How does the Media coverage of Bayraktar Drones Affect Turkish Foreign Policy Image?

According to Van Dijk, media discourse plays a critical role in the reproduction of ideologies. This article aims to focus on the media coverage of Bayraktar TB2 Drones within the framework of Van Dijk’s critical discourse analysis method. The Bayraktar TB2 Drones have started to attract the attention of Western media in recent years. It is known that, Bayraktar TB2 drones were heavily used in military operations against PKK terrorists.

Van Dijk’s Approach

The socio-cognitive approach is one of the methodologies used in critical discourse studies. According to Dijk (1993) the headlines define the coherence or semantic unity of discourse. Van Dijk proposed categories of ideological analysis conducive to the representation of “Us” versus “Them” which some of them are as follows:

-Authority: mentioning authorities to support one’s argument.

 -Categorization: classifying people to different groups and attributing them positive or negative characteristics.

-Polarization: categorizing people in in-groups and out-groups and assigning good attributes to the in-group and bad attributes to the outgroup.

-Vagueness: using vague expressions which do not have definite referents.

Bayraktar TB2 Drones

Bayraktar drones which have recently been exported to many countries of the world also took an active role in the recent Azerbaijan-Armenia war and changed the course of the war and brought Azerbaijan to superiority. In Russia-Ukraine war, the song “Bayraktar” which tells about the Bayraktar drones became popular among the Ukrainian soldiers as one of the symbols of the Ukrainian resistance. Ukraine bought the first drones from Turkey in 2019 and at least 36 drones have been delivered to Ukraine so far.

The Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude unmanned combat aerial vehicle capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations. It is manufactured by Baykar Makina for the Turkish Armed Forces. Its first flight was held in 2014. The 6.5-metre long Bayraktar TB2 drone is around seven times lighter than its UK counterpart the Reaper drone.

According to the information presented in the web page of Baykar, the drones have been carrying out missions successfully within the Turkish Armed Forces, Gendarmerie and the Turkish National Police.

By 2022, TB2 drones were used in military conflicts in Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh and Ukraine. TB2 drones destroyed over 750 military vehicles, including tanks, trucks, air defense systems and so on. During military action in Syria and Libya these drones hit Russian-made short-range air defense systems.

Bayraktar TB2 Drones in Russia-Ukraine War

According to a researcher of military technology Mauro Gilli “The TB2 produced by the company Bayraktar is one of the two prominent armed drones produced by Turkey [the other being the Anka produced by Turkish Aerospace Industry]. It is cheaper than other Western models, but it has a good performance in key parameters.” Recently, several videos have been circulated on the internet showing Bayraktar TB2 destroying Russian tanks. The Ukranian Ministry of Defense put up clips of Bayraktar wreaking havoc on Russian military units, including surface-to-air missile systems and supply trucks.

Concluding Remarks

According to CNN reporting, Ukrainian officials see Bayraktar TB2 drones as one of the most powerful weapons in their arsenal. In April 2022, CNN International made an interview with Baykar’s chief technology officer, Selçuk Bayraktar who is also the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The media representation of certain events is undisputedly influential on the country profile in international arena. Thus, the media coverage of Bayraktar drones through using rhetorical strategies including mentioning authorities can be viewed as an instrument in contributing to the foreign policy profile of Turkey.

*This article is a summary of the proceeding paper presented in the 2. International Congress of Law and Politics studies held by Atatürk University.

Dr.Begum Burak
Dr.Begum Burak
Dr. Begüm Burak is an independent researcher. In 2015, Ms. Burak got her PhD degree. During her occupation as a teaching assistant, she got engaged in short-term academic activities in Italy, United Kingdom, Bosnia and Spain. In 2018, she became one of the founding members of For her twitter visit: @begumburak1984