UKH Journal of Social Sciences | Volume 5 • Number 1 • 2021 98
Effects of the Facebook Boycott Campaign on Turkish
Products and its Influence on Demand of Kurdish
Consumers 2020
Hardawan Mahmoud Kakashekh
1,a*
, Hersh Rasool Murad
2,b
, Araz Ramazan Ahmad
3,4,c
, Muhammad
Saud
5,d
1
Assistant Professor, Department of Media, College of Arts, Salahaddin University-Erbil, Erbil, Iraq
2
Assistant Professor, Department of Technical Media, Technical College of Administration, Sulaimani Polytechnic
University, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq
3
Assistant Professor, Department of Administration, College of Humanities, University of Raparin, Ranya, Iraq
4
Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations & Diplomacy, Faculty of Administrative Sciences and
Economics, Tishk International University, Erbil, Iraq
5
Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social and Political Science, University of Airlangga, Surabaya, Indonesia
E-mail:
a
b
[email protected]spu.edu.iq,
c
[email protected]uor.edu.krd,
d
1. Introduction
There are different reasons that clients choose local products rather than good from overseas. They include (Hinck,
2005): 1) the basis of the overseas products, 2) patriotism, 3) ethnocentrism and fanaticism, 4) hostility, and 5) loyalty.
It is clear that the values of bias also affect preferences for external things (O’Cass & Lim, 2002). A diversity of
researchers have discovered the negative or positive preferences of clients regarding overseas products (Knight, 1999;
Watson, 2000; Kaynak & Kara, 2002). Recently in 2020, Kurdish consumers started boycotting Turkish products as a
response to the Turkish invasion of a part of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (also known as
Rojava or Syrian Kurdistan). Boycotts among nations are quite normal and there is frequent boycotting of products of
Access this article online
Received on: March 28, 2021
Accepted on: May 3, 2021
Published on: June 30, 2021
DOI: 10.25079/ukhjss.v5n1y2021.pp98-106
E-ISSN: 2520-7806
Copyright © 2021 Hardawan et al. This is an open access article with Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License 4.0
(CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Abstract
Boycotting is one of the most effective anti-consumption tactics used against practices deemed unethical or
unjustifiable, and calling to boycott products through social media platforms has become a trend recently among
young people. This paper studies the motives and causes of boycotting Turkish products among Iraqi Kurds and
highlights the effects of the Facebook Boycott Campaign on Turkish products and Kurdish consumer demand. The
research data has been collected through an online survey posted and published on several Facebook pages and
groups in Iraqi Kurdistan. The findings from 1378 Facebook users who participated in the Facebook Boycott
Campaign of Turkish products in Iraqi Kurdistan show that indirect support for Turkish policies to exterminate and
invade Kurdish communities constitutes the leading cause of the Boycott Campaign. In addition, participation in the
Facebook Boycott Campaign against Turkish products is considered a national duty more than an ethnic, ethical,
religious, or other duty to humanity. The majority of participants believe that continuing to participate in the
Facebook Boycott Campaign against Turkish products will have a huge impact on the Turkish economy and it is a
warning to the Turkish government regarding its foreign policy towards Kurds.
Keywords: Facebook, Boycott Campaign; Turkish products; Consumer demand, Iraqi Kurdistan.
Research Article
UKH Journal of Social Sciences | Volume 5 • Number 1 • 2021 99
particular countries around the world (Sandıkcı & Ekici, 2009; Sutikno & Cheng, 2011). Everyone has wants and needs,
which makes them consume something to fulfil their wants and/or needs but sometimes consumer demands may
change (Fisher, 2020). Consumers are individuals who use goods or services available in the community, both for
personal needs or for many people, but not to be traded (Rossanty Ario & Nasution, 2018; Schiffman & Kanuk, 2000).
Buyer behavior is the progression an individual goes through in finding, purchasing, using, assessing and acting after
the consumption of goods, facilities and notions that are predictable to encounter their desires (Chao & Schor, 1998).
