When 38 years old Bulent, a Turkish-descent journalist with Muslim conservative backgrounds was looking for a job in Germany during the winter of 2019, he was trying to find a contact in Deutsche Welle to see whether there was any chance at all for him to work there. He sat down with one of the journalists of the German network at a cafe on the banks of Rhine in Cologne. “We will certainly portray an impartial image with our new editor in chief,” said the DW journalist referring to Erkan Arikan whom had recently been appointed to the post. “If DW wants to be impartial, then they should at least hire one reporter who is not always critical of the Turkish government,” said Bulent to the DW journalist. The answer of the Deutsche Welle journalist was crystal clear: it would never happen.
Turkish service of Deutsche Welle, meaning German Wave, was launched to report the world matters to the Turkish speaking audience. The Turkish service started its radio broadcast in 1962. However, the mission has altered over the years. The Turkish service of the German state network has turned into a local anti-government portal especially in the past decade. A quick review of DW’s news on its Tweeter feed between April 12th and 15th reveals that DW Turkish service could easily make it to the top three opposition news portal in Turkey.
Focused on Local Turkish Matters Rather Than World
Deutsche Welle Turkish shared almost one hundred news and feature items on its tweeter feed between those dates. More than one third of them has been about Turkey while the rest covered pretty much everything else in the world. One may find many positive features and news on DW Turkish about any country including China where the novel Coronavirus was first detected. While the virus-stricken Europe and the US have been talking about possible findings on how China may have created the virus at a lab, DW preferred to run an item showing a message of triumph from China over Coronavirus.
However, Deutsche Welle’s editorial line dramatically changes when it comes to Turkey. Out of more than 30 items about Turkey between those dates, there is not even a single positive feature about Turkey. Among the news, there is only 1 positive item which was the statement of Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca over how ICU stats in Turkey were decreasing. Every other news accused Turkey in some sort of wrongdoing.
Is it actually possible that nothing positive is ever happening in Turkey? The American portal The Hill recently published a report that told how Turkey emerged as a key player in global Covid fight. Turkey’s Coronavirus fatality rate stands at 2,1 percent which is lowered than Germany whom has globally been hailed as a success story. There have been tons of successful Covid stories coming out Turkey but none of them has apparently been interesting enough for DW’s Turkey-focused service.
News Based on Rumors
One of the tweets of Deutsche Welle Turkish makes a bald statement claiming Syrians in Turkey are being denied Covid treatment. But when one clicks on the link and read the detail, it is found out that that the whole piece is based on a “rumor” heard by Istanbul Bar Association. Tugce Koksal, the head of Human Rights Center of the Association actually admits during the interview with DW that the center has yet to discover such incident. But this brutal fact gets lost in the script while hundreds of thousands people just read the false fact on the tweet.
Germany and Turkey has a long history of alliance which goes back hundreds of years. Even during tumultuous times in the past years, the two country managed to keep the relations alive. However, German media’s offensive attitude towards Turkey has been damaging relations between Ankara and Berlin beyond repair. Most recently German Die Welt ran a story written by Deniz Yucel heavily insulting the Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. Even some journalists like Tuncay Ozdamar from German ARD thought that enough was enough and came out to criticize Yucel for his provocative headline.