THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF MEDIA AND POLITICS
The relationship between media and politics can be considered as one of the most debatable topic in political science literature. In this study, this relationship will be covered under several models and approaches to describe the relationship in various aspects of understandings. In the first place, the role of media in politics will be discussed and indicated with the help of literature review of media and politics. Therefore, the foundation will be ready to go deeper discussion regarding media and politics relationship.
General understandings of models will provide a ground to put them in a separate way, in foreign policy. Major assumptions of models will be examined in the foreign policy part. To observe the role of media more specifically, Turkey will be the case in following part. The historical development of Turkish press, political environment of Turkey and its effects on media, also the effect of media on Turkish political environment will be discussed. This study will constitute the theoretical framework of media and politics.
ROLE OF MEDIA IN POLITICS
The relationship between media and politics has always been one of the critical areas of discussion. The need of political actors for public support and the media’s desire to influence society have made the media an important and indispensable force for rulers. The term “media” has been derived from the Latin word “medi” which means “in the middle.” In this respect, media can be considered as the mediator between two aspects of the society. Media is used as a general concept but also as a structure expressing mass media.
“The “mass” character of the mass media is derived from the fact that the media channel communication is a large and differentiated audience using relatively advanced technology. Grammatically and politically, the mass media are plural. Different messages may be put out by the “broadcast” media (television and radio) and the “printed” media (newspapers and magazines)” (Heywood, 2007: 232).
The mission of the mass media is to communicate and give information to individuals, groups, communities and masses in written, visual and interactive manner. Heywood also underlines the mass role of the media through new technologic developments and internet in particular (Heywood, 2007: 231-237).
Media is the shortest and most effective way to influence society. Every community that wants to direct the dynamics of society finds the media. Political actors constitute one of these communities. Direct or indirect power relations are observed in this area. Governments often have a tendency to relate to the media. Political actors may be found in some legal or illegal practices for the press. Those who hold the power of media can also use media organizations for these purposes in order to benefit from their unlimited opportunities. “In authoritarian governments, the nature of news and the media is carefully regulated by the government” (Orum and Dale, 2009: 273). As in the China example, governments can control the mass media in order to sustain their political stability (Orum and Dale: 2009). Media, in every stage of social and political continuation, seek a channel to achieve the ideas and opinions of individuals. The communication between the individuals creates the cement and structure of what we have called “politics”. In this respect, the mass media not only create the channel for this communication, but also participate and affect the political process (Heywood, 2007: 231-232).
“Watchdog” role of mass media as, in a sense, is a subset of the political debate argument. The role of the media, from this perspective, is to ensure that public accountability takes place, by scrutinizing the activities of government and exposing abuses of power. The mass media promotes democracy by widening the distribution of power and influence in society” (Heywood, 2007: 236).
The importance of the media for society is a long-accepted reality. With the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, the role of printed materials in the dissemination of new scientific, political and religious ideas has for the first time led to an understanding of the importance of communication policies (Arslan, 2007; Bekci, 2013: 4). Especially in the 19th and 20th centuries, newspapers have become very important tools for trade and industry as well as for political parties and governments. (Cuilenburg, 2010: 101; Bekci, 2013: 4). “At the beginning of 20th century, the influence of the media on foreign policy continued to increase with the invention of the radio” (Bekci, 2013: 4).
“The news media played an active role in many events in the 21st century. The active role of Pravada Newspaper in the organization and struggle of workers in the Bolshevik revolution is expressed by many researchers. The United States has used the media quite effectively when it propagated its legitimacy in the wars it experienced. In World War II, Adolf Hitler established the “Ministry of Propaganda” in order to canalize society into war and legitimize its policies and used the media in a strong way” (Temel, 2014: 7).
