Why the Kurds who support the AK Party have no Kurdish newspaper?

As a result of the “terrorization” of Kurdish-language media in Turkey, a situation has arisen where even millions of pro-government Kurdish groups living in Turkey would not dare to publish a Kurdish-language newspaper. Almost the entire population of Diyarbakir is Kurdish. 3 Kurdish MPs were elected from the Ak Party-list, 1 from the CHP, and […]

Why the Kurds who support the AK Party have no Kurdish newspaper?
Why the Kurds who support the AK Party have no Kurdish newspaper?
  • Yayınlanma21 August 2023 12:47
  • Güncelleme23 August 2023 13:23

As a result of the “terrorization” of Kurdish-language media in Turkey, a situation has arisen where even millions of pro-government Kurdish groups living in Turkey would not dare to publish a Kurdish-language newspaper.

Almost the entire population of Diyarbakir is Kurdish. 3 Kurdish MPs were elected from the Ak Party-list, 1 from the CHP, and 8 from the YSP.

20 of the 20 local newspapers are in Turkish. Media outlets that support the opposition or the government do not want to broadcast in Kurdish and are accused of supporting terrorism.

Being “terrorised” not only has legal consequences, but also means being a place where companies don’t dare to advertise. At the same time, it means stopping all donations and support. Because it means “exposing oneself to accusations of terrorist financing.”

There seems to be something wrong, but “even it’s dangerous to support President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey in Kurdish.”

Kurdish media needs normalization and multi-perspectivity, we need media facing each other in Kurdish in a democratic environment.

Of the 544 televisions broadcasting by satellite or cable in the country, only the state-owned TRT Kurdi television has a Kurdish news program. But the uneasiness and fear of making news and programs in Kurdish can be seen there as well. I will not talk about bias, I will talk about structural differences.

TRT’s channels, which broadcast in Arabic and English, are monolingual. All in Arabic or all in English.

But TRT Kurdi’s program names are in Turkish and Kurdish, and some of its programs have Turkish subtitles. 

12 of TRT’s 15 channels are already in Turkish. 20-25% of the country’s population consists of the Kurdish population, it is not fair that 6.6% of the state televisions are in Kurdish. However, why are Turkish subtitles added to only one Kurdish channel?

There are no Turkish posts on TRT’s social media accounts of channels broadcasting in English and Arabic, why is it shared in Turkish on TRT Kurdi? If this is natural, why aren’t there any Kurdish sharing and subtitles on TRT’s 12 Turkish channels?

2 Kurdish weekly in Turkey

Among the 2,071 newspapers published in Turkey, only the weekly Xwebûn newspaper is in Kurdish. For this reason, it is very valuable that the Kurdish edition of Le monde diplomatique, published in Germany, is available in Turkey. Botan International openly supports such initiatives.

While 20 million Kurds living in Turkey have the chance to read more than 2,000 Turkish newspapers, the increase in the number of weekly Kurdish newspapers to 2 is a positive development, but the situation is still tragic.

Financial blocking

Financial blocking is sometimes practiced for no reason. For example, Botan International Medya LTD would sell the photos taken by freelance journalists via https://kurdishphotoagency.com/.

Botan International Media LTD Co. is a company that has not delayed paying its taxes to the state even for a month since its establishment. We are a very reliable company. But 8 applications we made to money payment systems were rejected. So they refused us to be their customers and pay them for their services.

Çetin Altun, editor of the last daily Kurdish newspaper published in Turkey, told MEE that printing houses do not accept them as customers.

The method has of course changed, but the attitude remains the same.

“Welat’s team had finished their last edition of the paper, which included a report on the arrests, and sent the copies to their printers in Istanbul. But the paper would never make it to print; police officers were waiting at the printers and blocked the paper from being published.

Altun approached printers across the country seeking a publishing partner, but to no avail. The paper’s staff considered buying their own printer and publishing despite the ban, but decided against the move on the grounds that the printing equipment would surely be seized.

As a statement of defiance, for two days they published the paper using a photocopier and sent the copies to majority Kurdish cities. These were the last printed editions of the paper.”

How did Botan Times become Turkey’s most read in Kurdish media in Turkey?

There’s no secret or magic behind the “popularity” of Botan Times.

There is only one Kurdish news site where Kurds from all political groups in Turkey from YSP, Ak Party, CHP, MHP, İYİP, Gelecek, Saadet… and DEVA can be seen. LGBT groups, religious groups, nationalist groups can discuss there. People with completely different backgrounds, and even people from different generations, write in the same place.

It is funded by the EED and the Chrest Foundation, and it makes no secret of it. But it is a reality that options other than funds are closed to us.

I don’t think there is a group that hasn’t lynched us so far. But many more support us.

To summarize by one sentence:

“Opposition media in Turkey is under pressure because of its content. But Kurdish-language media is under pressure because of its presence.”