Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security
18th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security, March 9-10, 2023, Towson, Maryland
As social and political discourse in most countries becomes more polarized, anti-Americanism has risen not only in the Middle East and Latin America but also among the U.S. allies in Europe. Social media is one platform used to disseminate anti-American views in NATO countries, and its effectiveness can be magnified when mass media, public officials, and popular figures adopt these views. Disinformation, in particular, has gained recognition as a cybersecurity issue from 2016 onward, but disinformation can be manufactured domestically in addition to being part of a foreign influence campaign. In this paper, we analyze Turkish tweets using sentiment analysis techniques and compare the model's results to the manual investigation based on qualitative research. We investigate institutional conditions, social and mass media control, and the state of political discourse in Turkey and focus on narratives pertaining to the purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia by Turkey, as well as the actors spreading these narratives, analyzing for popularity, narrative type, and bot-like behavior. Our findings suggest that although anti-American sentiment has held relatively steady in Turkey since 2003, the tightening of control over mass media networks in Turkey and the adoption of conspiratorial rhetoric by President Erdogan and his allies in the AKP from 2014 onward amplified anti-American sentiment and exacerbated negative sentiment on social media by pitting users against one another. This study and its findings are important because they highlight the importance of social and psychological components of cybersecurity. The ease by which disinformation efforts, influence operations, and other “softer” forms of cyber- and information warfare can be carried out means that they will only grow more common.
Copyright © 2023 Russell Korb, Saltuk Karahan, Gowri Prathap, Ekrem Kaya, Luke Palmieri, Hamdi Kavak.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
Original Publication Citation
Korb, R., Karahan, S., Prathap, G., Kaya, E., Palmieri, L., & Kavak, H. (2023) S-400s, disinformation, and anti-American sentiment in Turkey. In R. L. Wilson & M. B. Curran (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (pp. 181-188) Academic Conferences International Limited. https://doi.org/10.34190/iccws.18.1.992
Korb, Russell "Alex"; Karahan, Saltuk; Prathap, Gowri; Kaya, Ekrem; Palmieri, Luke; Kavak, Hamdi; Wilson, Richard L. (Ed.); and Curran, Major Brendan (Ed.), "S-400s, Disinformation, and Anti-American Sentiment in Turkey" (2023). Political Science & Geography Faculty Publications. 56.
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Acknowledgements: This work is funded by the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative program: The Role of Cybersecurity in the Spread of Misinformation and Disinformation. Award# H-4Q21-015.