etc.). Ths paper
analyzes the propaganda speeches of four poltcal partes broadcast n TRT on the
eve of the November 1, 2015 general electon to fnd out the tools of rhetorcal
actvsm n the context of pragmatc practcalty to affect the electorate.
Methodology
To analyze how partes conceptualzed the poltcal and socal ssues to get publc
consent, Crtcal Dscourse Analyss (CDA) s chosen as research technque, because t
deals wth socal problems, power relatons, poltcal ssues (Farclough & Wodak,
1997, pp. 271-280). Gee’s (2011, pp. 150-184) crtcal analyss tools are used to explore
the meanngs behnd the nuanced words/phrases of the party speakers. Stuated
Meanng Tool (SMT) covers the analyss of the meanngs behnd words to capture the
partes’ world vews and values, Fgured World Tool (FWT) helped us to analyze how
partes refer to a pcture of a smplfed world vew they take deal, typcal or normal
and the Bg “D” Dscourse Tool (BDDT) refers to how party spokespersons talk as
members of the party’s socal and cultural background.
Samplng and Categorzaton of the Dscourse Topcs
Propaganda speeches of the four poltcal partes broadcast n State Televson
Channel TRT1. These speeches are recorded and categorzed to nvestgate n whch
mental frame and how partes conceptualzed the poltcal stuaton n Turkey. Dd
they pursue pragmatc practcalty n the contexts based on the present or on the
future story or n the context of future-based dealstc goals?
The dscourse topcs were categorzed under sx headngs and the mnutes each
party allocated for each topc were calculated. The categorzaton nvolved ‘stablty’
(commtments for a stable and peaceful Turkey), ‘exhortaton for votng’ (encouragng
ctzens n the context of ther story to go to ballot box), ‘nveglng the electorate
Rhetorical Activism in Politics: Stability Discourse and Pragmatic Practicality in Times of Crisis
160 Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178
(prasng voters by appealng to relgous, tradtonal or deologcal codes n
salutatons), ‘promoton of the party’ (hghlghtng ther msson and commtments),
‘condemnaton’ (crtczng opposton partes or other natons n the context of ther
cogntve mental frames), ‘woman ssues’ (gender equalty, democracy, human rghts
n the context of dealstc goals).
FINDINGS
Data obtaned as a result of the crtcal dscourse analyss of the propaganda
speech of the AKP Prme Mnster, Ahmet Davutoğlu broadcast n State Televson
Channel TRT1 focusng manly on “stablty” and “power”:
Stablty for a Powerful Turkey (04.55 mns)
The Prme Mnster draws two very smplfed contradctory world pctures
between Turkey and conceptualzes a rgd dchotomy between fear of chaos and
stablty (FWT). He thus addresses to the emotonal centers of the electorates’ bran
(pathos) to share a common vew about what s harmful, good-evl, just-unjust and
pragmatcally attempts to ratonalze hs mythcal focal prorty by stuatng Turkey
(SWT) as an sland of stablty. Charters -Black (2014, p. 7) calls ths ‘epdectc’ oratory
orgnatng from Greek Word ‘show’ or ‘dsplay’. He pragmatcally renforces the
mportance of stablty by assocatng t to the story of democracy and development
(logos), because he expects that the audence already knows the cogntve framework
of hs hnts and reles on them to fll n the gaps and detals (relevance theory).
The metonymy of ‘one party rule’ corresponds to the peaceful Turkey under
AKP’s rule. The Prme Mnster makes a very smplfed practcal reasonng (FWT) by
usng two contradctory concepts (the stable versus the unstable) to emphasze
the dfference not only between the AKP and other partes, but also the Turkey
under AKP’s rule and all the other natons. In the context of logos (reasonng)
ncomplete syllogsm (enthymeme) s a classcal poltcal persuason method. Peace
s practcally assocated n broader sense wth pragmatc smple reasonng to
Quranc “halal and good votes” (lawful, permssble by God), whch s sutable to the
party’s deologcal background (BDDT) and that of the relgous electorates. By
relgous metaphors he actvates the unconscous and mythc emotonal responses
n electorates’ mental frames (pathos).
Tekinalp, Ş., Kestel, S.
