Turkey, the Middle East & the Media| Neo-Ottoman Cool 2: Turkish Nation Branding and Arabic-Language Transnational Broadcasting

Omar Al-Ghazzi, Marwan M. Kraidy


Ten years after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in Turkey in 2002, Turkish-Arab relations have dramatically improved. This rapprochement was largely based on Turkey’s engagement with Arab publics as part of a soft power–based policy conceived as neo-Ottomanism. Against the backdrop of the remarkable popularity of Turkish television dramas in the Arab world, this article focuses on Turkey’s transnational broadcasting and nation-branding efforts. Acknowledging the limits and challenges to soft power, it argues that the success of neo-Ottomanism has been based on the Turkish government’s use of multiple strategies of outreach through popular culture, rhetoric, and broadcasting to create a new Turkish nation brand of neo-Ottoman cool, articulated as at once more benign and more powerful. The conclusion discusses how the Arab uprisings have complicated Turkey’s charm offensive in the Arab world.

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