Forced Politicization of Television Celebrities in Turkey

Vitrinel E.

JOURNAL OF BALKAN AND NEAR EASTERN STUDIES, vol.21, no.2, pp.222-233, 2019 (SSCI) identifier identifier


Politicized stars being banned, investigated, detained or exiled is not new to Turkey. But targeting of very popular television personalities with no or little political involvement indicates a new phenomenon. Drawing on this shift from partisan-based to casual-based activism and focusing on three recent examples who owe their international fame to the growing domestic TV drama industry in the country, this article seeks to understand why celebrities are targeted nowadays for expressing their point of view on social media, for being critical or even just for their appearance in a socio-political movement. In this attempt, by adopting a conjunctural approach which takes into account images of each celebrity on and off screen, the present work puts forward the prevalent 'polarization' in Turkish society as a key concept and an explanatory factor.