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The Prme Mnster pragmatcally conceptualzes the fear of terrorsts by
relatng t to the ncrease of terrorsm after the results of 7 June electons, n whch
AKP had lost ts majorty n the Parlament (logos: enthymeme). Ths means that
AKP governance s a must to end terrorsm and voters’ fears. He therefore
emphaszes n broader terms the nevtablty of stablty to make democratc
reforms wth a very practcal reasonng (logos: enthymeme). “Menzl” metaphor,
whch denotes AKP’s background (BDDT) and covertly mples a Turkey
transformed nto an Islamc system (relevance theory), s an Arabc word meanng
n the above context ‘the last pont of the destnaton’. Assocated wth the “menzl”
metaphor, AKP qute frequently uses the ‘word’ and ‘road’ metaphors pontng to
ther holy msson to arouse the electorate’s feelngs n such a way to gan
sympathy (Arstotle’s pathos).
On the 2nd of November, what knd of Turkey do you want to see? Do you want an
unstable Turkey that looks to the future wth fear or a Turkey hopeful for the future
that promses democracy?... In many countres mllons of people are protestng
aganst ther governments n streets for unemployment…6 to 7 neghborng
countres are strugglng wth serous poltcal crss…Turkey has been an sland of
stablty and development for 13 years… Everybody should concentrate on just a
sngle thought. Look! We promse you stablty. We want a developed Turkey,
stablty s a must…Durng one party rule, the country has been more secure,
more peaceful and more developed…We promse you stablty. Other partes do
not promse you stablty. Why? Because they have no chance to come to power
by themselves. ‘İnallah’ (f God wshes) AKP wll come to power wth your ‘helal’
(halal) and good votes and, thus, Turkey wll experence another four stable
years…We promse you peace, securty and a democratc envronment n such
unstable tmes…Look! After the 7 June electon results, all the terror organzatons
(PKK, DHKP-C, ISID), started to attack, fancyng that Turkey wll fall nto a
management vod…We strved to take them down a notch day and nght…To
keep ths peaceful and secure envronment, we have to enhance democracy and
make poltcal reforms…We promse you a cvl consttuton…A poltcal
envronment totally democratc, cleaned out from coup context. To fulfll ths am
we need your support, your prayers and your votes…We have a message and a
road to walk on… Support us, empower us, pray and vote for us… Thus our road
wll take us to our target (menzl).
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Exhortaton For Votng (02.15 mns)
To ncte the electorate to vote, the pror concern of the speaker s securty and the use
of votes freely n terror areas. He attempts to appeal to the ordnary electorate’s cogntve
mental frames by smplfed practcal populst reasonng and over flatterng statements:
“No pressure and terror s more crucal than your free wll., “Your votes are all blessed and
valuable.” s an exaggerated pragmatsm bured n profound mythc cogntons.
Go to the ballot boxes confdently n peace…Use your votes wth your free wll n
accordance to your decson…No pressure and terror s more crucal than your free
wll… I especally want to address my ctzens n the South-East who would worry
about the securty of the electons n the regon. Never hestate to use your votes n
peace as before. No pressure or terror s more crucal than your free wll… (He
addresses the young and dsabled voters) Lke others your votes are all blessed and
valuable…Use your votes wth your free wll… (pathos, BDDT)
Inveglng the Electorate (00.56 mns)
The followng quotaton dsplays that the Prme Mnster talks as a member of hs
socal and cultural background through tme and hstory (BDDT) and provdes us
wth evdence wth AKP’s cultural and relgous background. The contradctory
termnologes of ‘hayır/er’ (good/evl) s Quranc and prevals mostly n Islamc
dscourses, n whch the word ‘hayır s preferred to secular substtute “y” (good); ‘er’
to ‘kötü’ (bad). The cogntve references to conventonal Islamc laudatory phrases
such as “szlern huzurundayım” (I am n your presence), “hayırlı günler” (good days),
reflects the hghly reverental conservatve and relgous profle of the party (pathos).
He salutes the audence wth ths reverental Islamc style of rhetorc.
