The Relationship between liberal intellectuals and power in the search for a new hegemony during AKP period in Turkey

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2012
Ersoy, Duygu
This study aims to contribute to the literature on the political role of intellectuals through examining the stance of a specific group with regard to power in the recent moment of Turkish political history. It is the concern of the thesis to identify the reasons behind the constant support of this specific group, namely, the liberal intellectuals to the political power under the AKP period. Depending on Gramsci‟s theory on intellectuals, it is claimed that this engagement is realized as a result of the fulfillment of the conditions attracting the intellectuals to the intellectual bloc. With regard to these two conditions of attraction, it is argued that the idea of “New Turkey” or “advanced democracy” led to a sense of distinction for these intellectuals as the “actors that are guiding the establishment of this new order” through “encouraging” AKP to challenge the status quo. Fulfilling the second condition of attraction, it is identified that this sense of distinction is confirmed through the novel situation that, in accordance with the transformation of the media sphere, these intellectuals started to maintain key positions in the media as the “public opinion leaders” of the new term. This sense of distinction served as a source of power for the liberal intellectuals and as a result when the governing party trivialized the existence of a “coalition” between itself and these intellectuals they tried to restore it through retreating from their former demands. In order to understand how it is possible to further this sense of distinction under these circumstances, the thesis focuses on three moments under AKP rule. The first one is the interval of 2002-2005 in which the relationship between liberal intellectuals and AKP is founded. The second term refers to the moment in which AKP denied the coalition between itself and these intellectuals while the last term corresponds to the attempts of the liberal intellectuals to restore this relationship in the year 2010. The thesis aims to identify, with the changing circumstances of this relationship, how liberals‟ presentations of the party in power and their self-assessments are constructed in a manner to further the mentioned sense of distinction.

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Citation Formats
D. Ersoy, “The Relationship between liberal intellectuals and power in the search for a new hegemony during AKP period in Turkey,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2012.