Construction and conceptualization of identities in Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's speeches: Turkish membership in the European Union (EU) as a symbol of the alliance of civilizations
While Huntington’s (1996) theory of “The Clash of Civilizations” illuminated the concept of the gap between the Western and non-Western cultures, the framework of an opposite approach, which intensively emphasizes and strives for mutual understanding, cooperation and solidarity towards peace, has created a new and vital discursive perspective and practice through the establishment of The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). As the domain of UNAOC has not received linguistic attention yet, the goal of the current dissertation is to investigate and reveal the notions and messages conveyed in the related context of Turkey’s accession to the EU by the Turkish Prime Minister (2003-2014) and the co- founder of the Alliance of Civilizations, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It seeks answers to the following questions: How does Mr. Erdogan conceptualize Turkey, which has geopolitically bridged the Western and non-Western cultures throughout the centuries, and which borders the boiling pot of the Middle East? How does the Prime Minister construct identities in the context of the Western and non-Western countries especially in his discussion of Turkey’s accession to the EU? How does the Prime Minister further reconceptualize the urgent need for global peace and stability in the world, contributing to the UNAOC directly and indirectly? This dissertation employs a cognitive framework approach which entails speech act theory and analogical reasoning, in addition to Reisigl and Wodak’s (2001) Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA) to analyze Prime Minister Erdogan’s speeches in the international context. In conclusion, the discourse of UNAOC gives rise to new discursive practices for global peace, “countering the forces that fuel polarization and extremism” (http://www.unaoc.org/about/). The discursive construction of global phenomena, events and actions as defined in Erdogan’s speeches are reconceptualized on the basis of non-Western but secular pro-Western intertextuality and perspectivization.