BASEES Annual Conference 2022

Post-colonial Emotions in Never-colonized States: Turkey and Russia as Subaltern Empires

Fri8  Apr05:00pm(20 mins)
Music Room


Melike Akkaraca Kose


Following Morozov’s assertion that subaltern empires do exist even though they have never been colonized in their history and that Russia and Turkey are similar examples in this respect (Morozov, 2015), this paper aims to study the emotional dimension of Turkish postcolonial discourse vis a vis the ‘West’. The literature about Turkish subaltern identity of Turkey has already acknowledged that Turkey has displayed the reflexes of a post-colonial country due to its uneasy relationship with the “West” based on a paradox: a claim of superiority against the “West” as part of the quest to become part of the West (Yanik, 2011).

This paper explores the emotions in the representations of subaltern identity in Turkish Political Discourse on the European Union for the periods of 1996-1999 (1) and 2004-2007 (2). The first period covers the years from the Luxembourg summit at which Turkey has been denied the official candidate status to the Helsinki Summit that approves its official candidacy status. The second period covers the years from the European Commission recommendation to start the accession negotiations to the EU Council’s decision to suspend negotiations on eight chapters relevant to Turkey's restrictions with regard to the Republic of Cyprus. The emotion discourse analysis in Turkish post-colonial discourse are conducted within the context of four main frames: 1) frame of dependence 2) frame of submission 3) frame of idealization 4) frame of superiority. The study especially focuses on the emotions of ‘resentment’, ‘humiliation/contempt”, ‘disappointment’, ‘admiration’ and ‘pride/honor’. The paper ends with a brief comparison of post-colonial narratives constructed in Turkish and Russian political discourses, benefiting from the previous research on Russian political identity.

T Morozov, Viatcheslav. 2015. Russia’s Postcolonial Identity. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

T Yanık, Lerna K. 2011. “Constructing Turkish ‘Exceptionalism’: Discourses of Liminality and Hybridity in Post-Cold War Turkish Foreign Policy.” Political Geography 30(2): 80–89.