This behavior is the basis for someone to consume something to meet his/her needs. Chao and Schor (1998) defines
status included with consuming a product as a form of purchasing activity carried out by an individual who craves the
social status they want. Consequently, consumers buy a product not only because it meets their daily needs, but there is
an additional reason that may be defined as patriotism in the act of boycotting products from other countries. The
culture of boycotting Turkish products among Kurdish communities can influence consumption behavior (Cukur &
Carlo, 2004; Sandıkcı & Ekici, 2009; Schneider et al., 2011). People may have dissimilar motives to participate in boycott
campaigns (Ettenson et al., 2006). Consumer culture itself is a determinant of one's desires and behaviors, especially in
decision making behavior and purchasing behavior (Rossanty, Ario & Nasution. 2018). Thus, the patriotic ban on
boycotting products can complement the identity and behavior that can be accepted by the wider community. This
might include clothing, appearance, communication, language, food, relationships, beliefs, and others that are
unconsciously consumed because of the curative values that are integrated into their daily habits. As Klein (2002)
emphasized, a boycott can happen as it is a consumers way to use power to not buy products or to disagree (Klein,
2002).
In consumption behavior, products have functions, forms, and meanings. Consumers will think about whether the
product chosen is able to meet their needs or not, both physical fulfilment and the prestige that they have. Likewise,
with the consumption behavior of ‘millennials’ in Kurdish communities, this generation is considered to have a
hedonic purchasing behavior that is supported by certain motives that influence purchasing decisions. Some clients
may join in boycotts because of group pressures and their influences (Delistavrou, Krystallis, & Tilikidou, 2020). A
similar example among Muslim communities can be seen with the boycotts of Danish brands in their home country
(Al Hyari et al., 2012). Furthermore, Hoffmann and Muller (2009) claim that the buyer boycotts for various reasons,
which include 1) regularity, reasons and aims of boycotts; 2) outcomes of goods; 3) personal incentives (see Figure 1).
Therefore, among these three reasons for boycotting, an individual’s motivations get the minimum attention (Klein,
2002). The present research highlights the main aspects of boycotting Turkish products among Kurdish consumers,
and how the act of boycotting influences them.
2. Social Media and Political Consumerism
The usage of social media and political consumerism can be seen as an alternative to political engagement, mainly among
the new generation, with the use of new forms of political consumerism such as online boycotting on internet sites and
social networking websites, becoming the center for the action by consumers. Thus, the boycott campaign on Turkish
products by young Kurdish consumers in Iraqi Kurdistan can be seen as a reaction to the Turkish invasion of towns in
northern Syria (Rojava), and can be considered a political campaign among young consumers in Iraqi Kurdistan. Political
consumerism consists of three forms including boycotts, boycotts and discursive actions (Micheletti et al, 2007). This
study has focused on the boycott. Political consumerism is a structure whose driving forces are self-expression, mutual
respect and warning, and it has its basis in the action system (Follesdal, 2004). According to Odabaı (2008), political
consumerism is a way of doing politics via the market. It is assumed that political consumerism contains both individual
behavior (critical buying) and organized collective action (participation in groups and associations). However, it cannot
be ignored that the effects of individual actions depend on collective results (Pellizzoni, 2007). Furthermore, boycotts
are a negative form of political consumerism and can be defined as one or more groups’ attempts to motivate individual
buyers about avoidance of buying products to reach a set of goals (Torlak, 2007). Boycotts encourage consumers to
break with institutional actors by refusing to buy their products. The boycotts aim is to force businesses to change their
institutional policies by motivating consumers against products or producers (Micheletti, 2004).
Political consumption is a subcategory of “resistance” identity (Cherrier, 2009) and, thus, when consumers boycott
foreign goods for political reasons. Whistle and Micheletti (2002) describe political consumerism as an individualized
collective action. Political consumerism uses market actions and consumer choice as a political tool (Micheletti, 2003;
Micheletti, Follesdal, 2004). Moreover, Strømsnes (2004) states that political consumption is a form of participation that
appeals to an urban, radical, well-educated and politically interested elite, but do not support the impression of political
consumption as an income or dependent kind of political participation. The main aim of this study is to highlight the
effects of the Facebook Boycott Campaign on Turkish products and its influence on Kurdish Consumer demand in
2020. This indicates that there is a relation between the demand on Turkish products and the effects of the Facebook
Boycott Campaign. In addition to addressing the possible correlation among the effects of the Facebook Boycott
UKH Journal of Social Sciences | Volume 5 • Number 1 • 2021 100
Campaign on Turkish products in Iraqi Kurdistan. Thus, the present study investigates utilizing social media ‘Facebook’
to analyze the opinion of Kurdish communities, and how they have boycotted the Turkish products in online spheres.
