Ex­clu­sive: In­ter­view with Remzi Ke­tenci on cur­rent po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Turkey

Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the first Kur­dish satel­lite chan­nel talks about Kur­dish and Turk­ish re­la­tions

The Kurdish Globe - - NATIONAL -

Ke­tenci says, “The word Kur­dis­tan and Kur­dish songs are al­lowed to be used freely in Turkey since Halil Turgut Özal's pe­riod”.

Ramzi Ke­tenci, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the first 24/7 pri­vate Kur­dish satel­lite chan­nel, Dünya TV, talks about the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal and me­dia re­la­tions be­tween Turkey and the semi-au­tonomous Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. He sheds light on how to strengthen the bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween the two sides, es­pe­cially be­tween jour­nal­ists.

Dünya TV is part of the Sa­many­olu Group, which has more than 10 TV chan­nels, broad­cast­ing their pro­grams in Turk­ish, with the ex­cep­tion of Dünya TV which broad­casts their pro­grams in Kur­dish. Dünya TV mainly fo­cuses on show­ing dif­fer­ent as­pects and di­men­sions of Kur­dish habits, tra­di­tions as well as cul­ture. The TV’s man­age­ment board is in­tended to cover Kur­dish cities out of Turkey, es­pe­cially Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

Ramzi Ke­tenci is an out­stand­ing me­dia fig­ure in Turkey, and has been work­ing in jour­nal­ism for more than 20 years. In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view, he talks about the changes that have hap­pened in the field of jour­nal­ism, and how the huge vac­uum for Kur­dish me­dia out­lets is be­ing filled.

In the past, Turk­ish me­dia out­lets pub­lished base­less news about Turkey and Kur­dis­tan re­la­tions, which cre­ated a huge gap for those who wanted to re­ceive au­then­tic in­for­ma­tion about Kurds, how do you as­sess the cur­rent me­dia cov­er­age?

Globe:

Un­for­tu­nately, the re­la­tion be­tween Turkey and Kur­dis­tan was not that good in the past. The en­tire world is like a small vil­lage now, and some­one from Amer­ica knows what hap­pens in Ja­pan or Turkey or else­where in the world.

I do be­lieve that the sit­u­a­tion is now changed; nei­ther Turk­ish me­dia nor Kur­dish can pub­lish base­less re­ports. Day af­ter day, democ­racy is go­ing to be the real reg­nant in the re­gion, and the bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween Turk­ish and Kur­dish jour­nal­ists and in­tel­lec­tu­als is go­ing to be strengthen than ever.

So­cial me­dia is chang­ing how news is re­ported. Once upon a time, it was en­tirely con­ve­nient to falsely report on Kur­dish re­lated is­sues, but now this is im­pos­si­ble. We are too in­ter­con­nected through me­dia out­lets that any cred­i­ble agency can not af­ford to report falsely on Kur­dish is­sues with­out be­ing heav­ily scru­ti­nized, and even shunned in some in­stances.

Do you have plans to open an of­fice in the Kur­dish cap­i­tal city of Er­bil?

Globe:

Al­most three months has been past from the day we broad­cast our pro­grams in Nil­sat and Turk­sat. Ac­tu­ally, we have been thus far pro­duc­ing sev­eral pro­grams in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. We aired the re­li­gious cer­e­monies which was held in honor and re­mem­brance of Prophet Mo­hammed's birth­day in the cap­i­tal city of Er­bil.

I would say that the man­age­ment board of the chan­nel should come to a de­ci­sion to open an of­fice in Kur­dis­tan. And as such the an­swer will be­come clearer in the fu­ture.

De­spite the on­go­ing ten­sions, and even vi­o­lence be­tween Turkey and Kur­dis­tan, why do peo­ple still dis­agree with pro­nounc­ing the word “Kur­dis­tan” in Turkey, or even ac­knowl­edg­ing that Kur­dis­tan does in­deed ex­ist?

Globe:

The word Kur­dis­tan and Kur­dish songs are al­lowed to be used freely in Turkey since Halil Turgut Özal's, Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter and the 8th Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of Turkey’s era. Those who deny pro­nounc­ing Kur­dis­tan should ac­cept the word as a real fact. The cur­rent Turk­ish Pre­mier Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan has so far taken se­ri­ous steps to nor­mal­ize the sit­u­a­tion, and open­ing the Kur­dish satel­lite TRT6 is a con­sid­er­able in­stance.

How many Kur­dish chan­nels are now broad­cast­ing their pro­grams in Turkey?

Globe:

In fact, tak­ing per­mis­sion of a chan­nel needs time. Dünya TV is the first pri­vate Kur­dish 24/7 TV chan­nel across Turkey.

What is your point of view re­gard­ing the lat­est in­ter­na­tional fig­ures say­ing that free­dom of ex­pres­sion has been dam­aged by the on­go­ing pros­e­cu­tion and in­car­cer­a­tion of jour­nal­ists and writ­ers in Turkey?

I have over the past 20 years worked as a jour­nal­ist, and never had been ar­rested be­cause of my ca­reer. Those who have been ar­rested are per­haps af­fil­i­ated with a spe­cial group or as­so­ci­a­tion. I would say that there might be some mis­takes com­mit­ted against jour­nal­ists too.

Globe:

Globe:

Are there any kinds of cen­sor­ship from Turk­ish government on your chan­nel?

There is no cen­sor­ship on our chan­nel. And we have en­joyed this since the first day we broad­casted our pro­grams. We have been work­ing very in­de­pen­dently, and we do or­ga­nize our pro­grams based on the (Turkey) con­sti­tu­tion.

What is your opin­ion re­gard­ing the on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions to re­solve the Kur­dish ques­tion?

Turkey is go­ing through a very sen­si­tive time. The changes are very rapid. I do be­lieve that the ques­tion will be re­solved sooner, if the ex­ter­nal coun­tries do not in­ter­fere.

Globe:

Ramzi Ke­tenci, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the first 24/7 pri­vate Kur­dish satel­lite chan­nel, Dünya TV.

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