Changing naturalization discourses for neoliberal mega projects under AKP rule : cases of 3rd bridge, 3rd airport and canal Istanbul
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This thesis elaborates on the question of how Justice and Development Party’s (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) articulation of legitimization discourses for mega projects such as 3rd Bridge, 3rd Airport and Canal Istanbul changes in line with the rising opposition at both domestic and international levels. The thesis utilizes Historical Marxist Geography’s insights to indicate the issues to be legitimized about the neoliberal urban practices; such as gentrification of cities, strengthening of class-relations, rent seeking motives behind urban management and exclusion of majority from the decision-making procedures. While Marxist geographers argue that the elites articulate legitimization discourses based on economic development, environmental sustainability and urban security promises; they tend to ignore the socio-political context. This thesis directs attention to the socio-political atmosphere to analyze how AKP elites articulate their naturalization discourses. The historical process of AKP’s construction of hegemony over domestic politics led to the emergence of strong opposition since 2013. The evolution of the Party’s articulation of the opposition and further othering practices against it will be analyzed to demonstrate how AKP has articulated these developments for the legitimization discourses of neoliberal mega projects. To understand the changes in legitimization discourses, the Critical Discourse Analysis will be employed on the speeches given by AKP elites between 2010-2013 - in the absence of widespread opposition - and after 2013, when the government had started to face strong opposition in domestic and international arenas and pursued further othering practices against alleged enemies.