Archive for the ‘Analysis’ Category

Published on the website of the international news program Worldfocus on PBS.

Gizem Yarbil, an associate producer at Worldfocus who grew up in Turkey, writes about the significance of the alleged military plot in that country.

Turkey has been rattled by the news this week that about 50 military commanders were detained for allegedly planning a coup to overthrow the democratically elected Islamic-leaning government.

The commanders are accused of “attempting to remove the government through force and violence” in a supposed plot codenamed “Sledgehammer.” Alleged tactics include planting bombs at mosques and shooting down a Turkish warplane, with the ultimate goal of causing so much chaos and disruption that the military would need to step in and take control.

The military denies all allegations.

The Turkish military, which is generally seen as a bastion of secularism, has overthrown governments four times in the past, most recently in 1997, when it ousted an Islamist Prime Minister. Still, the crackdown is unprecedented in a country in which the military is regarded by many as untouchable. Read the rest of the article on the Worldfocus website.


Host: Martin Savidge
Producer: Ben Piven
Assistant Producer: Gizem Yarbil

Listen here

The country formerly known as Burma — now called Myanmar — has found itself on President Barack Obama’s long list of countries deserving of direct diplomatic engagement.

Many international observers are hopeful that the Southeast Asian nation of 48 million people will not only respond to overtures by the U.S. — but will also hold a free and fair parliamentary election in fall 2010. Yet, the date has not been announced, and critics aren’t holding their breath.

Joshua of BurmaVJ and Suzanne DiMaggio join Martin Savidge  to explore these issues:

  • Junta background: military rule, media crackdown, & ethnic oppression
  • 2010 elections: fair vote, Constitution, & Aung Sang Suu Kyi
  • U.S. interests: high-level talks, economic engagement, & policy shift


Joshua is a Thailand-based journalist for Democratic Voice of Burma. He is also the main character in Burma VJ, an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature this year.

Suzanne DiMaggio is Project Director of the Asia Society’s Task Force on U.S. Policy toward Myanmar. As the Director of Policy Studies, she oversees the Society’s task forces, working groups, & Track II initiatives.

Published on the website of the international news program Worldfocus on PBS.

Dr. Ömer Taşpınar and Worldfocus producer Gizem Yarbil discuss the role of several important conservative religious groups in Turkey, including the Gulen movement, which is the largest, and the Mustazaflar-Der, which is influential in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast.

Gizem Yarbil:  How influential are Islamic groups like the Gulen movement and Mustazaflar-Der in Turkey politically and socially?

Ömer Taşpınar: Particularly, the Gulen movement is very influential in the social, economic and cultural (particularly education)  field. The members of this brotherhood are probably in the millions. I think of this movement as a pious Muslim version of freemasons.

It’s essentially a solidarity network and a civil society organization with religious proclivities. Some analyst are bothered by the movement’s cultish attachment to its leader but this is not uncommon in Turkish/Anatolian political culture.

Read the rest of the interview on the Worldfocus website.

Published on the website of the international news program Worldfocus on PBS

Gizem Yarbil is a producer at Worldfocus and a native of Turkey. She blogs about a controversy over a Turkish television program.

Only a few days after Turkey excluded Israel from a joint NATO war exercise, a new crisis is brewing between the two Middle East allies.

The problem is a television drama series that Israel condemns as state-sanctioned “incitement.”

“Separation,” a 13-part TV series that aired on Turkey’s state-run television channel for the first time on Wednesday, has several controversial scenes. In one, a Palestinian father holds his new-born above his head in front of Israeli soldiers at a check point. A few seconds later, one of the soldiers shoots the baby dead. In another scene, Israeli soldiers kick and beat elderly Palestinians on the streets and one soldier shoots a teenage Palestinian girl on her chest.

Read the rest of the article on the Worldfocus website.

Published on the website of the international news program Worldfocus on PBS.

Correspondent Gizem Yarbil, a native of Turkey, recently reported with producer Bryan Myers on the signature story Female soccer players shoot down Turkish taboos. Gizem shares how women are pioneering a place in traditionally male-dominated sports.

Turks are mad about football (soccer), but most of them are unaware of a new development in the field: A new professional women’s football league. Now, a group of brave girls is trying to challenge the gender divide in Turkey.

The new league has been met with resistance, and some boundaries have yet been broken down. Many in Turkey still believe that women should be confined to the home, and that the football field is no place for women.

Read the rest of the article on the Worldfocus website.

Turkish Media Monitor

Posted: April 15, 2008 in Analysis

Published: Global Press Watch

In a country of political and ethnic turmoil, self-censorship is a common practice among Turkish journalists. Among the major factors that put pressure on journalists are: corporate ownership of media, the economic dependence of some of these corporations on the government, the military’s influence on reportage, and a political atmosphere of heightened nationalism, which is reflected in a criminal law that subjects journalists to prosecution for insulting “Turkishness.” At the same time, some progress toward greater press freedom can be seen in recent years as the number of journalists imprisoned because of their work has sharply declined from the 1990s. Read the rest of the article.

Published: Global Press Watch

The Turkish press has shown increased interest in the U.S. presidential primary elections now that the Democratic race is getting more and more heated. In the run up to February’s Super Tuesday elections, most of the Turkish media relied on wire service reports. However, for the March 4 Democratic primaries in Ohio and Texas, most major Turkish newspapers had their reporters in Washington cover the event first hand. Read the rest of the article.