Rising Ottoman Nostalgia in Turkish Popular Culture

An Analysis of Turkey’s Europeanization Process and Ottoman-Themed Soap Operas

  • Ceren Çetinkaya Central European University
Keywords: Cultural Hegemony, Europeanization, Identity, Nostalgia, Ottoman, Popular Culture, Turkey

Abstract

This article contributes to the study of the relationship between popular culture and politics by analysing the reversal of Turkey’s Europeanization process after 2010. It explores how domestic dynamics can change social perceptions into foreign policy positions. Therefore, this article examines domestic dimensions and the current Turkish government’s identity reconstruction process by considering popular culture as an important dynamic in the relations between the EU and Turkey. The current reconstruction process from a European to a neo-Ottoman identity of Turkey is analysed via Gramsci’s cultural hegemony concept to understand the changes in Turkish politicians’ discourses and popular culture products more efficiently. Two famous Ottoman-themed soap operas are compared in terms of their content and government’s attitudes towards them. Moreover, discourse analysis and critical visual analysis are used to examine the representations of Turkish and European identities in the soap operas.

Author Biography

Ceren Çetinkaya, Central European University

Ceren Çetinkaya, from Turkey, is a PhD student at the Doctoral School of Political Science Public Policy and International Relations at Central European University. She completed her BS in International Relations at Hacettepe University in 2017 and received her master’s degree at the Central European University, International Relations Department with her thesis entitled “Rising Neo-Ottomanism in Turkey: To be or not to be European; That is the Question”.  Her research interests are centred on Turkish Foreign Policy, identity, Europeanization and popular culture.

References

Akdemir, Erhan. 2018. “Türkiye’de Kamuoyunun AB’ye Bakışının Genel Seyri (1987-2017) [General Situation of Turkish Public’s EU Perception (1987-2017)].” In Hukuki, Siyasi Ve İktisadi Yönleriyle Avrupa Bütünleşmesinde Son Gelişmeler Ve Türkiye-Ab İlişkileri [Legal, Political and Economoc Aspects of Recent Developments in European Integration and Turkey EU Relations], edited by S. Baykal, S. Akgül Açıkmeşe, B. Akçay and Ç. Erhan, 381-405. Ankara: Ankara Üniversitesi Yayınları.

AlJazeera Turk. 2014. “Türk Dizilerini Rekoru [The Record of Turkish Series].” Last modified February 21, 2014. http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/al-jazeera-ozel/turk-dizilerinin-rekoru.

Alpan, Başak, and Thomas Diez. 2014. “The Devil is in the ‘Domestic’? European Integration Studies and The Limits of Europeanization In Turkey.” Journal of Balkan And Near Eastern Studies 16 (1): 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1080/19448953.2013.864180.

Arkan, Zeynep, and Müge Kınacıoğlu. 2016. “Enabling ‘Ambitious Activism’: Davutoğlu’s Vision of a New Foreign Policy Identity for Turkey.”Turkish Studies 17 (3): 381-405. https://doi.org/10.1080/14683849.2016.1185943.

Armstrong, William. 2017. “What A TV Series Tells Us About Erdogan’s Turkey”. New York Times., May 14, 2017. https://nytimes.com/2017/05/14/opinion/erdogan-tv-show-turkey.html.

Arslan, Rengin. 2012. “Muhteşem Yüzyıl, Erdoğan’ın Tepkisiyle Gündemde [The Magnificent Century is on the Agenda with the Reaction of Erdogan]”. BBC Türkçe, November 27, 2012. https://bbc.com/turkce/haberler/2012/11/121126_magnificient_century.

Aydın-Düzgit, Senem. 2017. “Foreign Policy and Identity Change: Analysing Perceptions of Europe Among Turkish Public.” Politics 38 (1): 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263395717729932.

BBC Türkçe. 2015. “Türkiye Dokuz Saat Uyuyor, Sosyalleşmek Için TV Seyrediyor [Turkey Sleeps 9 Hours In A Day And Watches TV To Socialize].” Last modified December 4, 2015. https://bbc.com/turkce/haberler/2015/12/151204_tuik_zaman_uyku.

Bleiker, Roland. 2015. “Pluralist Methods for Visual Global Politics.” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 43 (3): 872-890. https://doi.org/10.1177/0305829815583084.