It can be said that the media having missions such as organizing the information flows of the societies, acting as a bridge between the policy-makers and the people, transmitting the political developments, educating the society and raising awareness have a very important place in social life (Karadoğan, 1996: 54; Bekci, 2013: 7). It has been determined that the media, which were sometimes defined as the “fourth power”, play a key role in democracies, and that individuals increase their awareness of each other and their surroundings (Haas, 2009: 77; Bekci, 2013: 6). In any area of activity in society, the relationship between politics, for example, art, pressure groups, trade unions, and so on, is not as complex as the relationship between media and politics (Arslan, 2007: 51; Özdemir, 2013: 61).
Some sources argue that the distinction between media and politics in parliamentary democracies is completely out of the question (Alver, 1998: 39; Bekci, 2013: 7). This situation also reveals the concept of “mediocracy” which has been used quite often recently (Alver, 1998: 39; Bekci, 2013: 7). This concept, which emphasizes that there is no border between the political system and the media, also highlights the intense relationship between political actors and media actors (journalists, reporters, etc.) in democracies (Alver, 1998: 47; Bekci, 2013: 7). It is an undeniable fact that the individuals providing the media and media publications are directly related to politics and politicians (Bayram, 2011: 69; Bekci, 2013: 8). In this relation, Kırlı emphasizes media’s role of generation of public opinion of society (Kırlı, 2004: 20-25). “Tools that help to determine the public opinion, help to form and develop the public at the same time. The media has an impact on the formation and direction of public opinion through the interpretation and evaluation of events” (Kapani, 1970: 241; Kırlı, 2004: 21).
Some of scholars have paid attention on the power relations between the media and political actors.
“While the media put pressure on other power actors, they can submit to the pressures of these actors at the same time. “Manufacturing Consent” and “CNN Effect” are leading theories explaining the complex relationship between media and other power systems” (Temel, 2014: 8).
Moreover, Agenda-Setting Model tries to explain the relationship between the media, the public and the political agenda and how these agendas affect each other (Terkan, 2003: 564; Bekci, 2013: 21).
MANUFACTURING CONSENT- PROPAGANDA MODEL
Walter Lippman, an American journalist, first used the concept of “Manufacturing Consent” in his book “Public Opinion” published in 1922 (Chomsky, 2013; Temel, 2014: 8). In Chomsky and Herman’s book “Manufacturing Consent” (1994), the concept is explained by the fact that the state cooperates with the capital to make it appear as if it fits the needs of the society that would not beneficial for them. In the capitalist democracies, people are controlled in soft power and used their voting rights according to wishes and desires of the elite minority. According to them, it is possible through a collective consciousness control to ensure that people get to the “thing” they do not want and that they will consent to situations that the community will not accept under normal conditions. (Chomsky, 2013; Temel, 2014: 8). According to the two writers, the media “serve the interests of powerful social groups that inspect and finance it” and “make propaganda for these groups” (Chomsky and Herman 2006: 16; Temel, 2014: 8).
“Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman, in Manufacturing Consent, identified five “filters” through which news and political coverage are distorted by the structures themselves. These filters are as follows: The business interests of owner companies, a sensitivity to the views and concerns of advertisers and sponsors, the sourcing of news and information from “agents of power” such as governments and business-backed think-tanks, “Flak” or pressure applied to journalists including threats of legal action, an unquestioning belief in the benefits of market competition and consumer capitalism” (Heywood, 2007: 233-234).
“State and capital owners transfer large resources to the media sector. This resource will lead to media outlets, either mainstream or “agenda-setters”. According to Chomsky and Herman, this situation causes that the media lose its polyphony and move itself away from the public journalism” (Temel, 2014: 9).
Chomsky and Herman assume that the information required for systematic and aggressive propaganda by government and global corporations is transformed by filters into news that will serve the common interests of governments and corporations. In “Manufacturing Consent”, War of Vietnam has been indicated as an example of this situation. Herman and Chomsky argued that the casualties of the war with North Vietnam were regarded as “Worthy Victims” by the media and claimed that civilian casualties in American bombardment were not brought to the agenda in South Vietnam, and that the “Unworthy Victim” treatment was shown. (Chomsky and Herman, 2006; Temel, 2014: 9).
