Attention-influencing as a rhetorical strategy in German and Turkish Parliamentary debates
Rhetoric as the art of using human communicative abilities effectively in order to promote individual or collective interests is a permanent and inherent feature of dialogue as a mixed game. In parliamentary debates, influencing attention is used as a rhetorical strategy. Speakers anticipate their audience’s as well as the public’s perception. They target and influence the direction and intensity of attention in various political domains. Politicians have to mediate between institutional functions and roles and their electorate’s expectations. If they do this, they can easily get into conflicts of interest. In October 2004, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan and the then German Foreign Minister Joseph Fischer declared their positions regarding the scheduled accession of Turkey to the European Union. Two sample analyses are taken from their speeches given during two national parliamentary debates. Rhetorical strategies dependent on different cultural conditions were used by these political leaders to shift attention from internal conflicts which could weaken their position.