What is your opinion on TRT

TRT GermanThe Turkish look

A woman who fled within Syria reports in a short film about her desperate situation. The video can be seen on the website of "TRT Deutsch". The website has been online since mid-January and is still under construction. The editorial team is to prepare news about Germany and the world from Berlin-Mitte - in the house of the Federal Press Conference.

The editor-in-chief is Kaan Elbir, a German-Turk who has previously written for the international newspaper "Daily Sabah", which is close to the government. He and his editorial team are primarily concerned with German and European issues, which, in his opinion, are not adequately reported in other media: "Here, 'TRT Deutsch' is clearly positioning itself against Islamophobia and any kind of racism. (...) We want to be a mouthpiece for the problems of minorities and the socially disadvantaged. We consider cultural diversity and diversity of opinion to be an enrichment. "

Elbir speaks of the "everyday heroes" he wants to portray, social issues that go beyond the media in this country. As an example Elbir cites the story of a Syrian falafel seller in Istanbul: "He came to Turkey as a refugee, was later able to set up a snack bar and now distributes food to the needy and street animals every day. Some buy a falafel from him but pay for it two, three or five. And with stories like this you can, for example, show refugees from a completely different perspective. "

No falsifications perceived

But the question remains: are such harmless stories all that TRT wants to show? So far, most of the texts have been from the German Press Agency, and Turkish topics have almost always been from Anadolu, the Turkish state news agency. What content, what self-image does "TRT Deutsch" stand for? Ask Erkan Arikan, the head of the Turkish editorial team at Deutsche Welle. Arikan says that he did not notice blatant cases of falsifications, such as those on the Russian propaganda channel Russia Today.

"Well, what I have read about 'TRT Deutsch' to date, I cannot confirm that such fake news is being made and, to be honest, I don't trust TRT to do that either. The colleagues are too tense for that because they know that others would have a huge focus on them or that they would be particularly interested in their messages, so that will certainly not be the case, but as far as the sharpness or the proverbial blurring is concerned, that is in the eye of the beholder . "

From right-wing radicalism to the headscarf debate

Even with current issues, such as the Turkish army's mission in Syria or the refugee issue, the tone has not yet been too sharp. The editors consider topics such as "Islamophobia" and its opposite to be more important - for example, when an IKEA branch in Switzerland stands protectively in front of a Muslim employee, the "TRT German" is worth a short film and a report. That is plausible, says Erkan Arikan, the topic of "Islamophobia" is important to readers both in Turkey and in Germany:

"As long as TRT does this in a moderate way, as is customary in journalism, and does not falsify anything, the topic is a completely normal topic, just like any other topic."

"TRT Deutsch" obviously wants to take up and continue discourses, for example when it comes to right-wing radicalism or the headscarf debate. Sensitive issues, such as the suppression of critics and opposition activists in Turkey, are kept small or not mentioned at all. That could perhaps change at the next opportunity - and then it will be clearer what position "TRT Deutsch" takes and to what extent Erdogan-friendly positions are defended.

Voice from the Erdogan-friendly camp

What is certain is that, for example, a number of AKP-affiliated authors write in the opinion department. Editor-in-chief Kaan Elbir emphasizes: "We will also report on events in Turkey if they are relevant. It was clear to us in advance that we would be confronted with such allegations. But a quick look at our website is enough. that we are neither a propaganda leaflet nor a mouthpiece for the Turkish government. "

Deutsche Welle journalist Erkan Arikan states that when it comes to reporting on Turkey, many users have a strong need for alternative perspectives and contributions that do not appear in the Turkish media. For example, when it comes to artists, members of the opposition or members of the LGBT community. Deutsche Welle's Turkish YouTube channel "+90", which was launched a year ago and is aimed at younger viewers, has in any case strong growth rates, with individual videos being viewed over a million times.

"TRT German" is, so it looks like, in any case a new media voice from the Erdogan-friendly camp in the fight for the sovereignty of interpretation.