I have trusted VOA Turkish broadcasts for so many years, and I can’t do without them.
The VOA Turkish Service was established in 1942 and broadcast until 1945 when World War II reduced or eliminated many of VOA’s broadcast services.The service was reestablished in1948; today it offers multimedia Internet and TV service to Turkey. Turkish was one of the first VOA language services to incorporate text versions of top news stories on web-enabled handheld devices, such as cell phones and PDAs. This innovative idea allows users around the world to gain access to audio and video clips as well as text versions of VOA news in a user-friendly format.
The Service has a strong TV presence in Turkey with 2 hours of original live and recorded TV programming, as well as audio and video products on the Internet. VOA Turkish has been expanding affiliation with TGRT News TV network since 2003. TGRT News TV is a 24-hour nationwide network with a weekly audience share of over 30% of Turkey’s estimated 25 million regular viewers.
TGRT carries five 15-minute VOA Turkish newscasts live Monday through Friday, and a 30 minute weekly magazine program. VOA Turkish also presents, Monday through Friday, a daily 5 to 10-minute live webcam report on TGRT News TV. The service has web and mobile sites, a Facebook fan page, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ accounts, and sends a daily newsletter to more than 3,000 subscribers. The service also maintains 5 popular blogs.
VOA Turkish expanded with two new agreements in 2014, including an enhanced affiliation with TGRT News TV by increasing the daily news shows, from four times a day to five. TGRT News TV is a 24-hour nationwide network with a weekly audience share of over 30% of Turkey’s estimated 25 million regular viewers. The service also became affiliated with Mynet, a news and entertainment portal that is among the top three most used online sites in Turkey. Mynet has over 7 million registered members and about 40 million monthly unique visitors. VOA Turkish is featured on Mynet with a special page as a foreign broadcaster along with other major media organizations.
VOA provided coverage of the June 2015 parliamentary elections in Turkey. Ankara stringer Yildiz Yazicioglu interviewed Lithuanian MP Vilija Aleknait. Ms. Aleknait is a member of the OSCE delegation which observed the Turkish general elections. The Turkish Service’s Alparslan Esmer shot the video for the interview, in which Alkenait describes her memories of VOA, explaining that it was one of two news resources her family had during the Soviet occupation. Ms. Alkenait explained that “the only source of free information was Voice of America.” She described VOA as a “sign of hope” for those involved in the resistance movement who fought against the Soviet regime in Lithuania.
The former Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Mumtaz Soysal, was the Turkish Service’s guest for the TGRT Live TV program, which discussed the party closing case that the Justice and Development Party faced. Professor Soysal stated that he always uses VOA Turkish to get updates on news from the U.S., Turkey and the world. Soysal said, “I have trusted VOA Turkish broadcasts for so many years, and I can’t do without them.”
A Quality Service
VOA Turkish reporting and the ‘Washington Bureau’ concept has been very visible. A column in Referans – a leading financial newspaper in Turkey – criticized general news coverage in Turkey, while citing the Voice of America Turkish Service for accurate reporting. In his column Professor Mensur Akgun provides an example where a Turkish TV station covered a Washington event but failed to provide a full picture. Akgun wrote in his column, “It is obvious that the reporter does not realize how important this report is for Turkey – or they don’t want us to realize how important it is. It is also apparent the reporter didn’t feel the need to burden himself to check the Voice of America or other sources.” VOA Turkish interviews and reporting is widely picked up by Turkish media and distributed by Turkish news agencies with full attribution. VOA Turkish Service Chief Hulya Polat says, “For us being on Turkish TV live every day is very challenging. You’ll be dropped in a second if your reporting falls behind. However VOA Turkish Service is strong enough to meet any challenges and lucky enough to have high quality reporters.”
In addition to TV programing and the Internet, Turkish audiences also have the option to subscribe to VOA Turkish RSS feeds in order to stay up to date on international news. Because of the responses to its web stories and interviews, the Turkish Service has expanded its audience through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Connect with the Turkish Service here:
Facebook Fan Page: Amerikanin Sesi