The Turkish Nation as a Bridge: Imagining a Nation in Turkish Parliamentary Discourse
Keywords:Bridge Metaphor, Imagined Turkish Communities, Discursive Practices, Turkish Parliament, Foreign Policy
This article analyses Turkish parliamentary discourse about Turkish communities living outside of Turkey from 1988 to 2016. It focuses particularly on the usage of the bridge metaphor in discursive strategies towards these communities; concentrated mainly in former Ottoman territories and parts of Eurasia. The article argues that Turkish parliamentarians used the bridge metaphor to frame Turkish communities as part of both the Turkish nation and the nation where they lived, thereby constituting their liminal and in-between identity. Parliamentarians continuously (re-)imagine, (re-)construct, and (re-)produce the Turkish nation by using different discursive strategies that included uniqueness, sameness or difference. They used identity markers as ethnicity, language, geography, history, and religion to address these strategies. Metaphorically framing Turkish communities as a bridge provided them a dominant bridge role, namely that of friendship and peace. By transforming Turkish communities into a bridge of friendship and peace, through different dimensions, they believed that they would have a positive and crucial role for the country where they live and for Turkey. This bridge role provided opportunities as well as limits, illustrating the interplay between discourse and foreign policy developments.