On the other hand, Bernard Cohen notes in a theoretical work he has developed in the 1960s based on Lippman’s ideas: “The media may not be effective in determining what people will think, but it is successful in determining what they will think about” (Oktay, 2002: 45-48; Bekci, 2013: 13). “What Cohen wants to emphasize here is that the media will not be able to influence society’s idea on a particular issue, but will able to influence what society will talk about” (Bekci, 2013: 13).
Bekci (2013: 16), summarizes Manufacturing Consent as highly controversial in terms of internal and foreign policy.
“Besides, the concept emerges as an approach based on Marxist foundations that have found extensive coverage in the academic literature. In this respect; it can be said that it has brought a critical viewpoint to the media in both political and economic sense. But to say that the media will have no influence on political power in any sense means to deny the media’s individual and social power. The fact that the media has made social and individual influence contradicts this approach at this point” (Bekci, 2013: 16).
As a matter of fact, the point that the media creates as an area of influence both socially and individually shows that there can be also an area of influence or interaction on foreign policy makers from time to time (Bayram, 2011: 69; Bekci, 2013: 16).
During the Gulf War, CNN has gained an influential momentum by informing with live broadcastings the entire world about the war. This term was named due to its power of pressure to decision-makers. Indeed, it is an appropriate example to indicate the role of media in political decision-making process.
“The “CNN Effect” can be expressed as theoretically structuring the politics of the decision-makers who are the accountable to the society, by arousing certain emotions in the audience and readers with the publications and broadcastings of the news media” (Temel, 2014: 12).
With “CNN Effect”, the society interferes with political strategy, impedes decision-makers’ political goals, and accelerates decision-making mechanisms (Yalçınkaya, 2008; Temel, 2014: 13). In this approach, seen more often in human drama, society forces decision-makers for humanitarian intervention. Decision makers may also be affected by these images or news (Robinson, 2002; Temel, 2014: 13).
Jakobsen claimed that the news media had the capacity to undermine or even change governments (Jakobsen, 2000: 131-143; Bekci, 2013). The influence of the media can be summarized with Jakobsen’s schema as follows:
“News in the media (images and news of atrocities and suffering people – both written and visual) – Journalists and Opinion Leaders force “Western” governments to move – Public opinion emerges – “Western” governments intervene (Jacobsen, 2000: 131; Bekci, 2013: 17).”
To be more precise, the authors describe the CNN Effect as loss of the control by decision-makers in the political arena and the gaining the control by the news media. Accordingly, the CNN Effect; TV channels (CNN, Al JAZEERA, BBC…), which are generally broadcast worldwide, argue that the news media is particularly influential in the decision-making process of governments during times of crisis and war. The theory claims that the images on TV and in newspapers have influence on both the public and the political elites. In a sense, by addressing and directing the emotions of the individual, media prevents the decision-makers from applying rational policies (Christopoulou, 2011: 18; Bekci, 2013: 18).
There are also many criticisms on the “CNN Effect” theory. The most important one is the assumption that the decision-makers have to change their policies with the reaction of the society shaped by the media; in fact, it is assumed that decision makers have produced a new “Manufacturing Consent” in order to lay the groundwork for the new official policies. It is claimed that politicians’ ability to react and reverse the public reactions towards these new policies is nothing more than a “Manufacturing Consent” with a “CNN Effect” look. (Denk, 2007; Temel, 2014: 13).
According to Livingston, who emphasized and criticized the agenda-setting character of CNN Effect, the notion of CNN Effect is exaggerated (Livingston, 1997:1-21; Bekci, 2013: 20). According to him, the majority of humanitarian interventions are done away from the observation of the media (Livingston, 1997: 6; Bekci, 2013: 20). To sum up, the discussions on the CNN Effect approach are mostly due to the fact that the CNN Effect is not fully understood (Bekci, 2013).
