OPINION - TRT Deutsch marks 2nd anniversary - Human-oriented journalism

Turkiye's TRT Deutsch marks 2nd anniversary despite all obstacles, being targeted by FETO and PKK sympathizers, far-right

Kaan Elbir   | 12.01.2022
OPINION - TRT Deutsch marks 2nd anniversary - Human-oriented journalism

The writer is the editor-in-chief of TRT Deutsch


Turkiye's growing political and economic influence in recent years, going beyond being a mere regional power, brought new breakthroughs in many areas. Turkiye's public broadcaster TRT started to broadcast in many languages, including German, with the aim of delivering accurate, reliable, fair, and fast news related to both Turkiye and global affairs in German-speaking countries.

In addition, TRT Deutsch became the voice of Turkiye, our compatriots and the oppressed to bring up issues that are not touched by the mainstream media and also offering a medium to those who are ignored by the mainstream media to express themselves. For this purpose, the TRT Deutsch channel made its debut on Jan. 13, 2020 and has continued its path for two years without surrendering to prejudice or threats.

TRT Deutsch, which provides news from Turkiye, Europe and the world, with a focus on Germany, also frequently includes other German-speaking countries such as Austria and Switzerland in its broadcasts.

TRT Deutsch is followed not only by the Turkish community in Europe but also by many different sectors.

Since the day it launched, TRT Deutsch has aimed to convey developments to its audience in an accurate, serious, and objective manner, and while doing so, it had to struggle with prejudice. Beyond that, what makes TRT Deutsch different is that it gives the truth about the daily life of people who are being marginalized in the mainstream media.

Efforts to broadcast threatened by far-right, PKK sympathizers

Before TRT Deutsch started broadcasting, it was declared a "propaganda tool" by some circles who wanted it discredited. There were also those who did not believe that TRT Deutsch could reach an audience outside the Turkish community. But the course of events showed that both of these tracks were unfounded.

TRT Deutsch today is followed and read by many different circles, and it fills a big gap due to its balanced and quality journalism.

TRT Deutsch especially disturbed sympathizers of the terrorist FETO and PKK and extreme right-wing circles for naming the issues that threaten society and drawing direct attention to the dangers. The violent parts of these circles put TRT Deutsch in the crosshairs.

Threatening letters were written to the TRT Deutsch team. Parliamentary questions about TRT Deutsch were given to the German parliament and German domestic intelligence reports mentioning TRT Deutsch are various examples of these pressures.

The TRT Deutsch team continued its broadcasting activities despite these threats.

On the contrary, the fact that racist circles and terrorist groups were uncomfortable with TRT Deutsch was a sign that it was on the right track.

Issues ignored by mainstream

TRT Deutsch became a platform for those who could not find a place in the established media for political or other reasons. It was the guest of German-Muslim families' fast-breaking tables during the holy month of Ramadan. It opened the door for German Muslims. It broadcast the story of a Syrian refugee who successfully integrated into society with a patisserie he opened in Germany, or the story of a German lady who, after becoming Muslim, produces Ramadan-themed handicrafts for children.

TRT Deutsch's human stories are not limited to Germany. The story of a Muslim village in Poland was praised by viewers. The public learned from TRT Deutsch that apart from the war, a natural disaster was taking place in Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of a partnership with Armenian and German firms.

Establishing a one-on-one dialogue with people and bringing these people directly to the screen has become the broadcasting motto of TRT Deutsch. TRT Deutsch showed that "ordinary" people in Germany, especially people with a migrant background, are not just statistics.

TRT Deutsch, which broadcasts to help prevent minorities living in Germany from being imprisoned in numbers with certain prejudices, continued its understanding of journalism "for people."

Success stories and immigrants

For TRT Deutsch, the past two years have also been a time in which the events and the stories of people who were behind the headlines were brought to the fore.

While TRT Deutsch was covering events, it gave particular importance to meeting directly with people who were victimized.

It constantly kept the stories of survivors and victims of the far-right terrorist attack in Hanau in the spotlight to prevent such racist attacks from happening again.

Turkish heroes Recep Tayyip and Mikail, who risked their lives to help people in the November 2020 terrorist attack in Vienna, were frequently featured in TRT Deutsch broadcasts.

TRT Deutsch shows how Turkish society in Europe stands with peace and tranquility despite all obstacles.

TRT Deutsch brought the success stories of people with migrant backgrounds to the screen and introduced these people to the public.

Such stories include the tale of a young entrepreneur who became an organic meat pioneer, the determination of a surgeon who did not give up despite facing discrimination due to her headscarf, and the career journey of an astrophysicist.

TRT Deutsch a trustworthy source

TRT Deutsch has also done numerous interviews with community leaders over the past two years. It included the views of many experts from politics to science, from sports to military experts and think tanks.

Among the most followed interviews about football was the one with Mesut Ozil, a national football player on Germany's world champion team, Michael Kraft, the former goalkeeping coach of Fenerbahce, Stefan Kuntz, the new coach of the Turkish national team, and Max Kothny, head of the Turkgucu Munich team.

In politics, TRT Deutsch interviewed Bundestag Vice President Aydan Ozoguz, Social Democratic Party (SPD) culture and media policy spokesperson Helge Lindh, former Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Deputy Jurgen Todenhofer, and former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

Other interviews praised by the public were Metin Tolan of Gottingen University, a physicist and the first Turkish-origin rector in Germany, former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, Vienna State Chancellor Michael Ludwig, and Seda Basay-Yildiz, a lawyer in the case of NSU neo-Nazis.

Established in line with Turkiye's growing and developing vision, TRT Deutsch will continue to be the voice of both Turkiye and those who are oppressed and ignored in the mainstream media in the German-speaking world.

*Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu Agency.

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