Media representations of naturalized athletes: Sentiment variations and trends in Turkish media

Elçin Istif Inci, Cem Tinaz, Umit Kuvvetli, Nefise Meltem Turgut

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Turkey has received consistent criticism from international media for having many naturalized athletes in its national squad, both in the Olympic Games and other major international sporting events. Similar criticisms have also been a feature of debates for a long time in domestic media, varying in views toward these athletes. This research focuses on media representations of naturalized athletes in Turkey between 2008 and 2020. We investigated the sentiments of news items from four major Turkish newspapers (Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Sabah and Fanatik) on their stances toward naturalized athletes over the timespan of 2008–2020. Beside analyzing the sentiment of the media content both cumulatively and fragmentedly, we also identified the yearly trends and most featured sports in this context, combining qualitative and quantitative techniques. Our findings showed that sentiments in Turkish media toward naturalized athletes are mostly neutral and negative as well as with differences varying on the basis of the newspapers and news item types. The most criticism underlined pursuing “shortcut” success with naturalized athletes representing Turkey in the international arena. Among the featured sports, basketball, football, and track and field have been the most discussed ones in the naturalization context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1665-1685
JournalMedia, Culture & Society
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


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