The only “Kurdish media training office in Turkey” is 2 years old

The Diyarbakir office of Botan International, which was set up with the support of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), is now two years old. Botan International’s media training office is the first Kurdish media training office in the history of the Turkish state, and RSF is the first international organisation to support a Kurdish media office […]

The only “Kurdish media training office in Turkey” is 2 years old
The only “Kurdish media training office in Turkey” is 2 years old
  • Yayınlanma14 August 2023 12:36
  • Güncelleme17 August 2023 20:35

The Diyarbakir office of Botan International, which was set up with the support of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), is now two years old.

Botan International’s media training office is the first Kurdish media training office in the history of the Turkish state, and RSF is the first international organisation to support a Kurdish media office in Turkey.

The office was established in August 2021 and has been open every day since its establishment, except for the two weeks when the earthquake hit Diyarbakir.

The office has a studio, a workshop room/news center, and an interview room, which journalists and NGOs can use free of charge.

These services are now run with the support of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED).

Two years in figures:

Nergis İnal’s Digital Security Workshop

Number of workshops and meetings organised by BotanInt and NGOs at the BotanInt office: 61

Number of participants in Botan International workshops: 318 (women: 204, men: 114)


Number of videos and podcasts recorded free of charge by journalists and CSOs

Number of video programmes recorded in the studio: 946

Number of podcast programmes recorded in the studio: 711


Number of foreign journalists working in our office: 42 (they were kind enough to leave notes in our guestbook in 16 languages)

Number of local journalists and institutions that have benefited: There is no exact figure because there is a lot of sequestration, but there is no doubt that BotanInt office is the most active media office in Diyarbakır.


Until August 14, 2023;

The number of articles and news stories published on botantimes.com

In Kurdish 2.052

Translated into English: 174


Brief history of BotanInt

Botan International office opening program

Botan International, the first and only Kurdish media training organization in the history of the Turkish state, was established in Şırnak in 2020 and started its Digital Media Workshops online due to the pandemic.

BotanInt organized the first two workshops with the financial support of Zuzan Barwari, Diyar Mizûrî, Ali Bayram and the salaries earned by Murat Bayram as a freelance journalist.

Murat Bayram was also the sole employee of the company. Vahdet Uçar started working when the Diyarbakir office was established in August 2021, Semiha Yıldız and Ekrem Yıldız started at the end of the year.

Today, BotanInt has 8 employees, 22 contract authors, and 23 trainers.

Advocacy reports on freedom of expression in Turkey

Murat Bayram for The Guardian, UK, World Press Freedom Day

Representing BotanInt, Murat Bayram wrote 6 reports on the situation of Kurdish media in Turkey and suggestions for improvement. These reports were sent to 5 news websites, more than 100 news portals quoted them in their news.

Bayram attended 43 meetings, and Vahdet Uçar attended 1 international meeting. The speaker at 14 meetings was a BotanInt representative.

Germany Ambassador to Ankara Jürgen Schulz and the delegation of the Embassy with Botan International CEO and Trainers

We had diplomatic contacts. Germany Ambassador to Ankara, Jürgen Schulz and UK Embassy in Ankara, Minister Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission, Turkey, Marianne Young visited our office.

Marianne Young, UK Ambesy, Minister Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission, Turkey

Music Beyond Borders: A short film about anti-Kurdish discrimination in Turkey by Botan International in partnership with MRGI

This short film takes you back to the 1980s in Turkey, where the Kurdish language and music were forbidden. Watch as soldiers try to prevent the music from being played at a wedding, only to be left powerless when they hear the sounds of a neighbouring Kurdish village across the Syrian border.

“Self-Learning Kurdish Digital Media Article Series”

Kurdish media education is banned in Turkey. Workshops are not in the status of education but in the status of information exchange activities such as panels and symposiums. That’s why we organise workshops. We couldn’t publish a book that could be considered a ‘textbook’ for workshops. Activities with educational status can be a textbook.

BotanInt published the Kurdish Digital Media e-book in 2022 as the “Self-Learning Kurdish Digital Media Article Series”. It’s definitely not a textbook, but a series of articles in preparation for workshops. These articles are lecture notes from trainers who teach.

In Kurdish – Rojnamegerîya Kurdî ya Dîjîtal

In English (Short summary of the Kurdish edition)

BotanTimes was launched on BotanInt, the most widely read Kurdish website in Turkey

In the projects we ran with RSF, we wanted workshop participants to produce a news item or programme. We paid royalties for these works. botantimes.com was launched as a site where these news would be published.

In 2023, with the support of EED, two female journalists, Beril Caymaz and Gülistan Korban, who had previously participated in the workshop, started working as editors.

This changed the male-female ratio of BotanInt’s 7 staff members to 5 women and 2 men.

In 2023, by the support of the Chrest Foundation: Semiha Yıldız became the editor of the podcast, Ekrem Yıldız became the editor of the opinion service. 22 authors started to write for the website under a contract. It was inevitable that we would become by far the most read Kurdish website in Turkey.

BT has become the only in Kurdish website in Turkey where people from completely different parties and ideas can see themselves in its stories and articles.

We translate the reports and statements of journalist organisations such as RSF, IPI, MLSA, DFG, TGS into Kurdish.

Creating our own trainer staff

Hatice Kamer’s Kurdish Podcast Workshop

According to open sources, there are Turkish media departments in 76 universities in Turkey. the majority; There are more than 200 Turkish media education programs supported by the European Union.

