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Reading politics through emotions: ontological ressentiment as the emotional basis of current politics in Turkey

Nations and Nationalism

Published online on


--- - |2 Abstract For almost sixteen years now, politics in Turkey have been analysed with reference to the theme of victimhood. It is true that the political discourse of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi or AKP) gained its power by the mass response to its victimhood claims. Nevertheless, as this article argues, the legitimacy of the victimhood claim rests mainly on the already‐existing emotions of masses, aroused and triggered by political elites. Thus, Turkish politics during the AKP period cannot be thoroughly understood without taking into consideration the emotions of both political elites and the masses. This article shares insights into the sixteen‐year‐long AKP reign of power based on Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's appeals to such emotions as humiliation, envy, disgust, hatred, anxiety, and anger. It further argues that these emotions reveal a much deeper and stronger emotional trait which we identify as ontological ressentiment. - 'Nations and Nationalism, EarlyView. '