Memorandum from BBC World Service
BBC WORLD SERVICE IN TURKEY
BBC World Service broadcasts to Turkey in both
English and Turkish. This submission sets out a summary of activity
and impact, together with a brief outline of the background to
recent problems with FM rebroadcasting and the current situation.
Three times a day at 0700, 1800 and 2230 Turkish
The 1800 transmission also goes out on Saturdays
On Sunday mornings at 1100 Turkish time there
is a one-hour transmission repeating features of the week for
listeners who may have missed the first broadcast.
Weekly transmissions total 13 hours.
[Before July 2001 the total was 14¼ hours.
The reduction represents a move into online.]
Regularly updated news service at bbcturkish.com
started in July 2001 and its pages make radio features available
to an online audience. Latest figures for page impressions at
bbcturkish.com show 40,000 + per month. This understates the position
because the news page consists, for technical reasons, of just
one "page". Each visitor to the news page therefore
only registers one page impression even though they may have been
through as many as 6 stories.
Programmes are mainly news and current affairs.
Listeners are informed about developments from around the world
as well as from Turkey. International stories with a Turkish dimension
are covered extensively. Turkish foreign issues and important
domestic stories are also covered. There is reporting from the
field, analysis by experts and interviews with politicians, academics,
representatives of NGOs.
The schedule also includes features on science
and arts, and a weekly feature reflecting life in Britain. BBC
Turkish has also taken part in pan-World Service educational projects
using funding from non-Grant-in-Aid sources. These have taken
the form of occasional one-off multi-part series dealing with
such issues as old age, disability, sex education, and human rights.
Other special series have included adaptations of BBC World Service
English series such as The History of Civilisation, and An Essential
Guide to the 21st Century. Recent series for BBC Turkish include
the Bonn environment conference and the history of Gastarbeiter
from Turkey in Germany.
In the aftermath of the military coup in 1980,
there was a large audience for the Turkish service, which remained
high during the long war between the Turkish security forces and
the PKK. With the advent of private radio and television from
1992 audience figures stood at 900,000. Between 1993-99, Turkish
programmes were re-broadcast by local private radios on FM and
this helped to retain and increase the audience.
People from almost all sections of the public
listen but, significantly, more than 20 per cent of opinion leaders
listen regularly to BBC Turkish. BBC programmes both in Turkish
and English are quoted very frequently in the Turkish media and
by Turkish Foreign Ministry officials.
After broadcasting in Turkey was deregulated
in the early 1990s, there was an explosion in the numbers of radio
and television stations. Audiences have fragmented. Among international
broadcasters, only BBC Turkish has retained a small but worthwhile
market share. Deutsche Welle and Voice of America have been all
but wiped out.
Current re-broadcasting position
In November 1999 the Turkish broadcasting regulator,
RTÜK, decided that re-broadcasting was illegal. So the BBC's
former FM partners now face a ban on re-broadcasting BBC programmes.
In June 2001, BBC Turkish started re-broadcasting again with a
new independent national partner, NTV Radyo. Unfortunately, RTÜK
changed its mind about the legality of re-broadcasting once more
and NTV was forced to stop re-broadcasting on 19 November 2001.
NTV is pursuing the issue in the courts and there has been support
for them and the BBC from the European Union and from HMG. The
Turkish Foreign Ministry has also intervened. Nonetheless, for
much of the last two years programmes have been available only
on short wave and on the internet. The loss of the FM re-broadcasting
undoubtedly means a drop in the number of listeners. BBC Turkish
believes it has retained at least its short wave audience which
is about 500,000. Even if the court actions are not successful,
Turkey's efforts to bring its laws into line with the requirements
of European Union membership mean that amendments to the broadcasting
law are likely to be approved over the next yearso re-broadcasting
should start again.
BBC Turkish programmes are available on FM in
Kosovo and in Baku. Greek state radio re-broadcasts 10 minutes
of BBC news in Turkish in Greece.
To return to re-broadcasting on FM
in Turkey as soon as possible. Our partner is poised to carry
BBC Turkish programming as soon as they have a legal all-clear.
To continue developing the BBC Turkish
To seek opportunities for re-broadcasting
on digital platforms both in Turkey and in Europethere
are three million Turkish speakers in Germany alone.
BBC World Service
22 January 2002