EVASION STRATEJIES USED IN TURKISH POLITICAL DISCOURSE

Abstract

Author(s): Sinan AKIR Emel KKPINAR KAYA** Abdurrahman KARA

There is a widespread perception that politicians are frequently evasive under questioning from members of the news media (Clayman, 2001: 403). The evasion strategies like ignoring the question, questioning the question or employing humor are one of the most frequently analyzed aspects of the social-psychological literature on political interviews (Gnisci and Bonaiuto, 2003: 387). However, there have not been any studies that focus on the evasion strategies used in Turkish political context. The purpose of the study is to investigate the evasion strategies that are used by Turkish politicians in TV interviews in order to contribute to the studies that aim to find out the universal evasion strategies used by the politician worldwide. The methodology of the research is based on a triadic amalgamation proposed in turn by the functional approach of Bull & Mayer (1993) which was further developed by Bull (2003), the semantic-structural approach by Galasinski (2000) and finally, Clayman (2001). The corpus of the research was obtained from http://www.siyasetmeydani.net/arsiv.asp between April 21 and May 22, 2011, which consists of 8 political interviews delivered by leading Turkish politicians as interviewed by Ali K?rca in his TV show ‘Siyaset Meydan?’ just before the general elections of June, 2011. The transcription of the oral intervews contains approximately 136.934 words and the total recording of the eight videos amounts up to 1182 minutes, which makes 19 hours and 42 minutes. In the findings of the study, it was observed that 10 out of 14 evasion categories suggested by Bull (2003), Galasinski (2000), and Clayman (2001) were also applicable for the Turkish political context. In addition to the categories proposed by them, three other categories of evasion has been determined in the analysis of the data, which can be viewed as a contribution to the studies that aim to find out universal evasion strategies used by politicians. Among the 68 evasion strategies determined in the study, the most frequently used ones were changing the textual context of the question (16 times) and giving an incomplete answer (13 times). The Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, used remarkably more evasion strategies compared to the other politicians (22 times). Considering the fact that his party is in power and responsible for the executions, it was a foreseeable finding of the study.

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