Metaphorc or metonymc use of language reflects the cultural dentty of the
partcpants n a communcaton process (Chlton, 1985; Lakoff, 1993; Lakoff & Johnson,
1980; McGlone, 1996). As Lakoff (1993) argues, fguratve language s medated by
unconscous metaphorc correspondences that structure human concepts, or as stated
by Gbbs (1996, p. 309), metaphor “s a specfc mental mappng that nfluences a good
deal of how people thnk, reason, and magne n everyday lfe”. “It s through metaphor,
metonymy, and syntax that lngustc references evoke mythc cogntve structures n
people’s mnds” (Edelman, 1977). On the verson of ths vew, we clam that the Prme
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Mnster uses the language to arouse emotons (pathos) for pragmatc purpose. The
myth of grandfathers who shed ther blood for ths country s qute often used n Turksh
poltcal rhetorc. Metonymc evocaton of ‘sheddng blood’ for ths country covers a
larger structure of belefs: eht (martyr) who ded for ths country, natonalsm, enemes
of the country. ‘eht’ s the hghest honor accorded to the dead n Islam. If you have a
‘word to say’ and a ‘road to walk on the way of Islam and Allah evokes mythc nfluence
arousng feelngs. They smplfy ssues by establshng trust for the AKP that s walkng on
the way of Allah. “If you have a word to say (f you prefer AKP) and ‘a road to walk on’ (the
way we are drectng you), “you only rely on Allah and the naton.
…I wsh you good (“hayırlı”) days. I hope ths electon wll be “hayırlı” for our country, for
all humanty and for each of you. We all came nto your presence…Ths country s
yours…Your grandfathers shed blood and lost ther lves n the ndependence war.
Each of your chldren wll have rghts n ths country… None s superor to the other…If
you have a word to say and a road to walk on, you only rely on Allah and the naton…I
wsh ths electon wll be good (“hayırlı”) for our people, for our heart geography
(“gönül coğrafyası”) and for all humanty… I promse you “hayırlı” electon and a future
wth the prospect of a Turkey that we wll be proud of, “nallah” (f God wshes).
Promoton of the Party (01.33 mns)
In the followng quotaton ‘Great Turkey’ metonymy, whch s a substtuton of an
attrbute to great projects, reflects the socal and cultural background of the AKP (BDDT) as
well as the expectatons engraved nto the cogntve mental frames of ts supporters.
Development and greatness s assocated only wth tangble ostentatous constructon and
producton projects rather than formng and pursung deals lke human rghts, democracy,
gender equalty, etc. The Prme Mnster pursues pragmatc practcalty by referrng to a
pcture of a smplfed world vew, whch s stuated as deal by the party (SMT).
We promse you to prospect a great Turkey…A Turkey whch wll be n the greatest
ten n the global economy… A Turkey who s buldng the greatest arport n the
world…A Turkey that has bult three-storey tunnel under the Bosphorus … A Turkey
that wll buld Canal Istanbul…A Turkey that has bult ts own tanks…natonal
nstruments and weapons for defense …A Turkey developng wth totally natonal
producton… As Turkey grows, you wll get a bgger share from the welfare. We
observe the gap between the need and clam of wde sectons of the socety…
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Condemnaton
Null.
Woman Issues
Null.
Data obtaned as a result of the crtcal dscourse analyss of the propaganda
speech of the CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu broadcast n the State Televson
Channel TRT1 focusng manly on the “promoton” of the CHP:
Stablty for Honourable Future (00:10 mns)
The quotaton below ponts out the promse of the CHP Leader to the electorate a
‘peaceful’ and ‘honorable future’. He does not focus on the current events whch
destroy peace, but stuates a Turkey wth an honorable future (SMT). By the ‘honorable
future’ locuton, he alludes to the deals of democracy, respectable governance etc.,
whch can be acheved n the long-term process. CHP, founded n 1923, has been a
beacon for Turksh progressvsm, whch nvolved deep-rooted reformst deologes
(democracy, justce, equal dstrbuton of wealth, gender equalty, and reforms n
every area) rather than pragmatc practcaltes (BDDT). The speaker wants the
electorate to use ther votes for a Turkey the party s dreamng of. However vague, he
mples a more democratc Turkey, albet rather ambguously.
