Nationalist bias in Turkish official discourse on hate speech: a Rawlsian criticism


TURKISH STUDIES, vol.20, no.1, pp.26-48, 2019 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683849.2018.1479961
  • Journal Name: TURKISH STUDIES
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.26-48
  • Keywords: Hate speech, nationalism, freedom of speech, political justice, minorities, Hrant Dink, Turkish politics
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This article analyzes the approach in Turkey on hate speech by evaluating legal regulations, decisions and public responses. We argue that the Turkish case cultivates neither a lenient, nor a restrictive response to hate speech, because a strong nationalist bias seems to be at work in interpreting, penalizing or allowing hate speech. The peculiarity of the Turkish case stems from a prejudice that hate speech might be conducted only against the nation, unity of the state, or the principles of regime, rather than against vulnerable groups or identities. By focusing on the Hrant Dink case among others we try to demonstrate the most striking example of this prejudice.