THE COUP? DEPENDS ON WHO DOES: PERCEPTION OF WESTERN MEDIA ON COUP ATTEMPT OF JULY 15th 2016 IN TURKEY

Murat Önder, Hazan Güler

Abstract


The coup attempt of July 15th 2016 in Turkey was a disastrous experience for Turkish people and the democracy. A group of military forces, the members of terrorist organization (FETO), tried to seize the power in the country by overthrowing democratically elected government. With the leadership and call of president Erdoğan to the citizens to defend their country and democracy saved the nation from turmoil. The attempt caused 246 people to die and more than 2.000 people to injure; many administrative buildings to be damaged, and immeasurable negative impact on national economy yet strengthened national solidarity. The role of media was critical at this point and all Turkish media tools jointly condemned this anti-democratic act, supporting the democratically elected president and government. However, the attitude of western media was not the same in reporting these unexpected developments in the country and Turkey was left alone in her battle against this anti-democratic intervention. The early evaluation of the coup attempt of Turkey by the Western media implied how Westerns countries perceived the concept of democracy, when a democracy crisis arises out of Western world. In this study, at least two major papers from USA, England, Germany and France were chosen to reflect Western media and all newspaper news and opinions articles were evaluated. This study aims to analyse the perception of selected Western newspapers on the coup attempt of Turkey through all newspaper reports and opinion articles dating back to 16 July 2016. The reason behind selecting the day immediately after the attempt is to capture the early and real perception of the West towards Turkish democracy crisis. The contents of all newspaper articles (total of 100) taken from the Washing Post and the New York Times of USA, the Independent and the Guardian of Britain, Bild, Die Welt, Der Tagesspiegel, Der Spiegel, Berliner Zeitung of Germany and Le Figaro, Le Monde, Libération of France, as the most significant representatives of Western world are evaluated through a codification process. In this context, it is searched whether the articles have positive tone (supporting the values of democracy), negative tone (harshly criticising the regime and the rulers of the country), mixed touch (both reporting the course of events and depicting the present system as in turmoil already) or a neutral form (conveying the developments as they are, without any interpretation). The study seeks answers for the main question of, “How did the Western media react against the coup attempt in July 15th in Turkey?” And through content analysis and supporting with direct quotations from the reports and articles, the study seeks to find out also “what accounts for an early impression of the Western media on the day after the coup attempt?” Western view will be evaluated by applying to ethics for journalists, a democracy framework and universal declaration of human rights.

Keywords: Military intervention, Turkish coup attempt, democracy, Western media, ethnocentrism.


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