Agenda setting model can be considered as a process that is one of the ways in which the media is influencing the politics. It provides that media shape the contents of what the public thinks about specific policies and positions. Maxwell McCombs’ hypothesis “the media agenda sets the public agenda” was confirmed by the experiment in 1968 elections (Orum and Dale, 2009).
“As in the case of the propaganda model, the first study that created a source for the agenda setting model is the work of Lippmann in 1922, entitled Public Opinion” (Bekci, 2013: 20). Lippmann stated that the dominant elements in the media image have become dominant or prioritized in the images of the minds of the media viewers (Yuksel, 2001: 72; Terkan, 2003: 563; Bekci, 2013: 20).
“The media may not be successful in determining what people will think, but it is extremely successful in determining what they will think about (Cohen, 1963: 13)” sentence has been told by Bernard Cohen in 1963 and became the beginning of the underlying ideas to the Agenda-Setting Model (Yuksel, 2001: 34; Terkan, 2003: 564; Bekci, 2013: 20). Terkan also agrees with Cohen’s idea and says it reflects the basic idea of the agenda-setting approach (Terkan, 2007).
In the same way, this model can be summarized as follows; we assume as “important” the issues that the media has ruled as “important” (Gittinger, 1995; Bekci, 2013:21). Furthermore, this model claims that the media has a significant degree of determinism in the contexts in which the reader is informed indirectly (Koc, 2004: 7; Bekci, 2013: 22).
ROLE OF MEDIA IN FOREIGN POLICY
It has been determined that the media, sometimes described as the “fourth power”, plays a key role in democracies and that individuals increase their awareness of each other and their surroundings (Haas, 2009: 77; Bekci, 2013: 6). However, the media is also one of the important parts of the political process (Haas, 2009: 77; Bekci, 2013: 6).
According to Gadarian (2010: 469), which states that the media has a key role in important foreign political events that governments face, the media strengthens the perception of men’s threats and the foreign policies of the countries are shaped in this direction. For example; it points out that the US has a significant share of the media in the post-9/11 war on global warfare (Gadarian, 2010: 470; Bekci, 2013: 6).
Louw, examining the media as a source of strength, (2005) describes power as: “the capacity of interacting with others to get its own way”. Besides, realist theory in international relations has more concrete meanings to the concept of “power” which is one of the main arguments (the size of the military equipment, the size of the army, etc.) however, “it can be seen that the concept of “power” can also be studied by abstracting” (Bekci, 2013: 7).
According to Joseph Nye (1990) who gave the definition of “soft power” to the literature, the prominence of soft power must also increase. The most effective power seems to be the ability to direct, persuade and bargain with the public (Bekci, 2013: 7).
On the other hand, the press which transmits recent developments between bilateral countries not only informs the public but also mediates the diplomatic messages that the states send to each other. It is seen that the headlines of newspapers examine the messages that they want to give about any subject, not only the people who are the target group but also the news about them that the other side has emphasized, especially in the international political affairs.
Many newspapers have “Turkey in Foreign Press” sections on their web pages; these sections are interested in the news in foreign press of the world’s leading organizations to related to Turkey. This shows countries consider how they are perceived by others. From this point of view, it seems possible to accept the relationship of the media with foreign policy (Bekci, 2013: 8).
Bekci emphasizes another point that it is possible to defend “national interests” rather than “objectivity”, which is used as a concept related to ethics of journalism, if the content of the news is related to foreign policy. In other words; the principle of “being objective” is replaced by the principle of “protection of national interests” (Bekci, 2013). She says that “this principle is derived from the belief that the protection of the strong nation-state culture should also be protected in international relations” (p.14). For example, in the case of any dispute between the two states, they can do so by looking at the publications of the state’s media organizations from the “patriotic” perspective. Of course, it would be wrong to say this as a generalization, but otherwise it would not be possible to speak of an objective, absolute, independent publication/broadcasting of such an influence on foreign policy, since there is always the possibility that the journalist will be referred to as “traitor” (p.14-15). For example, according to Terzis, who stated that the opposition of nationalism in the media is described as “threat” and “treason” (2008: 141); anti-nationalist attitudes in the media are perceived as crime (Bekci, 2013).