3. Methodology
The present study is quantitative in nature. Data was collected through an online survey, and analyzed through the
content analysis method. A prepared online survey was disseminated on Facebook to approach the majority of the
Kurdish respondents. It was quite difficult for the researchers to approach the respondents as the eligibility to fill in the
questionnaire form was to be Iraqi Kurdish. A total number of 1378 respondents were sampled from October 2019 to
January 15, 2020. Alongside the online campaign data was collected for three months. The data is presented in tabulation,
figure and analysis through SPSS software. The research relied on quantitative methodology to obtain data from
Facebook users. First, the questionnaire was prepared in the Kurdish language, and 1378 Facebook users were sampled
to collect the data. In addition, the study relied on a descriptive content analysis approach to examine the data, where
SPSS V25 was used to categorize and test the results. The Facebook users participated in an online questionnaire for
‘The Facebook Boycott Campaign against Turkish Products”.
4. Analysis and Findings
All the statistical computations of this paper were performed by using SPSS 25. First, the data was encoded, organized,
and presented in a form. Then, the other numerical methods were used to regulate the outcomes of the research. Also,
the reliability of the questionnaire was tested through Alpha Cronbach, and statistical measures like frequency,
percentage, mean, standard deviation, coefficient of variance, and relative importance were used to conduct descriptive
statistical analysis of the demography, effects of the Facebook Boycott Campaign, and Turkish product data. Inferential
data analysis was conducted using the following: Pearson bivariate association was used to find the relationship among
the effects of the Facebook Boycott Campaign and demand on Turkish products. The simple regression model has been
used to determine the effects of the Facebook Boycott Campaign on Turkish products and its influence on young
Kurdish Consumers' demand in 2020.
4.1. Questionnaire Reliability
Questionnaire reliability determines the correctness, reliability, stability, and stability of the study. The data has been
collected from more than 200 respondents for research, which is considered a good sample size for conducting such
type of research according to Plano and Creswell (2015).
4.2. Resolution Test
The reliability and validity of the participants’ response to the questionnaire was determined by using Alpha Cronbach.
Table 1 shows the reliability of the test results. First, the Ronbach alpha coefficient was used for measuring the stability
of the questionnaire to determine the accuracy of the data collected from the sample of this research online. As can be
seen in Table 1 the total result of the Alpha Cronbach coefficient of the effects of the Facebook Boycott Campaign and
Turkish products with the effects on young Kurdish consumer demand in 2020 is 0.893 with a validity of 0.797 which,
both together, indicate the high reliability of the questionnaire.
Table 1. Reliability and validity test results.
Alpha Cronbach
coefficient
N. of class
Variable
No
Independent variable
0.911
5
The Effects of the Facebook Boycott
Campaign
1
Dependent variable
0.866
4
Turkish Products
2
0.893
9
Total
Section 1: Demographic variables
Table 2 presents the demographic variables based on the gender and location of the respondents and data analysis. From
the results shown in Table 2, it can be concluded that the majority of the respondents recorded were male (70.8%) and
(29.2%) were female. Moreover, the number of participants inside Iraqi Kurdistan was much higher than those abroad
with 84% of participants inside Iraqi Kurdistan and only 16% outside of the country.
Table 2. Demographic data analysis.
Variables
Frequency
Percent %
Gender
Male
975
70.8%
Female
403
29.2%
UKH Journal of Social Sciences | Volume 5 • Number 1 • 2021 101
Location
Inside Iraqi Kurdistan
1158
84%
Outside Iraqi Kurdistan
220
16%
Total
1378
100.0
Section 2: The study’s main variables
The study’s main variables include the questions that were forwarded to the participants. Table 3 presents the main
variables of the study. From the results shown in Table 3, it can be concluded that 61.95% of the boycott campaign
participation against Turkish products was conducted through Facebook, while 16.94% mentioned it was through
friends and 10.77% was through websites. Furthermore, 36.62% of the campaign was supported by the liking of posts,
and the second most common response was the sharing of posts on boycott groups with 20.74%. The lowest reported
responses was from those who supported the campaign by sharing posts at only 10.37%. As time went by, marketing
rules had to change, and we had an important role to show and increase these changes. Today even though television
still has a non-negligible impact on the communication process, social media has played an important role in driving
buying aims along with bringing product engagement in the numerically interacted society (Meadows-Klue, 2008). In
addition, 25.3 % of the participants of this study believe that participating in the boycott is a national responsibility.
