Speaking of Invasion: Narratives over Arabs in Eksi Sozluk, a Virtual Community in Turkey
||Zeynep Oguz, Sabanci University, Atakoy 9. Kisim A 16/B D:77 Istanbul, Turkey. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
||CyberOrient, Vol. 5, Iss. 2, 2011, pp. 24-49
||November 10, 2011
||Since the day it was founded, Eksi Sozluk (sour dictionary) has been one of the most popular virtual communities in Turkey, fostering cultural and political discussions and acting as a public sphere. This paper examines contested narratives of hostility and hospitality over Arabs in Eksi Sozluk in order to trace the making of subjectivities in Turkey. I illustrate the ways Arab tourists are orientalized through the narratives of Eksi Sozluk authors who mark Arabs as dirty, disgusting, uncivilized, and backward. Next, I show contrary narratives that claim to welcome and embrace Arab tourists in Istanbul. I argue that a supposedly welcoming discourse towards Arabs also functions under the same ontological presuppositions of Orientalist fantasy. Finally, based on the conceptual framework of “Occidentalist fantasy,” I argue that the othering of Arabs in contemporary Turkey functions to create the illusion of a unified, sovereign subjectivity under the imagined Western gaze.
identity, cultural studies, public sphere, websites, Turkey