Exploring Turkey’s disinformation ecosystem

Fake news

Exploring Turkey’s disinformation ecosystem

Wednesday, 28 October 2020 - 4:00pm
Zoom webinar
Akın Ünver (Oxford Internet Institute; Department of International Relations, Kadir Has University)
Afşin Yurdakul (Haberturk News Network)
Ezgi Basaran (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Mehmet Karli (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Mehmet Karli (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Ezgi Basaran (St Antony’s College, Oxford)

The webinar will focus on the findings of a recently-completed research project on Turkey’s digital media ecosystem carried out, EDAM, one of the leading independent think-tanks in Turkey, and funded by the US based Chrest Foundation. The project has provided a detailed analysis of Turkey’s digital media ecosystem. Turkey has more than 70% internet penetration. Despite restrictions, Turkey ranks among the most active countries in terms of using social media for political communication purposes. Successive crises, such as the failed coup attempt in July 2016, terrorist attacks, elections, and protests have been heavily ‘digitally mediated’. Yet, as per the 2018 Reuters Institute Digital News Report, Turkey is also one of the most vulnerable countries to disinformation, bot usage, and cyber-attacks. EDAM’s study provides the first detailed mapping of the digital media ecosystem, including disinformation, fact-checkers and implications for the journalism, including regulatory suggestions.

The four reports, “The Impact of Polarization on Turkey’s Information Environment”, “Exploring Turkey’s Disinformation Ecosystem”, “Fact-checkers and fact-checking in Turkey”, and “Turkey’s Digital News Landscape” are accessible here.

Please register here.


Akın Ünver (@AkinUnver) is an assistant professor at Kadir Has University’s department of International Relations and a Board member of EDAM. With a background in conflict studies, he is interested in the study of radicalization and mobilization through geospatial and geopolitical tools. He is working on how democratic and non-democratic states engage in online surveillance and what different tools and processes their respective citizens invent to counteract such monitoring. With a specific focus on Turkey, Iran, Russia and China, Akin’s research looks at the role of privacy-security debate on shaping these countries’ Internet policies. Akin completed his PhD at the University of Essex, Department of Government. His dissertation ‘Defining Turkey’s Kurdish Question: Discourse and Politics Since 1990’ was awarded the Middle East Studies Association’s Malcolm Kerr ‘best dissertation in the field of social sciences’ award and was awarded departmental nomination for the European Consortium for Political Research’s best dissertation in the field of comparative politics. This study is published in 2015 from Routledge Series in Middle East Studies. 

Afşin Yurdakul is a journalist and news anchor. She hosted and executive-produced prime time current affairs programs for Habertürk News Network, one of Turkey’s largest national news channels. She previously served as the network’s chief foreign editor; conducted numerous interviews with prominent Turkish and international figures. She has moderated panels at the World Economic Forum’s Middle East and Davos summits; is a member of the Forum’s International Media Council and the Global Agenda Council on Europe (2014-2016). She has an MSc from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and was the first Robert L. Long Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.


Ezgi Başaran is a journalist who made her name covering Turkey’s Kurdish conflict. She started her career in 2004 at Hurriyet daily as a reporter. After accepting an offer to write a daily column on Turkish politics, she became the youngest ever editor of Radikal, the biggest centre-left news outlet in Turkey, and the first woman to hold the role. She holds an MPhil degree in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford and is a Doctorate of Philosophy (DPhil) candidate in Oriental Studies at the same university. Her current research focuses on the interplay between North African Islamist movements – especially Egyptian, Tunisian, and Moroccan – and Turkish Islamism. Her book "Frontline Turkey: The Conflict at the Heart of the Middle East" was published by IB Tauris/Bloomsbury in October 2017.