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Social Media and Soft Power: Positioning Turkey’s Image on Twitter

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This paper explores how Turkey is using social media via Twitter, a public relations strategy, to spread its messages and to establish itself within the international community. Turkey appears to be situating itself as a European, progressive, democratic, secular and Muslim nation that has the potential to influence nations in the Middle East. The rise of social media has revolutionized the way states communicate with the international community. To that end, this study analyzed three top Turkish governmental officials’ personal and official Twitter accounts to examine how Turkey is cultivating its national image using Twitter. The findings suggest Turkey is wielding its soft-power in both the West and the Middle East/North Africa regions. Yet the quantitative analysis reveals that the western emphasis is more prominent in the messages. In its Twitter messages, the Turkish government follows an image cultivation and information subsidy approach in public diplomacy. Contrary to the highly interactive features of this social media tool, Turkish bureaucracy is not engaged in building relationships with its publics through Twitter.

Affiliations: 1: a) University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA, Email: nuysal@ou.edu ; 2: b) University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA, Email: jared.schroeder@ou.edu ; 3: c) University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA, Email: mtaylor@ou.edu

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