When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

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

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

Why Iran Is Pushing So Hard For A Russian Victory

The Supreme Leader's advisers in Tehran argue the Islamic Republic must back Russia in Ukraine because Russia is fighting a common enemy: the Western alliance.

Russia President Vladimir Putin meeting with Iran's leader Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran

-Analysis-

When he welcomed visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reassured his guest that Moscow rightfully defended itself when invading Ukraine. Speaking in Tehran, Khamenei declared: "Westerners are entirely opposed to a strong and independent Russia," and termed the NATO alliance "a dangerous creature."

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

His rambling speech continued, filled with baseless claims about NATO, saying the Western military alliance "knows no limits" and "would have provoked this same war, with Crimea as its excuse," if Putin hadn't acted first.

Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the conservative Tehran paper Kayhan, which reputedly reflects the Supreme Leader's thinking, wrote in an editorial a week after Putin's visit and evoked a "celestial perspective" that could see the realities behind "the curtain" of the war. Khamenei, the editor wrote, knows that if America were to win this war, Iran would become its next target, which is why he considers the Russian "resistance" in Ukraine as tied to the Iranian regime's own security.

Thus, he concluded of Khamenei: "logically and naturally, he backs it."

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

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
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