In its simplest terms, the media serve as a very large archive for the writing of contemporary history (Arslan, 2007: 68; Bekci, 2013: 9). Bekci asserts that the foreign policy-media relationship and the media’s influence on foreign policy are becoming evident here.
The role of the press cannot be denied in the understanding of the foreign policies of states, the point of view of international relations, and the transfer of these subjects to later generations. For example; newspaper archives are one of the important places for any historical political academic work to be done today (Bekci, 2013).
Bekci says that in the relationship between media and foreign policy, we can see the studies are gathered under two opposite views. The first one is within the framework of the Manufacturing Consent, which is the subject of Noam Chomsky, and the second is formed within the framework of the CNN Effect. “It can be said these two approaches form the basis for other work on media – foreign policy relations. However, there are several separate approaches in the related literature such as Agenda Setting Model” (Bennett, 1990; McCombs & Yuksel, 2001; Robinson, 2001; Bekci, 2013: 9). Apart from these models, it can be said that the media is also influential in the foreign policy decision-making process through the public with some specific examples (Bayram, 2011: 69).
To analyze these models in this frame more specifically, Manufacturing Consent is highly controversial in terms of internal and foreign policy, and emerges as an approach based on Marxist foundations that have found extensive coverage in the academic literature. In this respect; it can be said that it has brought a critical viewpoint to the media in both political and economic sense. But to say that the media will have no influence on political power in any sense means to deny the media’s individual and social power. The fact that the media has made social and individual influence contradicts this approach at this point. As a matter of fact, the point that the media creates as an area of influence both socially and individually shows that there can be also an area of influence or interaction on foreign policy makers from time to time (Bayram, 2011: 69; Bekci, 2013: 16).
Bekci claims that it cannot be said that the CNN Effect is a perfectly appropriate framework for any aspect of the foreign policy making process. Moreover, there is no evidence that the media has a definite effect on military or humanitarian interventions. For example, it does not seem plausible to say that a major war, which will take place in or out of the states, can be explained by the media effect (Bekci, 2013).
ROLE OF MEDIA IN TURKISH POLITICS
The first comprehensive study that discussed the relationship between foreign policy and media’s agenda setting was prepared by Süleyman Irvan in his PhD thesis “Foreign Policy and Press: An Analysis of Foreign Policy News in Turkish Press by Agenda-Setting Approach” in 1997 (Yüksel, 2010).
According to Irvan, opinions reflected in the media on foreign policy issues generally consist of official views. In this case, problems are conveyed within certain frameworks, and frames containing opposing views are either never given or little is given. Thus, it is possible that the public accepts the dominant framework and this situation can increase the similarity between the media’s agenda and the public agenda (Irvan, 1997: 68; Bayram, 2011: 215).
Another result of the study revealed is that the agenda of the media in Turkey on foreign policy issues sets the public agenda. The researcher compared the media agenda of the questionnaire survey and the content analysis, and reveal the link between media and public agendas (Yüksel, 2010). “According to him, with these results regarding foreign policy issues in Turkey, media agenda determines the public agenda. Irvan means the agenda of the printed media when he refers to the media agenda” (Bayram, 2011: 283).
Perhaps the most important result of Irvan ‘s work is that the press influences attitudes towards foreign policy issues. Irvan expressed this finding with the following words (p.227):
“… we can say that the press does not only determine the public agenda in foreign politics but also affects attitudes towards foreign political problems. The findings obtained from this study show that the press not only determines which external problem is important, also it discusses how the issues raised, which country is a threat to Turkey, who is seen as friendly and who are enemies. The most important reason for this determination is the sameness of the news frames that the press uses to present its problems. Since the alternative frameworks are not included and there are only official views, the resulting public opinion also contains a prominent level of consensus ” (Bayram, 2011: 284).