On 1 November we wll go to the ballot boxes. The key of a peaceful, honourable
future, of a happy Turkey s n our hands…There s only one month to construct the
Turkey we are dreamng of. I want you to gve us sole authorty to desgn the Turkey
we are dreamng of. Wth love and respect.
Exhortaton for Votng (00.15 mns)
The speaker wants the electorate to use ther votes for a Turkey the party s dreamng
of. However vague, he mples a more democratc Turkey, albet rather ambguously.
“There s only one month to construct the Turkey we are dreamng of. I want you to gve
us sole authorty to desgn the Turkey we are dreamng of. Wth love and respect.
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Inveglng the Electorate
Null.
Promoton of the Party (05.30mns)
There s no analogy, syllogsm, enthymeme (logos) and appeals to emotons
(pathos), postonng hmself wth relaton to the audence. So many dealstc
promses n one swoop encompassng drectly democracy and development to be
realzed n the long term, whch mght have sounded vacuous for an ordnary ctzen
n the mdst of terror actons.
…There s only one party to solve the problems of Turkey.... n the frst 100 days frst,
we wll pay one month extra wage every Ramadan and Kurban Bayram; second, we
wll ssue the famly nsurance law, thus every famly wll get at least 750 TL…we wll
ssue the Poltcal Ethc Law…(Economc ad commtments to ndvduals, students,
small and medum-szed enterprses, peasants)…Turkey wll be a developng
country competng wth the World... We wll restructure the educaton system…
State wll provde free lunch to all school chldren… We wll abolsh YOK (Hgher
Educaton Councl) and brng autonomy to unverstes. In CHP’s rule Turkey wll
mpress the World agenda wth great dscoveres not wth llegally bult palaces…
(reforms n meda an nternet) In ths country nobody wll be ‘reasonable gulty’,
everybody wll be a frst class ctzen…Under CHP rule there wll nether be streets
smellng of pepper gas, nether there wll be journalsts, wrters, scentsts prsoned
because of ther thoughts… We wll provde nternatonal standards for free
expresson of thoughts and freedom of nformaton…We wll provde socal peace
and end fght among brothers. Nobody wll feel the other as ‘the other’.
Condemnaton (03.56 mns)
The CHP Leader spends 3.56 mnutes crtczng the state Turksh Rado and Televson
(TRT ), the AKP and the lack of democracy n the country. He reads the law, gves the tme
allocated to the partes n the last 25 days and the money pad to the state channel TRT
from the pockets of the ctzens and condemns AKP. The state channel TRT receved
contnuous crtcsm from the opposton for servng AKP and not representng all other
partes. All these complants, whch s true and openly mples lack of meda freedom
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and democracy, mght have sounded vacuous and too deologcal for an ordnary ctzen
n the mdst of terror actons. The speaker focuses hs crtcsm on the AKP (as CHP
repeatedly does) mostly on the lack of democracy, corrupton and poor governance. We
assume that n the mdst of ncreasng terror actons, constant crtcsms of the AKP,
whch lacks emoton (pathos) and strkng persuasve appeals (logos) mght have had
vacuous mpact on the mental frames of the electorate.
…I am addressng you from the TRT screen…Ths TRT s broadcastng aganst the law
and s based promotng just one party’s nterests… I want a Turkey credtable n the
regon and the world, rch and powerful. I want a Turkey who wll not be dentfed wth
corruptons, prohbtons, terror, but wth democracy…(He refers to the gender equalty,
unemployment, dyng of young people durng protests, and wants a peaceful Turkey)…
A party, whch s the source of all these problems cannot solve the problems of Turkey.
Poltcs s not a place to make a lvng, t should not be done by buldng palaces and
watersde mansons for the Sultan, by formng meda pools. poltcs s for servng people.
Women Issue (00.01 mn)
I want a Turkey where gender equalty s ensured and our women could take part
n all areas of lfe.
The socal democratc party CHP, whch should be a keen advocate of gender
equalty descrbes the partys deology about women’s ssues n a sngle routnely
stereotyped sentence, whch mght have sounded unmarked and lost among many
other promses gven n one swoop.
