Invention of Catastrophe: Mediated Remembering Forms, August 17, 1999 Earthquake

OVA N., ceyhan ç.

Understanding Transition Conference - Mediatizing memory: History and its mediatic construction, Bükreş, Romania, 11 - 12 May 2018, pp.27

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Bükreş
  • Country: Romania
  • Page Numbers: pp.27


Turkey's Marmara region was hit by an earthquake of 7.4 magnitudes on August 17, 1999. According to the official figures, 17 thousand 480 people lost their lives, 23 thousand 781 people were injured, 285 thousand 211 houses were damaged.This catastrophe and trauma has been remembered for 18 years. The earthquake that produced itself as a historical moment revealed the fragility of the society. At the same time the earthquake was mediated. The media created a historical construction of earthquake with discourse networks. Memories, rituals and events were reproduced in the common memory of the nation through the media since the earthquake hit the region.

As of 2000s, the government initiated a new wave of reconstruction. The construction and composition of cities in Turkey were changing while economic growth dependent to the construction sector. Multi-layered discourses of media, constructed a new discursive network praising economic growth by means of the construction sector. In the midst of 2010, prospective hazardous earthquake which might hit Marmara Region seemed to be forgotten. The media had constructed a new discursive network about the earthquake. In 2017, in the 18th commemoration of the disaster, there are two types of discursive structural forms of the media.

In this study, we will try to understand how the two discursive networks are reconciled via media through digital resources with media archeology methodology. This methodology consists of two principle studies, one of them based on the MichelFoucault’s archaeology of knowledge the other is, German scholar, Friedrich Kittler; study of media technologies. This theory and methodological approach enables us to understand how catastrophe discourse has changed and eventually how the issue has been discussed over time. This study will address the historical milestones of Turkish political life in 18 years. Besides, the collective memory was invented in political institutions and media over the past 18 years in the case of August 17, 1999 earthquake. Within the scope of the study, the news stories which were published17- 18 -19 August about “August 17 Earthquake” from 1999 up until 2017, has been analyzed based on the news of the mainstream media Hürriyet and Sabahnewpapers, which have been selected according to their circulation number.