Tag Archives: journalism

5 Yorumsuz – 5 Without Comment – 2015-04-21

Protestors pass a police TOMA on Istiklal Caddesi on 18 April as part of a march against the censorship of Bakur (North)
Protestors pass a police TOMA on Istiklal Caddesi on 18 April as part of a march against the censorship of Bakur (North)

1 – Ban on Bakur – Following last week’s ban of Bakur from the Istanbul Film Festival under direct threat from Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MOCT), cinema industry groups, other festivals, and viewers have banded together in a series of events to show solidarity with the film and to demand changes in the cinema law. The most comprehensive coverage of this multi-faceted story in English is as follows: Constanze Letsch provides a good summary of the situation overall while Yeşim Burul discusses the “certificate issue” used by the MOCT to justify its ban. Today’s Zaman covers the industry press conference in response to the ban, including a list of demands, and also notes IFF’s response to the MOCT’s attempts to place blame on the festival. Alisa Lebow offers useful context on the anti-Kurdish politics that clearly figured in the ban, while Hürriyet Daily News notes some aspects of the spread of this crisis to the Ankara International Film Festival. Beyond these it is worth noting that hundreds gathered for an anti-censorship march on Istiklal Caddesi on Saturday and then for a screening and forum on censorship in Abbasağa Park that night. The next steps may include a protest or march on the Ministry in Ankara this week or next, as part of the Ankara festival. (UPDATE: There’s also my recent piece on the issue for Variety.)

2 – Panic about Armenian past – In the lead-up to the 24 April 100th anniversary commemoration of the mass deportation and execution of Armenians by Ottomans, Turkish politicians and public personas have been in great panic about whether such events should be called “genocide.” Responding to Pope Francis’ use of the word “genocide” President Erdoğan urged the Pope not to repeat this “mistake,” PM Davutoğlu claimed the pontiff had joined a conspiracy against Turkey, and Ankara mufti Professor Mefail Hizli said that such speeches could lead to Hagia Sophia, currently a museum, being re-opened for Muslim worship. Meanwhile, the US called for a “frank” discussion of the facts surrounding the issue, while the European Parliament called the events a genocide. The latter led to Turkey’s three biggest political parties (AKP, CHP, MHP), which can agree about little else, issuing a joint statement of condemnation, and to PM Davutoğlu asking rhetorically why the US and Australia don’t recognize their own genocides of indigenous people. In the midst of this crisis Davutoğlu’s advisor, Etyen Mahçupyan, himself Armenian, said the events were a genocide, an event which coincided with his official retirement from his advisory role. Bosphorus University, in the mean time, has agreed to host a conference titled “Armenian Genocide: Concepts and Comparative Perspectives,” that was originally scheduled to be held at Bilgi University, but temporarily cancelled when the latter withdrew.

3 – Social research – Numerous outlets reported on the results of a recent social research project called “Politics in Turkey, freedom of Press and Internet.” Today’s Zaman highlighted aspects of the report dealing with censorship and the economy, while Hürriyet Daily News interviewed one of the reports’ authors, political science professor Ali Çarkoğlu.

4 – Trials and censorship round-up – President Erdoğan’s son, Bilal, lost a case against Cumhuriyet newspaper journalist Canan Coşkun for alleged insults, but won a case, alongside his farther, against BirGün newspaper journalist Bariş Ince on similar charges. Numerous columnists at Cumhuriyet are currently facing charges of insulting Erdoğan as well, while BirGün journalsit Zeynep Kuray was temporarily detained for alleged slander. Two reporters who have recently been critical of the AK-Party, Ali Aslan Kiliç and Uğur Telil, have been banned from parliament, though Parliament speaker Cemil Çiçek encouraged them to address the ban through legal means, noting he doesn’t want to be known as the speaker who banned the press. The main opposition CHP has filed a complaint against state TV channel TRT over censorship of a political ad, and pro-government media has continued a campaign of what its targets call hate speech, as reported by Today’s Zaman, which is part of the targeted Gülen community media. Finally, Turkey’s constitutional court has upheld a law requiring prison for those found to store what it terms “unnatural” pornography, a category that includes oral, anal, group, gay, or lesbian imagery.

5 – Erdoğan visits drama production – In a gesture marked by multiple symbolic overtones, President Erdoğan visited the set of the Ottoman TV series Filinta and sat in the director’s chair. While there, he and his wife Emine chatted with one of the show’s stars, German actress Wilma Elles. Emine reminded Elles that Erdoğan wants all women in Turkey to have three children, while Erdoğan himself encouraged the actress to become a Turkish citizen.

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5 Yorumsuz – 5 Without Comment – 2015-03-09

1 – Bianet – has released a summary report on the state of journalism in Turkey over the last three years.

The polarization of media and intolerance to different opinions in Turkey soared in the year of 2014 with the incidents of Local Elections on March 30, Presidential Elections on August 10, the resolution process with Kurds and operations against Fethullah Gülen Movement. What the polarizations meant was to choosing between self-censorship or layoffs for journalists, and violation to right to information for readers. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government prioritized in 2014 its “security-oriented” policies to state of law and basic rights and freedoms despite all criticism.

2 – Today’s Zaman, Radikal, and Zaytung (a satirical news site) – follow the ongoing interest in the Kabataş attack story from Gezi Park

Amid growing debate regarding a fabricated incident of harassment against a woman with a headscarf in Istanbul’s Kabataş neighborhood that apparently never took place, 14 columnists from five pro-government newspapers ran the same headline for their Thursday columns to back the government’s narrative without including any evidence but instead recounting the history of discrimination against the headscarf. During the Gezi Park protests that erupted during the summer of 2013, pro-government journalists reported that a headscarved woman named Zehra Develioğlu was attacked by Gezi protesters on a street in Kabataş on June 1. Although a large part of society was galvanized to turn against the Gezi protesters due to the incident — especially after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was prime minister at the time, said dozens of half-naked men had attacked the young woman and even urinated on her — footage from nearby security cameras discovered months later showed no evidence that such an attack had even taken place.

3 – Evrensel – notes that On the 4th of March, HDP co-president Selahattin Demirtaş was scheduled to appear on the Cüneyt Özdemir’s 5N1K program on Kanal D at 11:15pm, but the show was rescheduled at the last minute until 1:00am and didn’t actually air until 1:45am. Critics took to Twitter to suggest this was due to the AKP government’s intervention.

4 – Hürriyet Daily News and AlJazeera Turk

A court has ordered President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to pay 10,000 Turkish Liras to the artist responsible for a sculpture in the northeastern province of Kars, which he had demanded the removal of and described as a “freak.” During a Jan. 8, 2011 visit to Kars, then Prime Minister Erdoğan slammed the city’s new 35-meter-tall “Monument to Humanity,” created by sculptor Mehmet Aksoy. An Istanbul court ruled on March 3 for Erdoğan to pay 10,000 liras in moral indemnities to Aksoy, partially accepting the 100,000 liras case Aksoy had filed against Erdoğan.

5 – Medyafaresi – reports that the Turkish dizi (TV series) Son (meaning “the end”), by production firm Ay Yapım, will become the first drama format from Turkey adapted for US television when shooting starts on 27 March in Chicago. The US version of the series will be called Runner.