Foreign policy agenda of the Turkish press has increased with external problems in recent years and intensified external relations with more (Arslan, 2007: 51; Özdemir, 2013: 61). When we look at the effects of the press on foreign policy, we can see that it has a directive, restrictive or supervisory influence on the politics of governments as the “fourth power” (Özdemir, 2013).
The power of the media is mostly on the public. Public opinion can lead reviews and criticisms. It may be effective against foreign policy experts, but ultimately the decision is given by the executive. That is, the press alone does not direct foreign policy, it cannot be effective in political decisions but plays a supporting role (Özdemir, 2013: 61).
The press, as a true scientific tool in foreign policy, international relations and contemporary history researches, has a very important, direct function in this issue. In short, for a laboratory physicist, an archive library for a medieval historian, figures and tables for a mathematician anyway; the press is the same for foreign policy specialists or contemporary historians. From this point of view, the importance and effectiveness of the media in terms of decision-makers and diplomats who must understand and interpret the world also emerge (Aslan, 2007: 58; Özdemir, 2013: 62).
Özdemir agrees with Kırlı (2004) in the sense that the effects of the media on foreign policy stem from the role of the media as a guiding, limiting or supervising role in the politics of governments as the fourth force. However, she emphasizes the fact that the press has no or very little power to change the foreign policy of the state directly and alone (p.64-67).
It is also possible that the media, with publicly provocative publications, also cause trouble for the country. It is possible to say that false news and provocative interpretations sometimes get countries to the brink of war. One of the best examples of this subject is the Kardak crisis (Kohen, 1996: 884; Kırlı, 2004: 65).
“Regarding foreign policy issues, the Turkish media remained indifferent until the 1950s. The reason is that society was closed inside and outside. Also, Turkey did not have such intense external problems in that time. After 1950, the Cold War has affected Turkey and the Turkish press began to find a place in foreign policy” (Kırlı, 2004: 65-66).
From the 1950s onwards, in the 1960s, notable problems have emerged not only draws attentions of the governments but also of the public. The Cyprus issue is one of these problems. Cyprus, has been the turning point in the public’s awareness as in Turkey’s international relations about foreign policy. Apart from the Cyprus problem, in the Cold War years, Turkey’s relations with the Soviet Union, the tension associated with Warsaw Pact members and developments in the Middle East began to be the subject of foreign policy (Kohen, 1996: 882; Kırlı, 2004: 66).
On the other hand, while military interventions gladly contributed to the backwardness of the evolution process of Turkey, they also did not neglect to handle the media. The famous speak of Alparslan Türkeş was transmitted to the whole country via radio, whereas Kenan Evren’s speech was broadcasted on TV. The more technological development increased has created the more the possibility to reach these advancements after interventions.
“The military coup of 1980 has affected every institution. In this period, censorship was applied to the press, and newspapers were under strict control. Writing and reporting some topics was very difficult at that time. There was no way for the political leaders to announce their voice in the media. In this period, media owners had to choose one two ways: either they would shut down newspapers or write publications that would not disturb the military regime” (Kırlı, 2004).
It was also inevitable for the 1980 coup to affect the press sector like all institutions. The most important development in the Turkish press with the “democratic change” after 1980 was the monopolization and intervention of the non-press capital which started at the beginning of 1980 but accelerated afterwards (Tokgöz 1991-1992: p.100; Taşdemir, 2005: 174). Kırlı agrees that this intervention and the change of ownership after the 1980s is the one of the problems in the media. Media owners are not from the experts or members of the media, rather, there have been people who have to deal with other areas in the media since 1980s. Political powers have supported this situation; thus, they could establish a relation with the media bosses based on mutual interests and use them to direct public. (Kırlı, 2004).
“If it is the case of press and politics relations, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the relations of government and press. All eyes of the society are on the political party sitting in the seat of power. A large part of the news that comes out is about the ruling parties” (Taşdemir, 2005: 176-177).
