Local Turkish newspaper publishes yummy recipes on front page headlines to denounce pressure
The paper's staff of seven have repeatedly focused on the flaws of the local administration, criticizing officials from the governor’s office to the province’s university for mismanagement.A local newspaper published in the southeastern province of Batman has been publishing recipes of yummy dishes on its front page, to protest the increasing pressure against media freedom from vested interests in the area.
Yön Gazetesi, a newspaper published in Turkish in the province populated by a majority of Kurds, has been the subject of nearly 40 lawsuits since it was founded in Sept. 1, 2013.
The paper's staff of seven have repeatedly focused on the flaws of the local administration, criticizing officials from the governor’s office to the province’s university for mismanagement.
“Since starting publication until today, we haven’t made a single news story which wasn’t backed by documents. But almost immediately all of our stories have prompted people to put pressure on us,” Yön editor-in-chief Ferit Tunç told daily Milliyet.
“For example, we criticized the fact that the son of Batman University’s rector, a graduate of botany, was hired to the institution’s IT department, and received pressure. Just think about a university that gathers its committee only to besmirch your newspaper,” he said.
Instead of reading about local news stories, readers of Yön Gazetesi can now enjoy recipes of great food under sensational headlines such as “How to make an Eli Böğründe dish,” “Yörük Sıkması of Mersin” or “Recipe of Mumbar Dolma.”
Tunç said readers were surprised at first at the idea, but they managed to maintain their modest circulation of 500 after readers embraced the protest.
“They [the authorities] love to eat so we give them recipes. After they understood our protest, they appropriated the newspaper more than before. We will continue our protest until there is a free local media,” Tunç said.
Local media is particularly strong in southeastern Turkey compared to other regions in the country, despite huge pressure against journalists that has frequently resulted in the murder of media workers.
The protest action is a reminder of veteran journalist Çetin Altan’s story on the benefit of beans in protest at media restrictions in the days preceding the 1960 coup.