Mitigating the Political Cost of Financial Crisis with Blame Avoidance Discourse: The Case of Turkey - Büşra SÖYLEMEZ-KARAKOÇ and Merih ANGIN25/04/2023
ULUSLARARASI ILISKILER, ADVANCED ONLINE PUBLICATION, 2023
Büşra SÖYLEMEZ-KARAKOÇ* and Merih ANGIN**
How do centralized governments mitigate the political cost of severe financial crises? The economic voting scholarship has established that the clarity of responsibility, i.e., government accountability for economic conditions to the mass public, is a necessity for electoral reward or punishment for economic performance. On the one hand, political centralization, which reduces the number of veto players, may increase the visibility of the role of the executive in policy success or failure. On the other hand, it allows an uncontested blame avoidance discourse, especially when accompanied with democratic backsliding. Furthermore, the recent backlash against globalization has enabled blame shifting to international actors in many countries. Against this theoretical framework, we comparatively analyze the responsibility attribution discourses for the 1994, 2001, and 2018-2022 financial crises in the statements of incumbent presidents, ministers, and parliament members of Turkey. We find that while blame avoidance discursive strategies have been attempted in all three cases, the responsibility attribution for the 1994 and 2001 crises mostly targeted the executive. In contrast, for the ongoing crisis, the responsibility discourse is dominated with blaming international political economy factors, creating ambiguity, and targeting domestic non-governmental actors.
Keywords: blame politics, economic voting, backlash against globalization, responsibility attribution, democratic backsliding
* Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University, Evanston
** Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, Koç University, Istanbul