Author: Baris Kirdemir | EDAM Non-Resident Fellow
Turkey enjoys rising Internet and social media use. The nation’s digital media landscape has been rapidly emerging and evolving as online information sources increase in number. In tandem, conventional news outlets continue to decline, suggesting a drastic shift in the country’s information environment. The number of digital news sources has registered exponential growth since the last decade. Thus, Turkey remains highly vulnerable to political polarization, disinformation, and social manipulation campaigns in its digital realm.
This study revolves around actors, interests, and political dynamics that shape the Turkish digital media ecosystem. Digital news, disinformation, political polarization, the emergence and performance of alternative news sources, fact-checker organizations, and the overall implications of the ongoing digitalization for the journalism in Turkey remain at the epicenter of the research effort.
The first section sets the stage by briefly surveying the concepts of polarization, partisanship, how they relate to the policy effectiveness, and what has been discovered by others about Turkey’s digital news environment in connection with these phenomena. The second section introduces the overall power and ownership consolidation in the Turkish mainstream media, as well as the use, trust, and engagement metrics for the outlets which are active in the country’s digital news landscape. The final chapters present a tailored study of the Turkish information environment
during highly important political events. In particular, the analytical output will focus on the dynamics of polarization in online social networks.