Departmental Papers (ASC)

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Journal Article

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"Turks and Arabs," intoned Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, one spring evening in April 2010, "are like the fingers of a hand. They are as close as the flesh and the nail of a finger… We belong to the same history, the same culture and above all the same civilization."1 Erdoğan was speaking at the launching ceremony of TRT-al-Turkiyya, Turkey's Arabic-language satellite television channel, and his speech was carried live on al-Jazeera and other Arab news networks. The event the speech keynoted crowned a multi-year rapprochement between Turkey and its Arab neighbors expressed through Erdoğan's soft-Islamist, socially conservative and economically liberal rhetoric and policy. However, three years into the Arab uprisings, Turkey's initial charm offensive towards the Arab region has turned defensive, as Ankara has gotten embroiled in the war in Syria and the turmoil in Egypt. This turn of events, however, should not write-off the story of the Arab-Turkish love affair and the central role media played in it, especially when considered against the backdrop of history, as the Ottomans were the imperial overlords of most Arab societies for centuries, and secular nationalist Turks were not interested in their Arab neighbors.

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Originally published by Flow.Journal at Reproduced with permission.



Date Posted: 12 October 2017