There was no media education in Kurdish, so there were no journalists who gave education in Kurdish.

Hatice Kamer, who works for the BBC, has 22 years of journalism experience, Mahmut Bozarslan, who works for AFP and VOA, has 27 years of journalism experience; Reuters’ very successful photographer Sertaç Kayar and 20 more journalists and experts started to share their experiences in Kurdish in our workshops.

Mehdi Mutlu’s Kurdish TV Programs Workshop

Botan International offered Kurdish journalists with international journalism experience to organize workshops in their own language for Kurdish youth.

23 “local” journalists did a fantastic job. Then we published these trainings in the form of an e-book (article series).

Serdar Canan’s “Breath and Kurdish Diction Workshop”

We are very pleased that the same trainers started to give lectures outside of our trainings (Mesopotamia Foundation, New Life Association, DAKAHDER, Podcast Kurdi…).

What did BotaInt do during the earthquake and disaster?

We lent our equipment for 3 months to journalists whose equipment such as cameras and microphones were destroyed in the earthquake. (We gave 4 of our 5 cameras to the journalists).

On the 15th day after the earthquake, engineers from the Ministry and NGOs reported that BotanInt’s office was safe.

We gave a room for 3 months to the staff of the news portal Sur Ajans, whose offices were destroyed.

There were very few restaurants open after the earthquake. BotanInt staff put part of their salaries in a box for food. Every day, two BotanInt staff members volunteered to cook meals for the journalists.

We checked the working conditions of journalists in the cities affected by the earthquake and informed our partners.

Robot reporter Rony

Botan International is building a robot reporter with the Erbil-based artificial intelligence company OVANYA.

Very little news from the world press is translated into Kurdish media. Kurdish-language media cover only a limited range of issues. International news is often translated from Turkish news sources. But these sources select the news according to their own perspective.

Rony translates the news from 109 languages into Kurdish, makes a short summary, adds the link to the news source and sends it to the editor.

She has an editorial memory. She records her editor’s movements and observes from which perspective she approaches them. She also has a translation memory. It notes what the editor emphasises in the translations.

Now you can only select 10 media and one search term at a time. Of course, you can also specify a time period.

For example, you can search for the term “environment” on 10 US sites. Rony compiles the news from these sources on the dates you specify, translates it into Kurdish, adds the links and presents it as a draft. He then records your interventions in the news.

OVANYA and BotanInt do this work on a voluntary basis. We anticipate that the building can be completed within 3 months.

Kurds and BotanInt

It is estimated that one out of every four people in Turkey is Kurdish, which means more than 20 million people.

Trailer of Botan International documentary

The Kurdish community highly values the work of Botan International. The award-winning director Bilal Korkut made the documentary about Botan International. In an animated film, Semiha Yıldız, the most famous Kurdish animated film director, portrayed the hero as the dragon in the Botan International logo, who helped rescue the Kurds on a ship approaching the sea.

Her Majesty, the last Kurdish princess Sinemxan Bedirxan, thanked RSF in French for its support of Botan International.

BotanInt’s work has been included in more than 20 academic studies.

If you meet someone working in Kurdish in Turkey: an academic, an artist, a filmmaker, a theater actor, or a Kurdish writer there is a 90% chance that he or she is a reader of Botan Times.

Our partners

Our international partners:

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), European Endowment for Democracy (EED), Chrest Foundation, Kurdish American Education Society, Global Native Services, Minority Rights Group International (MRGI).

*BotanInt became a permanent partner in 2023 after a two-year project partnership with RSF.

Our partners in Turkey:

Amed Radio TV, Perxudres Podcast, Hûrbînî Podcast, Podcast Kurdî, IPS Foundation/bianet, News Lab Turkey, Kurdish Studies Centre, TransGate.


Number of international projects completed: 8

Number of current international projects: 3


Botan International Medya LTD

CEO and Founder: Murat Bayram

Manager: Yonca Sarsilmaz

Accountant: İbrahim Yeşilçimen / Düzen Muhasebe

www.botaninternational.com

Botan Times English

Editor/translator: Yonca Sarsılmaz [email protected]

Webdeveloper: Şeyhmus Baykal

Botan Times Weekly magazine design: Ridwan Xelîl


Botan Times Kurdish

Editor in chief: Murat Bayram – [email protected]

Editor/reporter: Gulistan Korban Rençber – [email protected]

Editor/reporter:: Berîl Caymaz – [email protected]

Webdeveloper: Şeyhmus Baykal

Botan Times magazine design: Ridwan Xelîl

Botan Times Podcast

Editor in chief: Semiha Yıldız

Botan Times Opinion

Editor in chief: Ekrem Yıldız

Authors:

Beril Caymaz

Canan Yalçın

Dilek Çelebi

Fatih Duman

Gülistan Korban Rençber

Înan Eroglu

Mem Artemêt

Mihemed Şarman

Nalîn Dirî

Qesîm Etmanekî

Omer Faruk Baran

Murat Bayram

Ramazan Kaya

Reha Ruhavîoglu

Rizgar Elegez

Roşan Lezgîn

Selahattin Bulut

Selamî Esen

Serdar Şengul

Şener Özmen

Şexo Fîlîk

Tevfik Bayram

Xecê Daşxin

Yehya Omerî

Yonca Sarsılmaz

Zana Farqînî