At the crossroads of the New Silk Road: News discourses in the Turkish press


COMMUNICATION AND THE PUBLIC, vol.4, no.4, pp.276-290, 2019 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 4 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/2057047319896214
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.276-290
  • Keywords: A. Teun van Dijk, critical discourse analysis, New Silk Road (OBOR), New Silk Road and media, Turkish press and the New Silk Road
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


This article employs 'critical discourse analysis' to explore contending discourses around the 'New Silk Road' in Turkish newspapers. The press analysis covers the period 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2017. It includes pro-government newspapers (Sabah, Star and Takvim - liberal); oppositional newspapers (Birgun, Gunluk Evrensel - socialist, Cumhuriyet - social democratic, Yenicag - nationalist right); one liberal newspaper (Hurriyet - non-aligned); and a semi-oppositional and Eurasianist title (Aydinlik). The dominant discourses of the newspapers sampled are mainly organized around recontextualizations of President Erdogan's statements on the New Silk Road and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. These discourses present the New Silk Road as promoting peace, security and prosperity (with Transport Minister's statement of a prospective 31 trillion dollar market) and initiating a new era in relations with China. Only the socialist and oppositional newspaper Gunluk Evrensel does not recontextualize Erdogan's statements within this framework. The oppositional/socialist Birgun and the oppositional/social democratic Cumhuriyet, however, raise some criticisms of the New Silk Road project. Erdogan's central position as the main news actor and the domination of his statements on the New Silk Road and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars in the news discourse legitimate both his authoritarian rule and abuse power and his wish for rapprochement with China. The second foregrounding news discourse is the 'business discourse' - centred on investment, trade and market share, running in parallel to the government discourse in every newspaper analysed, except the socialist and oppositional newspapers Birgun and Gunluk Evrensel. Only the socialist newspaper Birgun examines the New Silk Road from the side of labour. The Eurasianist party paper Aydinlik constructs the discourse of 'strong defence of New Silk Road and China'.