Polarization in Turkey has reached such heights in recent years that civility in public discourse has diminished, along with prospects for an inclusive democratic debate. The status quo creates vulnerabilities in the face of false information circulating in the digital space. It entrenches divisions along party lines to the extent that citizens find it increasingly difficult to engage in a fact-based national conversation around policy issues. This paper explores how polarization affects the country’s information environment, and what role traditional and new media tools play in shaping the national discussion. It hopes to provide perspectives about possible social and political consequences of a vulnerable information environment, and how strengthening the practices of fact-based, empathetic journalism could help alleviate divisions and contribute to the restoration of civil debate in Turkey.
The paper builds on research presented in previous EDAM papers tackling disinformation and polarization. It aims to offer perspectives for decision-makers, Turkey observers, and thought leaders in technology, media, and politics.