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La Turquie à l'épreuve des séismes de 1999.
Une analyse sociopolitique à travers les discours médiatiques post-catastrophes

Abstract : If a disaster is spontaneously associated to human loss, to damages, it also has a dynamic of its own and a socio-political dimension, even if we often tend to ignore it. In fact, a disaster is able to disturb the existent systems, the human economical, social and political constructions. It can also create distortions in social and political relationship. Therefore, the study of a disaster can help us understand the nature of these systems and relationships.
In that sense, the earthquakes of 1999 in Turkey seem to constitute a particularly interesting field of study. Two major earthquakes, on august 17th and November 12th hit Marmara region the industrial basin of the country caused the death of nearly 18 000 person . The difficulty of the state to lead assistance or rescue operation after the disaster, to handle humanitarian aid, essential for the victims, and to give prominence to the dysfunction of control mechanism of the constructions, the problems caused by corruption at different levels of responsibility, created big reactions in the Turkish society.
The earthquakes of 1999 also provoked a strong “civil” mobilization with the non-governmental organizations and with independent volunteers, to in scale never seen in the history of Turkish Republic. Consequently, the catastrophe became an occasion to criticize the dysfunctions of the system and the political class. While having a critical discourse with regard to "the State", the media made state of the "birth of the Turkish civil society" and announced a major sociopolitical change in the immediate future: "nothing would be the same again".
This research (which required two field studies and an extensive work in the press archives) shows the 1999 earthquakes constitute a singular event, at the same time as having their place in the long list of major earthquakes which have occurred since 1939 in Turkey: we can observe the same discursive game appearing after each seism. Various actors propose their own versions of the event, according to their interests. We clearly see that the catastrophe is a social construction on which the context sociopolitical is determining. Secondly, the study of 1999 disaster, as well as the 14 preceding major seism, allow us to carry out a sociopolitical analysis of contemporary Turkey. The analysis of the post-catastrophe media discourses help us to describe the nature of the power relations, the position of the actors in the Turkish political context, the function of the system, while offering a solid base for thinking about Turkish society's transformation.
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Contributor : A. Caglar Akgungor <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - 2:20:26 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00222781, version 1



A. Caglar Akgungor. La Turquie à l'épreuve des séismes de 1999.
Une analyse sociopolitique à travers les discours médiatiques post-catastrophes. Science politique. Université Pierre Mendès-France - Grenoble II, 2007. Français. ⟨tel-00222781⟩



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