Hashtag publics, networked framing and the July 2016 'coup' in Turkey
On 15 July 2016, Turkey faced a military coup attempt against the government. Most Turkish citizens learned about the coup attempt from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who contacted a television channel using FaceTime and urged citizens to go into the streets to resist it. Social media platforms, such as Twitter, were used heavily by Turkish citizens, with hashtags such as #TurkeyCoupAttempt, #darbeyehayir, #NoCoupInTurkey and #TurkeyCoup all trending during this period. This paper focuses on one of the most important anti-coup hashtags, #darbeyehayir (NoCoup), to examine how it was used during the anti-coup protests. By applying a mixed methods approach for Twitter content under the hashtag, the aim of the study is to unveil motivational frames used to call for action and provide a rationale for those participating in anti-coup protests. Results demonstrate that the framing dynamics emerging in the hashtags publics in which pro-Erdoğan supporters were dominant and used this process to provide support to the government during the ‘coup’. The hashtag was mainly used as a tool for government propaganda rather than encouraging civic discussions and participation, and ultimately democratic acts in authoritarian countries.
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