Media called to use ‘peace language’

Media called to use ‘peace language’

DİYARBAKIR - Hürriyet Daily News
Media called to use ‘peace language’

Diyarbakır Metropolitan Mayor Osman Baydemir (C) highlights the responsibility of the media during his speech at the Social Cohesion and the Media. AA photo

Members of the press need to deploy the “language of peace” in their daily work, Diyarbakır Metropolitan Mayor Osman Baydemir has said at a workshop in the southeastern province over the role of the press in promoting social cohesion.

“[The media] is responsible not only for what it has done, but also for what it has not done. For example, I think we closed our eyes to what happened in Roboski [the Kurdish name of Uludere village],” he said Feb. 23, criticizing the media for its insufficient coverage of the Uludere incident, in which 34 civilian villagers were killed in a military airstrike on Dec. 28, 2011, when they were allegedly mistaken for outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants as they smuggled oil from northern Iraq into Turkey.

The “Social Cohesion and the Media,” was organized by Journalists and Writers Foundation’s Medialog Platform, was held on the same day three Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies visited PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan on İmralı island as part of a “peace process.”

The joint trauma of 30 years of fighting has created major problems in perceptions, Baydemir said.

Key responsibility

“We see that in the perception of happiness and sorrow, there are problems between the east and the west and the south and the north of Turkey,” he said.

“At a time when Turkey has approached the peace process, when everybody, even though some of us feel cautious, [feel] optimism for the peace process and while some of us feel much closer to peace, the media has a significant responsibility,” said Journalists and Writers Foundation President Mustafa Yeşil at the same event.

Turkey has never experienced a period like today in terms of social cohesion, Yeşil acknowledged.