Pull the weeds out or perish: Using pandemic metaphors to strengthen in-group solidarity in Turkish political discourse

Ozcan E. E.

METAPHOR AND SYMBOL, vol.37, no.2, pp.171-184, 2022 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/10926488.2021.1994840
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Communication & Mass Media Index, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.171-184
  • Keywords: COVID-19, political discourse, Turkish, Critical Metaphor Analysis, pandemic metaphors, EUROPEAN-UNION, CANCER, SARS, DISEASE, JOURNEY, WAR, UK
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Political discourse relies heavily on specific discursive strategies to gain, exercise and sustain power. Among those are metaphors which have the power to persuade and the potential to carry certain ideological attachments with them. This study explores and discusses how political power holders in The Grand National Assembly of Turkey make use of conceptual metaphors while framing the COVID-19 outbreak. From 10 March to 10 June 2020, i.e. the time between the date of the first COVID-19 case in Turkey until the time when the government announced that the lockdown would start to ease, a total of 191 tweets were identified as metaphorically framing the pandemic. In accordance with Critical Metaphor Analysis and Discourse-Historical Approach, the results show that Turkish online political discourse uses COVID-19 metaphors in combination with specific argumentation schemes to foster self-presentationand promotes shared representations of Turkish national identity. The results also show that metaphorical framings of the pandemic in Turkish political discourse fit familiar experience patterns with roots in cultural and religious presuppositions. It is argued that the conceptual metaphors manifested in this crisis discourse act as significant tools to influence public opinion.