Turkey

Diplomatic And Linguistic Roadblocks Keep Al Jazeera Turkish From Airing

Plans have long been in the works for a Turkish-language edition of Al Jazeera, which would help fulfil Turkey's diplomatic ambitions in the Middle East. But first they must resolve internal and external politics, and decide if PKK are to be call

Al Jazeera launched its English-language broadcast in 2006 (Paul Keller)
Al Jazeera launched its English-language broadcast in 2006 (Paul Keller)
Cengiz Semercioğlu

ISTANBUL - There are many ways for Turkey to fulfill its aspirations of becoming a major player in the Middle East. One sure way to be better seen and heard in the region would be the long awaited launch of a Turkish-language broadcast of satellite news giant Al Jazeera. Indeed, Turkey's Foreign Ministry has been a major proponent of an Al Jazeera Turkish project.

So why hasn't Al Jazeera started its Turkish broadcast yet? Is this related to Turkey's larger foreign policy dynamic, or to internal problems at Al Jazeera?

Al Jazeera's longtime managing director Waddah Khanfer, who brought the network to international prominence with the decision to release Osama Bin Laden's post 9/11 broadcasts, was eager to open a Turkish outlet, as well as one in Bosnia. But as Al Jazeera became a household name in news and Khanfer gained international prominence, the network's host country, Qatar grew concerned. Eventually, last September Khanfer stepped down from his post.

With Khanfer's removal as CEO, progress on both the Turkish and Bosnian broadcasts slowed. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera made separate investments in Turkish media by purchasing the CINE5 network, the first subscription-based television channel in Turkey.

Still Khanfer's removal isn't the only reason for the delay in Al Jazeera Turkish seeing the light of day. The broadcaster's editorial style also bears some responsibility. At the heart of the disagreement is controversy over how Al Jazeera will term the Kurdish militant group the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in its Turkish broadcasts. In its English and Arabic broadcasts, Al Jazeera does not call the PKK "terrorists' as they are generally referenced to in Turkey. Instead, Al Jazeera prefers the term "insurgent," as do most top international news agencies.

Al Jazeera has refused to budge on this point, considering it a matter of preserving journalistic standards. As a result, Turkey has found itself caught in a delicate situation with no easy solution, and has damaged the relationship between its Foreign Ministry and Al Jazeera. Earlier this year, a major Turkish investor, Vural Ak, withdrew from his partnership with Al Jazeera. Scholar and media expert Nuh Yilmaz, who had left a position in the United States to head up Al Jazeera's Turkish editorial team, wound up resigning alongside Ak.

So where does Al Jazeera Turkish go from here? Al Jazeera staff are still hard at work developing Turkish-language programming, and the close Turkey-Qatar relationship is as strong as ever. This could be enough to weather the crisis. But the experience is a reminder that a TV network that takes its news seriously should never be considered a tool for the foreign ministry.

Read the original article in Turkish

Photo - Paul Keller

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Future

​Will There Be A Legal Right To Telework?

Silicon Valley firms are leading the way in corporate policy, while European countries like Germany are beginning to draw up laws to create a bonafide legal right to work from home.

Home office, sweet home office

Carl-Johan Karlsson

Employers and governments around the world have been oscillating between full remote requirements to everyone-back-to-the-office to forever-flex schedules. Now, two years into the pandemic, working from home appears bound to be a feature of our current existence that will be with us — in some form — once COVID-19 is gone.

But even as companies experiment with different policies, others are pushing to see it translated into law — in other words, to make working from home a right.

Keep reading... Show less
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS
MOST READ