Exploring the influence of Europeanisation on media in Turkey: Changes and challenges in mediations of cultural diversity
Eurosphere Project Sabanci University Istanbul, Turkey
In the European context, the member states of the Council of Europe and current and future members of the European Union are obliged to protect pluralism in their media systems in order to ensure expressions of cultural diversity in the public sphere. In Turkey enhancing media pluralism and mediation of cultural diversity gained increasing prominence starting with the Europeanisation reform period which began after Turkey?s candidacy to the European Union in 1999. Europeanisation process has been significant firstly because it dramatised the tension between the national and transnational (European) perspectives on issues of diversity, minorities, cultural and human rights. Secondly, it crystallised the struggle between status-quo and change in a number of policy areas, one of which pertained to mass media. This paper aims to explore the influence of this process on the mediation of diversity in the media in Turkey. It draws upon data gathered through in-depth interviews conducted with a number of media professionals between 2004-2009 in Istanbul and Ankara. The media professionals have always been an organic part of the modernisation and westernisation process in Turkey, therefore this paper holds the view that an insight into their reflections can shed light on the particular logic that operates in the public sphere on the acceptance and acknowledgment diversity issues. The data draws partly upon my doctoral research and partly upon the preliminary findings of Eurosphere project, a large scale international collaborative research effort, which is being conducted simultaneously in sixteen European countries and aims to document the impact of Europeanization on cultural diversity and political institutions in Europe.