Data obtaned as a result of crtcal dscourse analyss of the propaganda speech
of the HDP Spoke Person Pervn Buldan broadcast n the State Televson Channel
TRT1 focusng manly on “women ssue”:
Stablty for a Democratc Turkey (01.17mns)
‘1 November’ s used as the metonymy of a door leadng to a democratc Turkey,
where peoples of Turkey can lve wthn all ther dfferences on the bass of equal
ctzenshp. In the context of peace and democracy, the speaker’s man concern s on
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equalty of peoples and genders. Contrary to the AKP speaker who portrays a
powerful government to establsh securty, HDP speaker focuses on the deologcal
outcomes of a long term reformst restructurng, whch reflects the cultural and
poltcal msson of the party (BDDT). She stuates her dscourse on local democraces
as well natonal (SMT). In ths sense, stablty and securty can be establshed by
democratc reforms. We can label these demands under the label of ‘deal’ rather than
‘practcal’ and ‘pragmatc’.
7 June electon was a turnng pont, n whch our people sad “yes” to peace,
democracy and justce. HDP always advocated peace under every condton…we
organzed peace meetngs. Because democratc polcy s only possble n an
envronment, where people speak, not guns. We need real democracy and the
greatest peace for ths land together. You are not wthout alternatves. You are not
oblged to carry robbers, tyrants on your back… the only formula s democracy,
justce and peace. We are ready to take responsblty to provde an everlastng
peace, deep-rooted democracy, local democracy, gender equalty n every area,
socal rghts of the retred, securty n work and lfe condtons, protect ecologc lfe,
freedom for all the oppressed. 1 November can open a door for a democratc Turkey
where we can lve wthn all our dfferences on the bass of equal ctzenshp…Let us
open ths door together.
Exhortaton for Votng (00.20 mns)
She condemns war and encourages hs electorates to vote for restartng the
“peace process”, whch posts an deally stereotyped pcture for Turkey (democracy,
gender equalty, justce and peace).
Our people should respond to the Government (by ther votes) that s vgorously
fghtng. We beleve that these peace votes wll cause the peace process to restart.
You are not wthout alternatve…
Promoton of the Party (02.07 mns)
The speaker fgures an deally stereotyped democratc pcture for Turkey, whch
the party takes deal, typcal or normal (FWT).
Rhetorical Activism in Politics: Stability Discourse and Pragmatic Practicality in Times of Crisis
168 Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178
My beloved ctzens, The Government s tryng to oppress our lfe styles by conflct
polces, whch we won by 7 June electons…In that electon we had made a call for
a democratc Consttuton, lmtless speech, thought, meda, demonstraton
freedom… We had made a call for the autonomy of vllages, provnces, ctes…
dffuson of democracy nto the roots of the publc, self-management, pluralsm,
rghts for educaton n the natve languages of all peoples, freedom to all belefs,
elmnaton of a sngle man rule and assmlaton… We had a call for secure lfe
styles, electrcty, water, housng, educaton and health servces free of charge…
makng the lves of our dsabled ctzens able…agrcultural reform, for the workers.
Inveglng the Electorate (00.15 mns)
Startng the propaganda speech wth the natve language of the Kurds s n tself a
temptaton to draw Kurdsh votes, whch also gves an ndrect hnt for the Party’s
core deologcal prortes n Turkey. They demand educaton of the Kurdsh publc n
ther natve language, local democracy, autonomy or separaton.
Gelen me yên b rûmet û hevalên hêja ez we hemûyan dgel rêz û hezkrnên xwe b
dl can slav dkm. / My beloved people, my beloved frends I greet you all wth my
most sncere feelngs, respect and love.
Condemnaton (01.47 mns)
The “Palace” metonymy (Presdent Erdoğan) s the central focus of accusaton for the ban
of ‘peace process’ actvtes, all the accusatons projected drectly or mplctly are long term
deals of the Party. In other words, the party s manly concentrated on the problems of Kurdsh
populaton and mples self-rule, democracy, pluralsm and recognton of ther denttes.
