New Outlets Enter Turkey’s Authority Media

Battle with opposition leads to restrictions on social media operators

Since the coming to power of the ruling Justice and Development Party in 2002, Turkey has been interested in harnessing its tools of soft power, whether through television or electronic channels, even theater, to reach its internal or foreign audience, especially neighboring countries, especially Arab countries, in light of a new policy adopted by the party for years called “zero problems” with neighboring countries.
Turkey has stepped up its media and drama offerings over the past 20 years after working in previous years to present itself as a regional power in the Middle East, which was not a major focus of Turkish politics before the Party of Justice and Development led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while opposition parties see in Turkey that the media serve power internally and clearly. Here, they evoke the extension of its control over approximately 95% of newspapers and television channels, even private ones, directly or indirectly. This has left a small margin for the opposition, which finds its need in social media to reach the public, and has encouraged a large part of the Turkish population to resort to new independent media which rely on the Internet and to independent or anti-government channels, such as: “Fox” and “Fox”. Creation of TV, Tele1 and international media such as the British BBC, the German Deutsche Welle and Voice of America, which created Turkish websites for them.

political promotion

Abroad, channels and websites that broadcast, including in Arabic, are run by the official “Anadolu Agency” and the official Arabic channel TRT, as well as many websites that are used as a tool to promote Turkey’s policies and strengthen its position as a regional player. Reporters Without Borders’ last week, on the occasion of ‘World Press Freedom Day’, its Press Freedom Index report for the current year found that Turkey ranked ranked 149th out of 180 countries in terms of press freedom, criticizing the lack of freedom. On the same occasion, the leader of the opposition Future Party and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu criticized the “restriction of the press in his country,” declaring on Twitter that “it is unacceptable that Turkey ranks 149th out of 180 countries in the press freedom ranking.” Index Unfortunately, we are celebrating World Press Freedom Day. let’s not forget… If the press is not free, the truth will remain in the dark.Note here that when Davutoglu launched his party in 2019, he could not find any channel to broadcast the party’s launch conference, he was therefore forced to use the Facebook platform.
On this issue, there are now only a handful of newspapers and channels, which are still on the side of the opposition, but they face crises and pressure from the government, whether by chasing it with taxes, by imposing colossal fines or by stopping programs. .
The situation was hardly better for former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan than it was for Davutoglu. After resigning from the ruling “Justice and Development” party in July 2019. He launched his “Democracy and Progress” party in March 2020. In turn, Babacan’s party did not receive little media coverage, and his movements received only one interview, in which he appeared on the channel “Khabar Turk”. And to appear again on the T24 site. The main dependence of his political team remained on social networks, as well as on the “Fox” channel, which became the opposition’s most prominent showcase with “Télé 1” and “Khalq TV”, and the three channels are subject to repeated sanctions. .

Objection window

On the other hand, social networks proved to be very effective during the campaign of the mayor of Istanbul (opposition) Ekrem Imamoglu during the local elections of March 2019. Imamoglu won in his first round, then in the second round in June , by a much larger margin than his rival, former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who enjoyed the support of channels and newspapers loyal to the ruling Justice and Development Party.
After this experience, experts felt that social media had caused a huge revolution in these elections, and that the stranglehold imposed on traditional media by the government had become of little use and of very little influence, especially after they all became one voice on behalf of the government. mouth, prompting citizens to seek diversity on social media.

new restrictions

Therefore, opposition parties and political figures are trying to reach the masses through social media, which has largely compensated for the lack of windows of expression and provided direct and effective interaction with the masses of citizens. . Indeed, social networks have proven to be very effective.
For its part, the government has become aware of the danger of social networks as an effective weapon in the hands of the opposition, giving it enormous influence in the Turkish street, especially among young people and intellectuals. For this reason, Erdogan and his ally, Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahceli, have launched campaigns to demonize him, describing him as “laden with evil and filth”. Last year, Turkey’s parliament passed a law imposing severe restrictions on social media operators, requiring them to open offices and appoint representatives in the country, and allowing the government to view and restrict the content of certain of them, as well as imposing huge fines on offenders.
Parliament also recently approved a bill imposing new restrictions on the use of social media sites under the pretext of combating the spread of false information and news, including prison terms and a fine for those who spread false information. fake news.

Dramatic recruitment

But the political use of the media does not depend on direct traditional means. Today, Turkey spares no effort in trying to market series, which are both a strong link of political propaganda and social penetration, as well as presenting itself as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. East, to obtain commercial advantages and to promote tourism. in Turkey.
Observers and critics believe that one of the most important reasons for the broadcast of Turkish dubbed series, especially aimed at Arabs, is the social nature they reflect, and family relations are very close to the reality of Arab societies. . It also played the Syrian dialect familiar in the Arab world, and replacing Turkish character names with Arabic names made it easier for this product to reach more viewers.
Currently, some Turkish dramas are causing controversy in the Arab world due to their conflict with customs and traditions in terms of marital relationships, prevalence of infidelity, plurality of relationships, and excessive fantasy romance which is completely removed from the reality. Although feelings between men and women are inherently similar in all societies, their details are influenced by the cultural and societal context of the individual. According to some, the Arabization of the series was not enough to make them suitable for the Arab community, as some scenes that angered viewers, and which carry suggestions or include alcoholic beverages as a normal part of the daily life in the family home, have prompted the attack on the series and the channels they present.
This controversy over Turkish series is not limited to the Arab community alone, but there is a similar discussion in Turkey itself, and accusations of the producers’ lack of credibility to reflect the reality of Turkish society and the details of its life. social, as well as as stereotypes in the subjects which revolve all, with the exception of historical series and true stories, around the idea of ​​the marriage of the rich with the good or the poor, or the subjects of marital infidelity , which caused great reluctance, especially among young people, and prompted them to seek out more realistic dramas on other platforms, the most important of which is “Netflix”.

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