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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

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Society

"Stranger Things" Resurrects The U.S. Satanic Panic Of The 1980s

One of the major plotlines of the fourth season of Netflix's hit show, set in 1986, takes inspiration in the real satanic panic that swept the United States in the 1980s.

In Stranger Things' fourth season, Eddie Munson gets accused of flirting with the occult

Michael David Barbezat

From Kate Bush to Russian villainy, Season Four of Stranger Things revives many parts of the 1980s relevant to our times. Some of these blasts from the past provide welcome nostalgia. Others are like unwanted ghosts that will not go away. The American Satanic Panic of the 1980s is one of these less welcome but important callbacks.

In Stranger Things, season four, some residents of the all-American but cursed town of Hawkins hunt down the show’s cast of heroic misfits after labelling them as satanic cultists. The satanism accusation revolves around the game Dungeons and Dragons and the protagonists’ meetings to play it with other unpopular students at their high school as part of the Hellfire Club.

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