It is discussed more than the leaders of the political parties in Turkey, so the press is regarded as friend and also opposite of the leaders at the same time. According to the leaders, the press is not a serious matter, but the managers of the press and their bosses make it a significant one. Political leaders usually know these people’s names and often shake their hands (Demirkent 1982: 172; Taşdemir, 2005: 177).
In that sense, the abolition of political bans meant a little more freedom for the media in the time of Turgut Özal. The Prime Minister, Turgut Ozal, was very successful at establishing direct and personal relationships with journalists and newspapers, and he used it very professionally. Media also got used to this situation; during this period, a new journalism has emerged which considered establishing close relations with political powers as the most important and prestigious source of pride. (Kırlı, 2004). Moreover, “the diversification of media and politics in Turkey starts with the Özal period” (Taşdemir, 2005: 177).
“Monopolies in the media remained as the main problem after the 1980s. The monopolization has changed the content of the media; political leaders and media members have been easier to establish a very close relationship. This has led to the decline in confidence in the media. In addition, the economic crises in Turkey have increased the monopolization of the media, eventually, media workers are left in a more precarious condition” (Kırlı, 2004: 76).
It can be said that the emergence of private radio and television is the most important development of the 90s. The right of the state to monopolize the visual and audio broadcasting has also been opened to private capital. Turkish media and press was closed to polyphony and competition until 1990s. (Toruk, 2005). However, Kırlı discuss that since the 1990s, media has become a power that could establish, change and direct the government. Media has been quite efficient in 28th February process (Kırlı, 2004). Writers and columnists had started to increase the intensity of their criticisms against the government step by step before several months when 28th February process took place.
“So, in a sense, the media has created the ground for the post-modern coup. The impact of the media on February 28 has been agenda-setting and concentration on certain issues” (Kırlı, 2004: 118).
In this period, in order to save their future, politicians have surrendered to the press bosses whom they paved the way of power. (Ataklı 1997: 1252; Taşdemir, 2005: 178) Kırlı says that in the failure of political parties to fulfill their expected functions, the inefficiency of democratic groups -like NGOs-to raise their voice in the public and the weakness of governments can be considered as the reasons of the increasing power of the media as much as “first power” (Kırlı, 2004).
Kırlı points Turkey’s EU harmonization process and the reforms are carried out in this regard as another issue raised by the media on foreign policy issues.
“Since the accession process to the Customs Union in 1995, the media has favorably supported all governments about the EU. Firstly, Once Turkey joined the Customs Union, media reflected this to the society as accession to the EU; Prime Minister Tansu Ciller has received full support from the media in this regard. The same support is given to the AK Party government and the reforms required to be carried out in the EU accession process are shown as new initiatives in the field of democratization and human rights without questioning. The media is providing the breakthroughs in a continuous and positive manner, enabling the public to think positively on these issues” (Kırlı, 2004: 67).
To sum up, there are several major approaches towards the understanding of media and politics relationships. Each of models have their pros and cons in order to explain this mysterious relationship. “Media, such as television, radio, newspapers, that allow mass communication, appears to have an important mediator role in the spread of different opinions, thoughts or opinions in society, in the ability to hear different opinions and hear different opinions” (Yüksel, 2004: 245; Yüksel, 2007: 575). However, this relation sometimes has gone far and reached to a decision-making and agenda-setting mechanism. This situation is an example of struggle for power in political arena between various actors. Indeed, media has been one of the political actors today.
On the other hand, it would not be wrong to say that the media has shaped the society, especially in developing democracies, that the society influences the formation of identity, that the public has created both the daily social life and the political arena. Moreover, monitoring all kinds of international developments through media tools and having information with these tools reveal that the power and influence of the media in international relations emerge at this point. Therefore, it cannot be ignored that media actors have more political and social power than other members of the society.
