Politics, Culture and Media: Neo-Ottomanism as a Transnational Cultural Policy on TRT El Arabia and TRT Avaz
TRT El Arabia
Broadcast and Video Studies
International and Intercultural Communication
Other Political Science
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AbstractThis article examines the ways in which Turkish Radio and Television Institution (TRT), as the public service broadcaster of Turkey, has been mobilized by the Justice and Development Party (JDP) to contribute to the dissemination of a neo-Ottomanist discourse in the neighboring geographies. Our focus is on two expansions of TRT, namely TRT Avaz and TRT El Arabia, that aim at reaching markets outside the national borders of Turkey. Our interest here lies in three intersecting phenomena. One is the notion of neo-Ottomanism and its deployment as a cultural policy geared towards a market of transnational viewers. The other is the digitalization of broadcasting and the recent transformations in the global media spheres that allow for alternate cosmopolitan media cultures. Finally, we are concerned with the transformation of TRT’s role, from initially being a ‘nationalizing’ and ‘internationalizing’ institution to later being transformed into a ‘transnational’ apparatus of the JDP government. We argue that the transnationalisation of TRT has become possible under the historical coincidence of the revival of neo-Ottomanism and the transformations in the global media environment. We conclude by suggesting that in line with JDP government’s neo-Ottomanist discourse, TRT now works towards fostering a transnational communality around the notions of Ottoman culture and Ottoman morals among Arab speaking and Islamic populations.