Embeddings-Based Clustering for Target Specific Stances: The Case of a Polarized Turkey


  • Ammar Rashed Özyeğin University
  • Mucahid Kutlu TOBB ETU
  • Kareem Darwish QCRI, HBKU
  • Tamer Elsayed Qatar University
  • Cansın Bayrak TOBB ETU




Web and Social Media


On June 24, 2018, Turkey conducted a highly consequential election in which the Turkish people elected their president and parliament in the first election under a new presidential system. During the election period, the Turkish people extensively shared their political opinions on Twitter. One aspect of polarization among the electorate was support for or opposition to the reelection of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In this paper, we present an unsupervised method for target-specific stance detection in a polarized setting, specifically Turkish politics, achieving 90% precision in identifying user stances, while maintaining more than 80% recall. The method involves representing users in an embedding space using Google's Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) based multilingual universal sentence encoder. The representations are then projected onto a lower dimensional space in a manner that reflects similarities and are consequently clustered. We show the effectiveness of our method in properly clustering users of divergent groups across multiple targets that include political figures, different groups, and parties. We perform our analysis on a large dataset of 108M Turkish election-related tweets along with the timeline tweets of 168k Turkish users, who authored 213M tweets. Given the resultant user stances, we are able to observe correlations between topics and compute topic polarization.




How to Cite

Rashed, A., Kutlu, M., Darwish, K., Elsayed, T., & Bayrak, C. (2021). Embeddings-Based Clustering for Target Specific Stances: The Case of a Polarized Turkey. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 15(1), 537-548. https://doi.org/10.1609/icwsm.v15i1.18082