Nov 05 2017

Turkey is far too important to ignore - Baydar

LONDON - Ahval's editor-in-chief, Yavuz Baydar, was recently interviewed by the London-based weekly newspaper, The Arab Weekly, and the first question was:

Some would call this a daredevil act. Would you agree?

This is not a typical question that a journalist receives regarding their job. But in Turkey, nothing is typical. 

Baydar replied:

True, it is a challenge be­cause we have to battle against a power that is keen on controlling all information about Turkey inside and out.

With hundreds of journalists jailed with their news articles and tweets are criminalised, and thousands left jobless after their outlets are shut down by the government, it takes some courage and a fierce struggle to do real journalism. Still, many Turkish reporters, editors think it is their "duty to cover" news from Turkey, since, as The Arab Weekly's editor puts it, "Turkey’s journalists are tough professionals."

According to Baydar, what makes their job harder, and even impossobile inside Turkey is the blinding polarisation. Regarding the issue, with different ideological sides blaming each other, poisoning the debate inside Turkey, Ahval's Baydar makes a distinction that many has seem to have lost the sight of in this battle: being critical vs. being in the opposition.

The words journalism and oppo­sition do not fit together. That one applies to partisan press. Journal­ism exists as long as it is critical, that is the keyword. It is about treating all the power structures critically and writing. We will look at all the issues with a critical eye and report and comment accord­ingly.

In one of his responses, Baydar quotes from Ahval's Mission Statement: "Truth and nothing but the truth matters. The audience appreciates that in the long run."

This is yet to be seen.

But one thing is for certain, Turkey has an extremely interesting, even baffling story for the world's audiences. And in many ways, it is a country far too important to ignore.

Read The Arab Weekly's interview with Yavuz Baydar here.

Watch Ahval's launch video here: