Fake News as a Tool of Populism in Turkey: The Pastor Andrew Brunson Case

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This study examines how populist politicians made sense of the issue of fake news. They generally consider fake news as a valuable propaganda tool for their political interests. According to the Reuters Digital News Report in 2018, Turkey ranks first on the list of countries where people complain about completely made-up stories. The study researched how fake news is helping facilitate the rise of populism in Turkey. There is plenty of fake news aired by pro-government media. Therefore, the Turkish government is emerging as a suspect behind the fake news cycle. The fact is that most of the fake news is published for the benefit of the government. Research shows that, paradoxically, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is regarded as one of the most important populist politicians in the world. These two different indicators can be valuable data in revealing the relationship between fake news and populist politicians. The aim of this paper is to consider the significance of this apparent relationship between fake news and President Erdogan. In order to do this, a critical discourse analysis method was based on the fake news about the pastor Brunson case, because Turkish readers came across a huge amount of fake news regarding his case in pro-government media.

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