ANALYSIS OF THE UNITED STATES’ ISRAEL-PALESTINE POLICY IN BRIEF
After the Second World War, the Soviet Union was expanding, increasing its interest in the Middle East day by day. While Western states were standing next to Israel in the Arab-Israeli struggle, the USSR began to support the Arabs and to provide them economic assistance. This development has increased the interest in socialism among the Arab states (Ozdemir, 2013). In order to maintain the balance in the Middle East, the United States has pursued a policy of gaining the trust of the Arab states on the one hand, and on the other, planned not to provoke the USSR. The US prioritization of Israel in the Middle East has led to a shift in the neutrality of most of the other states in the Middle East, or to get closer towards the opposite. In the post- War period, the United States increased its effectiveness in the Middle East by filling the void of Britain. Since the nationalization of Nasser’s Suez Canal, the United States, which came to the region to intervene after the attacks of Britain, France and Israel against Egypt, has always remained in the region and has played a key role in the creation or resolution of problems (Oruç, 2014). However, both sides, US and Israel, benefited from this togetherness in the region. For decades, strong bilateral relations have reinforced significant US-Israel cooperation in many areas, including regional security policies (Zanotti, 2017).
On the other hand, the United States did not have a static Palestinian policy. Historically, it has been voiced by the United States to return to pre-1967 borders, to restrict Jewish settlers, to return Palestinian refugees to their countries, and a two-state solution, but nothing has been done because of Israel’s uncompromising attitude. In the implementation of pro-Israel policies, it is the fact that the Jewish lobbies are very influential in US domestic politics. In the period of some presidents, this support was questioned, but due to public perception, there was no interruption in support. Especially, because of Israel’s violent policy and the occupied territories, the United States had to consistently keep Israel in its side and prevent from harming or taking decisions against Israel in the UNSC (Oruç, 2014). On the other hand, because of security policies that the US carried out especially after 9/11, with the effect of increasing Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim approaches, the Palestinian groups were defined as radical or terrorist.
In 1974, PLO leader Arafat made a speech in the UN General Assembly, despite all the obstacles of the US and Israel, and subsequently the PLO was accepted as a non-member observer status. The first diplomatic success of the PLO was in 1975 when the UN ruled that Zionism was racism. With the first intifada in 1987, the PLO returned and on 15th November 1988, Arafat announced the establishment of State of Palestine in Algeria upon the announcement that Jordan had abandoned all rights to Palestine in 1988. It was reported that the request of the United States would be accepted by the PLO as a result of contacts between the US and the PLO administration. Consequently, the PLO declared that it had abandoned terrorist activities and recognized the rights of the parties to live in peace and security. The relationship between the parties was re-broken in the first Gulf War, when Arafat supported Saddam. However, peace talks between Israel and the PLO led by Arafat were initiated in order to remedy the post-war US image of the region as corrupted. In accordance with the negotiations made, the Oslo Accords were accepted in 1993, but it was not fully implemented because of the murder of Rabin, the Prime Minister of time, in 1995. “The Oslo Accord, although not fully implemented, was important in terms of establishing the framework that would provide the Palestinian autonomy” (Oruç, 2014: 4).
The Clinton period between 1993 and 2000 was the time when the United States was very eager to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Bill Clinton has made this issue a personal matter and made a lot of effort to resolve it in his own time. The Wye River in 1998 and the Camp David Summit in 2000, he tried to get the parties together. On the contrary, the Bush administration, which came after the Clinton administration, did not agree with the process. Since the Bush administration’s priority was Iraq, the Palestinian issue remained untouched for a while, and Israel’s usual aggressive stance continued. The right of defense is often used by showing the attacks on Israeli territories in the Gaza Strip, and just as the United States is using its preventive strike as it did after September 11. Particularly in periods when Democrats were in the office, there seemed to be softening but there was no change in general government policies, The Palestinians were hopeful of Obama administration’s efforts to bring peace to the Middle East region, and the US’s preference for diplomacy instead of using military force in the region, however have been frustrated by the Israeli-launched Gaza attacks (Oruç, 2014).
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