Turkish MediaSince the onset of the 20th century, the number of Turkish citizens migrating to the United States of America has been rising gradually. The very first immigrants were usually unskilled individuals from rural communities in Turkey, who often secured lowly jobs. But since the 1950s, the number of Turkish professionals in the U.
S.A has been growing. Results of the 2000 US census showed that there were 117,575 Americans of full or partial Turkish descent, while the 2005 American Community Survey put the number at 164,945. (Mustafa 38)This population growth has encouraged the establishment and rapid development of a number of Turkish media outlets in the USA.
Today, the exists several local television broadcasts, cable video channels and radio stations as well as newspapers and periodicals that broadly highlight the political, economic and social aspects of life in Turkey. There are currently about six Turkish newspapers and periodicals in the USA. Among the most popular is The Turkish Times, the only Turkish newspaper published bi-weekly in the US. It is run by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations and covers Turkish-American issues in the form of news stories, articles, editorials and business information.
There is also the Turk of America, the first American bi-monthly business magazine. The Turkish Daily News is as well published daily in the US. Turkey’s two leading English-language dailies, the Hurriyet Daily News and Today’s Zaman, are also widely available at most retail outlets and groceries in the USA. They both deeply cover Turkish-American issues.
A periodical by the name TurskishSoccer.com is also published in the USA. (Christensen. 47).
When it comes to television channels, Turkish media has made giant steps in ensuring that the Turkish community within the United States keeps abreast with political and social-economic developments back at home. There are several Turkish TV stations, some broadcasting from within the USA while others broadcast online or via cable networks. Among the leading stations is the Turk-American TV (TATV), which has 57.6 percent of its overall audience in the USA.
This station produces popular Turkish programs such as Turkish-American Hour Show, an English program mostly broadcast in Maryland and Washington D.C. It also produces the Turk-American Televizyonu, a program broadcast in Turkish.Ebru TV is another channel which, on top of hard news and sport news, also broadcasts Turkish educational programs mostly based on science, art and culture.
Other television stations with similar almost programs include ATV News, received via SCOLA channel cable TV. This channel carries new on Turkish affairs for one hour everyday between Monday and Friday. The Cultural Cable Channel on Cox Cable, which is based in Louisiana, airs a program dubbed Turkish Hour thrice a week. This hourly program is also aired thrice a week on Cincinnati-based Warner Cable System.
It is sponsored by the Turkish–American Association. Another broadcast is The Young Turks, which is the first ever internet TV news show. It is hosted by Turkish-American presenter Cenk Uvgur, with the show’s video streamed daily via website and also available for podcast. Voice of Anatolia TV is on its part received in the New York City metropolitan area for half an hour broadcast of Turkish programs daily.
Generally, all theseTurkish media outlets within the USA have primarily met the information, education and entertainment needs of the Turkish community in the USA. As far as information is concerned, the newspapers and periodicals always deeply highlight key developments in politics, business, agriculture, sports and other core sectors back in Turkey. The newspapers have also been educating Turkish immigrants by covering emerging trends and techniques employed in sectors such as tourism, catering and entrepreneurship. (Feroz 210)In terms of entertainment, the newspapers usually carry in-depth pull-outs that carry diverse news on leading and emerging artists in the music and movies industry, the music hits topping the charts, and developments in various concerts among others.
All this information provides a direct link between the immigrants and the on goings back in their motherland. At the same time, the newspapers and periodicals have helped enhance close bonds between Turkish citizens living in Turkey and those living abroad, especially in moments of great need.A perfect example was in 1999, when Turkey was hit by the Izmit Earthquake that left about 45, 000 people dead and half a million homeless. The US-based Turkish newspaper media outlets played a vital role in unanimously mobilizing US residents for a very successful earthquake relief program.
This was done in close collaboration with organsiations like the Turkish Amnerica Association. For example, most of the newspapers ran an advert inviting well-wishers to a concert that fundraised for the victims. Part of the advert read: “Turkey is our longtime ally, and the people of Turkey are our friends,” (then US president Bill) Clinton said in a statement issued Saturday 8/28/1999. “Now, with many of them in desperate need, we must do all we can to help, and we will,” (Garnett 302)Turkish television stations and programs in the USA have also not been left behind in exploring the three core roles of the media.
But more importantly, they have alongside the newspapers been used by various Turskih-American associations to promote both the Turkish culture and Turkey’s position in intentional affairs. Most of the aired programs do not directly identify with any political party, ethnic group, or ideology in Turkey, but they often drum up support for positions taken by the Turkish government. For instance, most of the Turkish television broadcasts and newspapers have widely engaged in campaigns to allow Turkey’s entry into several Western European forums cooperation forums, including the European Union. Some have in the recent past also publicized interviews with top personalities such as the Turkish president, prime monster and foreign minister, in the process propagating Turkey’s political opinions abroad.
Various Turkish-American organsiations have also widely used the media outlets to present an objective view of both Turkey and Turkish Americans.As far as culture is concerned, the Turkish media in the USA has played a pivotal role in publicizing, and consequently intensifying awareness on Turkish culture. They have in collaboration with Turkish cultural centers often run various documentaries on this culture. An example is the Turkish Hour TV Show, whose main official objective is to promote Turkish Culture in USA (Mustafa 85).
And true to this mission, the show recently included a detailed description of Turkish coffee, which is part of the rich Turkish culture. The program described preparation of the coffee in detail and encouraged the audience to also try it. The show regularly discusses Turkish books, movies, music, fashion and food. (Turkish Hour website).
The newspapers further benefit people in Turkey by regularly updating them on how their colleagues in the USA are fairing. For example, the Turk of America primarily reports on the business undertakings and the social lives of Turkish people in the USA. The newspaper is distributed to a large audience in Turkey, including in large corporations, advertising and PR firms, companies, foundations, and the press. It is also distributed to airline passengers at the Turkish Airlines VIP lounge.
Generally, the role of the Turkish media in the US has been widely appreciated by Turkish citizens, although it has received mixed opinions from Americans. A section of Americans appreciate the Turkish media as part of modern-day cultural interaction within a global village, while others see it as to some extent hell-bent on advocating extreme Turkish political views and causing disharmony. For instance, newspapers such as Today’s Zaman openly welcomed last year’s move by USA President Barrack Obama not to recognize Turkey’s historical killings in Armenia as genocide. This gesture provoked widespread criticism among Armenian-Americans, some of whom held mini-protests.
(Aslan 1). It is such rare moments that make some Americans deem the USA-based Turkish media divisive.In conclusion, Turkish media channels and newspapers are growing by the day within the US. They have played a vital role of not only informing, educating and entertaining, but also promoting the Turkey’s culture and government positions.
But they face the challenge of trying to maintain objectivity at a period when Turkey’s political relations with the US are not so cordial. This factor does not nonetheless stand a major chance of hindering further growth of Turkish media in the USA. Works citedWinkler, W. Toward The Sunset.
N.Y: Mercer, 2005. Turkish Hour Website: http://www.turkishhour.
com/, 2010 Mustafa, E. Turkish-American Relations: Routledge, 2004. Christensen, C. Understanding Media and Culture in Turkey.
London: Routelige, 2010222.Aslan, H. Today’s Zaman: Genocide reference would have frozen Turkey ties. 2009 Feroz, A.
The Making of Modern Turkey. Routledge. 1999, 252pp. Garnett, L.
Adamant Media Corporation: N.Y: Mercer, 2001 396pp.