Bleiker, Roland, and Constance Duncombe. 2015. “Popular Culture and Popular Identity.” In Popular Culture and World Politics Theories, Methods, Pedagogies, edited by Federica Caso and Caitlin Hamilton, 35-44. Bristol: E-International Relations Publishing.

CNN Türk. 2017. “Türkiye, TV İzlemede Dünya Birincisi [Turkey Ranks First at TV Watching in the World].” Last modified December 11, 2018. https://cnnturk.com/video/turkiye/turkiye-tv-izlemede-dunya-birincisi.

Cox, Robert. 1983. “Gramsci, Hegemony and International Relations: An Essay in Method.” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 12 (3): 162-175. https://doi.org/10.1177/03058298830120020701.

Daily Sabah. 2017. “Turkish History Themes Series Diriliş Ertuğrul Enjoyed in 60 Countries.” Last modified March 15, 2017. https://www.dailysabah.com/cinema/2017/03/15/turkish-history-themed-series-dirilis-ertugrul-enjoyed-in-60-countries.

Daily Sabah. 2018. “Turkish TV Series Exceed $350 Million In Exports.” Last modified January 4, 2018. https://www.dailysabah.com/business/2018/01/04/turkish-tv-series-exceed-350-million-in- exports.

Davutoğlu, Ahmet. 2001. Stratejik Derinlik [Strategic Depth]. İstanbul: Küre Yayınları.

Dizisi. 2019a. “Diriliş Ertuğrul Reytingleri, Reyting Sonuçları [Resurrection: Ertugrul: Rating Results].” Accessed August 30, 2019. https://www.dizisi.info.tr/dirilis-ertugrul/reytingleri/.

Dizisi. 2019b. “Muhteşem Yüzyıl Reytingleri, Reyting Sonuçları [Magnificent Century: Rating Results].” Accessed August 30, 2019. https://www.dizisi.info.tr/muhtesem-yuzyil/reytingleri/.

Ergin, Murat, and Yağmur Karakaya. 2017. “Between Neo-Ottomanism and Ottomania: Navigating State-led and Popular Cultural Representations of the Past.” New Perspectives on Turkey 56: 33-59. https://doi.org/10.1017/npt.2017.4.

Germain, Randall D, and Michael Kenny. 1998. “Engaging Gramsci: International Relations Theory and The New Gramscians.” Review of International Studies 24 (1): 3-21. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210598000035.

Gramsci, Antonio, Quentin Hoare, and Geoffrey Nowell-Smith. 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. New York: International Publishers.

Günay, Defne, and Kaan Renda. 2014. “Usages of Europe in Turkish Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East.” Journal of Balkan And Near Eastern Studies 16 (1): 47-67. https://doi.org/10.1080/19448953.2013.864183.

Hall, Stuart. 1982. “The Rediscovery Of ‘Ideology’: Return of The Repressed in Media Studies.” In Culture, Society and The Media, edited by Tony Bennett, James Curran, Michael Gurevitch and Janet Wollacott, 52-86. London: Routledge.

Hall, Stuart. 1987. “Gramsci And Us.” Marxism Today. 16-21.

Hobsbawm, Eric. 1983. “Introduction: Inventing Traditions.” In Invention of Tradition: 1-14. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hürriyet. 2019. “ABD’den Sonra En Fazla Dizi İhraç Eden Ülke Türkiye [Turkey Ranks the Second After after the USA in Soap Opera Exportation Rates].” Last modified November 11, 2019. https://www.hurriyet.com.tr/kelebek/keyif/abdden-sonra-en-fazla-dizi-ihrac-eden-ulke-turkiye-41372407.

IMDb. 2011. “Muhtesem Yüzyil.” Accessed September 23, 2020. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1848220/.

IMDb. 2014. “Dirilis: Ertugrul.” Accessed September 23, 2020. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4320258/.

İktisadi Kalkınma Vakfı (İKV). 2018. "Türkiye Kamuoyunda AB Desteği ve Avrupa Algisi 2017[The Perception of The EU and Support for The EU in Turkish Public Opinion].".In Türkiye Kamuoyunda AB Desteği ve Avrupa Algisi, Istanbul: İktisadi Kalkınma Vakfı Yayınları.

Langman, Lauren. 2011. “Identity, Hegemony and Social Reproduction.” Paper presented at the Social Theory Forum, University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Milliyet. 2011a. “Arınç'tan 'Muhteşem Yüzyıl' Çıkışı [The Magnificent Century Reaction from Arinc].” Last modified January 7, 2011. http://www.milliyet.com.tr/siyaset/arinctan-muhtesem-yuzyil-cikisi-1336199.

Milliyet. 2011b. “Harem Genelev Gibi [Harem is Presented like a Brothel].” Last modified January 6, 2011. http://www.milliyet.com.tr/cadde/harem-genelev-gibi-1335606.

Muhteşem Yüzyıl. 2014. “3. Bölüm [Episode 3].” Youtube, April 3, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF8PJqyOA54.

Neumann, Iver. 1999. Uses of The Other: The “East” in European Identity Formation. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Neumann, Iver, and Daniel Hexon. 2006. “Introduction: Harry Potter and The Study of World Politics.” In Harry Potter and International Relations, 1-23. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Neumann, Iver. 2011. “Discourse Analysis” In Qualitative Methods in International Relations: A Pluralist Guide, edited by Audie Klotz and Deepa Prakash, 61-77. Houndmills: Palgrave.

Rose, Gillian. 2001. Visual Methodologies. London: SAGE.

Saatçioğlu, Bige. 2014. “AKP’s ‘Europeanization’ in Civilianization, Rule of Law And Fundamental Freedoms: The Primacy Of Domestic Politics.” Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies 16 (1): 86–101. https://doi.org/10.1080/19448953.2013.864185.

Sabah. 2015. “Davutoğlu, Diriliş’in Setinde Demir Dövdü [Davutoğlu Forged at the set of Resurrection:Ertuğrul]." Last modified May 12, 2015. https://www.sabah.com.tr/kultur-sanat/2015/05/12/davutoglu-dirilisin-setinde-demir-dovdu.

Said, Edward. 1979. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books.

Shanghai Cooperation Cooperation (SCO). 2020. “About.” http://eng.sectsco.org/about_sco/.

Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). 2011. Türkiye’de Dış Politika Algısı [Foreign Policy Perception in Turkey]. İstanbul: TESEV Yayınları.

Tokyay, Menekşe. 2017. “Arab World Remains Biggest Market for Turkish TV Series.” Arab News, November 21, 2017. http://www.arabnews.com/node/1197036/media.

TRT Haber. 2017. “Diriliş’i 60 Ülke sSyrediyor [60 Countries Watch Resurrection: Ertuğrul].” Last modified March 14, 2017. https://www.trthaber.com/haber/kultur-sanat/dirilisi-60-ulke-seyrediyor-303756.html.

TRT İzle. 2019. “103. Bölüm [Episode 103].”. Youtube, January 30, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWcjpr7-u10.

Tüysüzoğlu, Göktürk. 2013. “Milenyum Sonrası Türk Dış Politikası: Yeni Osmanlıcılık Ve Türk AvrasyacılığıEkseninde İnşa Edilen Bir Pragmatizm [Turkish Foreign Policy After the Millennium: Pragmatism Constructed in The Context of Neo-Ottomanism And Turkish Euroasianism].” Alternatif Politika 5 (3): 295-323.

Tüzün, Selin and Aygun Sen. 2014. “The Past as a Spectacle: The Magnificent Century.” In Handbook of Research on the Impact of Culture and Society on the Entertainment Industry, edited by R. Gülay Öztürk, 182-202. Hershey: IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-4666-6190-5.

Yavuz, M. Hakan. 1998. “Turkish Identity and Foreign Policy in Flux: The Rise of Neo‐ Ottomanism.” Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies 7 (12): 19-41. https://doi.org/10.1080/10669929808720119.
Published
2020-09-30
How to Cite
Çetinkaya, C. (2020). Rising Ottoman Nostalgia in Turkish Popular Culture: An Analysis of Turkey’s Europeanization Process and Ottoman-Themed Soap Operas. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 46, 8-28. https://doi.org/10.22151/politikon.46.1
Section
Articles