Also, Altintas and his colleagues (2013) state that clients are pushed to the extreme level by nationwide motivations
when they boycott external products. Hinck (2005) believes that nationalism is one of the reasons that motivates clients
to elect for local rather than overseas goods along with other factors including the origin of foreign goods, ethnocentrism,
animosity, and patriotism.
According to Table 3, 20.88% of participants believe that boycotting Turkish products is an ethnic duty; 20.68% believe
it is an ethical duty, and 20.57% believe it is a humanistic duty. Moreover, 28.69% believe that continuing the Boycott
Campaign against Turkish products on Facebook will bring a huge impact on the Turkish economy. 26.61% of the
participants consider it as a warning to Turkey regarding foreign policy towards Kurds, adding purchaser boycotts
establish significant instances of this sort of response. Vociferous perspectives, because of their rationale of social
personality or aggregate activity, may show themselves in the hypothesis or practice of boycotts. Despite the fact that
there has been expanded interest in purchaser blacklists (Cromie & Ewing, 2009; Lee, Motion & Conroy, 2009), and
23.99% believe it will shift the business direction of Kurdish business owners from Turkey to other countries. This will
have the effect of shoppers' decisions to buy unfamiliar items, which may be influenced by the spot of birthplace of
such items, additionally assumes a significant function in impacting customer buying conduct (LeClerc & Schmitt, 1994).
Under the impact of this campaign, 24.67% of respondents understood that the buying of Turkish products by Kurdish
customers is a form of indirect support for Turkish military actions including the fight against Kurdish forces and the
invasion of Kurdish lands. Whereas 21.16% understood that it has a negative impact on Kurdish economic development,
and 15.9% of respondents understood that the purchase of Turkish products by Kurdish customers increases the
national consciousness among Kurds. In some countries, animosity has played a key role in consumer behavior for
foreign goods because of historical ethnic conflicts; according to Nakos and Hajidimitriou (2007), enmity alludes to a
buyer's negative emotions towards the results of a specific nation. Figure 1 represents the percent of each answer
collected for each question.
Table 3. Descriptions of some questions.
Question
Frequency
Percent %
Which of the following mean/s have you used to get involved in the Boycott Campaign against Turkish
products (more than one option is applicable)
Facebook
1306
61.95
Radio
32
1.52
Local TV channels
66
3.13
International TV channels
120
5.69
Websites
227
10.77
Friends
357
16.94
Total
2108
100.0
How did you support the Boycott Campaign against Turkish products
By sharing posts in boycott groups
644
20.74
By liking posts
1137
36.62
By writing comments on posts
607
19.55
UKH Journal of Social Sciences | Volume 5 • Number 1 • 2021 102
By sharing posts
322
10.37
By tagging and mentioning others to boycott groups
395
12.72
Total
3105
100.0
As a Kurdish customer, I believe participating in the Boycott Campaign against the Turkish products is:
(more than one option is applicable)
A National Duty
1140
25.30
An Ethnic Duty
941
20.88
An Ethical Duty
932
20.68
A Religious Duty
526
11.67
Humanity Duty
927
20.57
None of the Above
40
0.89
Total
4506
100.0
As a Kurdish customer, I believe continuing the Boycott Campaign against Turkish products on
Facebook will bring these outcomes: (more than one option is applicable)
Huge impacts on the Turkish economy
1032
28.69
Warning Turkey’s foreign policy towards Kurds
957
26.61
Warning Turkish people about their view on Kurds
755
20.99
Will shift the business direction of Kurdish business owners from Turkey to
other countries
853
23.71
Total
3597
100.0
Under the impact of this campaign, I understand that buying Turkish products by Kurdish costumers is:
Indirect support for Turkey exterminating and invading Kurds
948
24.67
In cases of purchasing Turkish products, local products will be affected
negatively
701
18.25
It has negative impacts on Kurdish economic development
769
20.02
It has negative side effects on health as exported goods are not always safe
813
21.16
It will increase national consciousness among Kurds
611
15.90
Total
3842
100.0
Figure 2(a). Question 1.
Figure 1(b). Question 2.