…We destroyed the antdemocratc dctatoral 10% threshold (and won 80 seats n the
Parlament)…The Palace (The presdent Erdoğan) and the Government could not
tolerate ths result, spent all ther energy to extermnate HDP by endng the ‘peace
process’ and declared war (aganst Kurds)…Why dd the ‘peace process’ end?... Our
Mayors were detaned. How wll ths fght end? How wll we return to the ‘peace table’
before the November 1 electon, Erdoğan had ended the ‘peace process’ under the
pretext that there s no Kurdsh problem. Now they put the ‘peace process’ nto the
refrgerator to brng back the sngle government rule by fghts and volence…
Tekinalp, Ş., Kestel, S.
169
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Women Issue (04.06 mns)
HDP projects a perspectve of buldng a democratc naton where gender
dfferences coexst upon free wll on the bass of equalty. Gender equalty s the
core prorty of the party (BDDT) as t denotes to more democracy. I strongly
clam that the party carres out ts poltcal work for the future of the Kurds on
poltcal and gender freedom paradgm. We cannot evaluate these commtments
n the context of pragmatc practcalty, whch smply refers to practcally
pragmatc solutons for the current problems. They are hghly dealzed,
magnary pcture of advanced democracy. They appeal to reason rather than
emotons (logos).
…Women coalesced n HDP and ganed seats n the Parlament. We make a call
for the removal of all knds of volence to women, equal gender rghts to be the
bass of women’s freedom and foundaton of a Mnstry of Woman… AKP
governance manfested tself on us women as death, sexual and physcal
volence. War means for women expatraton, poverty, not gettng educaton,
unemployment and empowerment…War means for us…the murder of Dlek
Doğan by a polce bullet… all the women we lost n the Ankara Peace Meetng…
We women want our ssters and brothers, our beloved ones to grow up, not to
be vctms of a flthy war…We know that wthout women peace wll not come
and a more just and ndependent lfe wll not be establshed… HDP s the only
party that reflects the women’s wll for peace…Dear women, AKP wll take ts
place n hstory not only wth ts war polces but wth ts hostlty aganst
women…Durng AKP rule female murders ncreased 1400 percent.. Ths party
does not beleve n female and male equalty. A government, whch announces
that ‘A woman who s raped should gve brth to the chld, the state wll
undertake care of the chld’, ‘women volence s exaggerated’ cannot protect the
lves of women…Let us come hand n hand and walk aganst women’s enemes,
dark mentalty for the freedom of women, for a greater humanty and a greater
peace. Come, let us buld a Turkey n whch we wll make a clam for our bodes,
denttes and a peaceful lfe.
Data obtaned as a result of crtcal dscourse analyss of the propaganda speech
of the MHP Spoke Person Semh Yalçın broadcast n the State Televson Channel TRT1
focusng manly on the “promoton” of the MHP.
Rhetorical Activism in Politics: Stability Discourse and Pragmatic Practicality in Times of Crisis
170 Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178
Stablty for Securty (00.49 mns)
MHP’s call for stablty s contextually symbolc, commonplace and ungrounded.
MHP mplctly reflects the party’s stern and uncompromsng msson about terrorsm
and corrupton (BDDT), but ther rhetorc are not compatble wth logc. It does not
have a strong persuasve appeal.
We shall establsh peace and securty permanently everywhere n Turkey… My
beloved ctzens, 1 November 2015 electon s mportant for the future of Turkey.
You wll decde whether our country wll be splt up; whether terror, brbery,
corrupton, day to day survval worres wll stop…Vote for stoppng conflct, fghtng
and confrontatons.
Exhortaton for Votng (00.23 mns)
MHP s a natonalstc, pan-Turkst rght wng party focusng on Turksh dentty as
well as Islam. Although the language of the party’s poltcal dscourses reflects ths n
the most extreme tone, t s lackng mythc persuasve appeals. The speaker just puts
a counter-poston.
Vote for MHP. We expect that your votes wll mantan our 1000 years old
brotherhood. Vote for peace, for your future. I wsh Allah wll brng peace, comfort
and joy to Turkey.
Promoton of the Party (05.13 mns)
The Party gves so many promses at one swoop, whch mght have sounded so
much n the ar for an ordnary ctzen n the mdst of chaos. However, we can evaluate
the electon promses from the pont of party deology.
My dear ctzens, MHP s watng for you to gve us a msson to solve the
problems of Turkey and to make Turkey a respectable, esteemed and developed
country wth great projects… From ths perspectve, MHP s the only party that wll
end terror…If you authorze us, we wll make economc reforms n seven dfferent
areas…struggle aganst poverty, make reforms n taxng, labor force and agrculture.
We wll pay 2800 TL every year to the retred…We wll ncrease the mnmum wage
Tekinalp, Ş., Kestel, S.
171
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and exempt t from tax and gve 100 TL transportaton support to those who are
lvng n bg ctes on mnmum wage. We wll provde employment for 700000
unemployed youth. …We wll erase all the health nsurance debts of the
unemployed youth…To end terror and restore peace we wll employ 60000
personnel. We wll ban unversty entrance exams… We wll actvate a system to
canalze mddle school graduates to hgher educaton accordng to ther talents…
We wll reconstruct The Drectorate of Relgon Affars so as to nclude Alevte…
Inveglng the Electorate
Null.
Condemnaton (02.35 mns)
There s no analogy, syllogsm, enthymeme (logos) and appeals to emotons
(pathos), MHP’s crtcsm s on the deteroratng economy, manly on the ‘peace
process’ and the PKK terror. He calls the “Peace Process” as the “Betrayal Process”,
because the process betrayed Turksh dentty and unty. Ideologcal dfferences
among MHP, CHP and HDP manfest tself n ther speeches. CHP and HDP focus on
democracy whlst the MHP focuses on ethnc/racal dentty and do not evaluate the
deteroratng stuaton n the context of democracy, but n terms of lack of
determnaton to take necessary precautons aganst terrorsts.
…We have all seen that ‘Peace Process’ dd not brng peace and democracy, but
polarzaton and dvson. PKK started a bloody war, when they understood they
could not realze ther projects. However, people’s common sense dd not allow
nether a cvl war nor polarzaton… ‘Peace Process’ made Turkey open to terror
and made defenseless…In spte of repeated warnngs, the Government dd not
take the necessary precautons… The death of our 102 ctzens n Ankara s the
result of ths dark process…Those subcontractors, who turned Turkey nto a terror
hell, are stll hdng behnd the slogans such as democracy, peace, and freedom.
We wll erase the roots of all knds of terror…We see the ‘Peace Process’ as a
‘Betrayal Process’ … The Party rulng the country for 13 years carred Turkey nto
darkness… For the last 10 years economc and employment equlbrum has
deterorated. Dstrbuton of wealth s not just…There s an unemployed crowd of
unversty graduates.
Rhetorical Activism in Politics: Stability Discourse and Pragmatic Practicality in Times of Crisis
172 Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178
Women Issue (00.42 mns)
Though shortly, t s the second party after HDP to refer to women’s rghts.
Contextually we can explan ths from the pont of ts pan-Turkst mental cogntons,
because n ancent Turks women were equal to the men n famly, they would work
and fght wth men together. In ancent Turks Han means emperor. There s a well-
known story about the Mongolan emperor Cengz Han. In meetngs he used to
address people as “I am your ‘Han’, then pontng to hs wfe sttng next to hm, “and
ths s ‘my Han’” (Hanım). ‘Hanım’ means today lady, wfe. However, the rhetorc on
women’s rghts does compromse a reformst deology, but some commonplace
wshes for women’s rghts..
We gve promnence to the polces that wll heghten woman’s status and
strengthen famly nsttuton… We wll ncrease the number of women employed…
we wll support woman entrepreneurs by fnancal ad, 50% of t free… We wll fght
aganst gender nequalty and volence aganst women…provde chld-brth
facltes for them.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
In the context of pragmatc practcalty, we found that the AKP speaker tred to
penetrate nto the cogntve framework of the conservatve audence by
concentratng on facts at hand rather than long term dealstc goals. He reflected a
hghly reverental, powerful, conservatve and relgous profle.
All the other partes, n the mdst of ncreasng terror, spent more tme on the
constant crtcsms of the AKP, mostly on the lack of democracy, corrupton, poor
governance and promoton of ther party deals. We found out that AKP dd ts best to
beneft from the stuaton to persuade people by usng the dchotomy between crss
and stablty effectvely. Opposton partes who wanted to beneft from the deterorated
stuaton n the country conventonally crtczed the rulng party and, as they routnely
dd, were suffocated n superfluous crtcsm and dealstc promses n one swoop, whch
mght have sounded vacuous for an ordnary ctzen n the mdst of terror actons.
In the study we hypotheszed that the party, whch made the best use of the
chaotc poltcal and socal stuaton, n other words, nfused nto the electorates’
Tekinalp, Ş., Kestel, S.
173
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nternal thought processes through a powerful Turkey mage to end the crss. In ths
contextual doman, we placed all the poltcal maneuvers dealng wth problems at
hand nto the contextual dscourse doman of “pragmatc practcalty”. Conversely, n
the broader context of ‘the deal’ we chose women’s rghts and examned to what
extent each party devoted tme to the most crucal democratc challenge (gender
nequalty and abuse of women) n Turkey. We chose women’s rghts, because women
n Turkey cope wth problems such as gender dscrmnaton n educaton and
workplace, volence (domestc, physcal, sexual and verbal), nadequate
representaton n decson makng postons, whch are among Turkey’s most
wdespread human rghts volatons (Türkye İstatstk Kurumu/Turksh Statstcal
Insttute, 2016). We found that only HDP dedcated comparatvely consderable tme
to women’s rghts.
Topcs n poltcal speech may nfluence what people see as the most mportant
nformaton of text or talk (Dun & Grayes, 1988). Topcs, f presented n the rght tme
and settng wth the rght dscourse materals (metaphor, metonymy, myth, emotonal
lngustc references, practcal reasonng) correspond to the top levels of people’s
mental models. In ths context, drawng on Chlton’s (2014, p. 204) assumpton
pontng out to the “fear of ntruders and unknown people”, we can clam that fear
and rescue dchotomy stmulated automatcally mental frames of the voters and the
poltcal use of language of the AKP. The AKP categorzed ts poltcal prortes over
and the advantages of a powerful rule ornamented wth Islamc and natonalst
myths. The use of stablty metaphor has dfferent connotatons n the party
messages. We strongly clam that, f controlled wth an effectve rhetorc, crses
beneft a strong government n offce and further empower ts status (Arstotles,
1992). We have also to pont out to the propaganda performance of the AKP durng
the poltcal campagn. Based on Van Djk’s (2010, p.10) hypothess on context: “It s
not socal stuaton that nfluences (or s nfluenced by) dscourse, but the way the
partcpants defne such a stuaton”, we can clam that AKP made the best use of the
stuaton n evaluatng t n ther own context.
We can summarze three robust fndngs n the study closely related to the AKP’s
rhetorcal actvsm, whch comprses pragmatc practcal goals versus dealst goals.
The AKP 1) pragmatcally renforced the mportance of stablty by assocatng t to
the fear of enemes and crss n the country by creatng a strong dchotomy between
them. 2) Framed ts messages between two smplfed contradctory dchotomes:
Rhetorical Activism in Politics: Stability Discourse and Pragmatic Practicality in Times of Crisis
174 Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178
Turkey as an sland of stablty versus the world n poltcal turmol. 3) Pragmatcally
nvgorated conservatve, relgous and natonalstc electorate to vote for the AKP by
flatterng them and ther votes wth mythc and relgous termnology, thus actvatng
the emotonal responses n electorate’s mental cogntons. On the other hand, other
partes ether focused prmarly on more democratc and honorable Turkey or on
natonalstc deals by crtczng the government and promotng ther partes n the
context of ther deals.
Grant Support: The author receved no fnancal support for ths work.
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Rhetorical Activism in Politics: Stability Discourse and Pragmatic Practicality in Times of Crisis
176 Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178
TABLES AND FIGURES
Table 1: Tme Devoted to Each Topc of AKP
Table 2: Tme Devoted to Each Topc of CHP
Tekinalp, Ş., Kestel, S.
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Table 3: Tme Devoted to Each Topc of HDP
Table 4: Tme Devoted to Each Topc of MHP
Rhetorical Activism in Politics: Stability Discourse and Pragmatic Practicality in Times of Crisis
178 Connectist: Istanbul University Journal of Communication Sciences, 2019, 56: 153-178
Table 5: Messages n the Context of Pragmatc Practcalty
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