Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of Turkey, English language service

Turkey

For your listening pleasure: the Voice of Turkey English language service.

This program was recorded on June 7, 2015, starting around 2205 UTC on 9830 kHz.  I started recording the program a few minutes after the top of the hour when a digital transmission on the same frequency finally went off air. I made this recording with the TitanSDR Pro hooked up to my horizontal delta loop antenna.

You will actually hear a few seconds of the digital broadcast at the very beginning of the recording. Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of Turkey

Gezi protest in Ankara  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Gezi protest in Ankara (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A few days ago, I posted a recording of the Voice of Turkey that noticeably lacked coverage of the Gezi Park protests.

Friday, I recorded VOT’s English language broadcast and was surprised to find that they actually mentioned the protests (admittedly, without it’s due weight) in several news items. I’m very curious how future VOT broadcasts will cover news of yesterday’s riots in Istanbul as police cleared crowds of protesters with water cannons and tear gas.

Click here to download the full recording, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

The Gezi Park Protests: don’t look to the Voice of Turkey for information

On shortwave, sometimes it’s what’s not heard that speaks volumes.

Gezi protest in K?z?lay Square, Ankara  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Gezi protest in K?z?lay Square, Ankara (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Turkey has been in the world headlines now for well over a week. In case you’re not up-to-date, here’s a summary of what has happened:

On May 28, 2013,  about fifty environmentalists led a small protest in Istanbul to oppose the replacement of Taksim Gezi Park with a reconstruction of the Taksim Military Barracks.  The protests escalated when the group occupying the park was attacked with water cannons and tear gas by the Turkish police. This event led to riots, which were soon widespread; the protests, meanwhile, broadened their scope into full-fledged anti-government demonstrations across the country and even into the Turkish diaspora across the globe.

Yesterday, I turned to the Voice of Turkey on shortwave radio to hear about the active protests currently ongoing throughout the country…

But what did I hear? The only mention I heard of the Gezi Park protests in the Voice of Turkey’s English language service were in a passing Turkish press report on the reaction to the protests by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry. The item, moreover, was completely buried in their broadcast and certainly not something upon which they elaborated in the least (listen, beginning at 12:50 below).

I’ve always loved listening to the Voice of Turkey, but events like this remind me of the simple fact that many international broadcasters are still very much the mouthpieces of their governments.

Click to enlarge (Source: Reporters Without Borders)

Click to enlarge (Source: Reporters Without Borders)

Of course, Turkey certainly would not win an award for press freedom; not even close. Reporters Without Borders list Turkey as a country with a “Difficult Situation” with regards to press freedoms, ranking them 154th out of 179 countries in their 2013 Press Freedom Index. To put this in perspective, Finland and the Netherlands occupy the top two spots as models of press freedom, the USA is number 32, and North Korea and Eritrea occupy the bottom spots (numbers 178 and 179, respectively) obviously countries without press freedoms.

I’d like to think that the news readers at the Voice of Turkey would rather give this news the attention it deserves, or at least offer the Turkish government’s perspective on the demonstrations. Instead, what we heard was…nothing.  And we heard that loud and clear.

Indeed, the world is paying attention to the lack of news coming out of Turkey right now. Time Magazine posted this article article yesterday, which begins:

As epic clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police turned downtown Istanbul into a battle zone last weekend, the country’s two main news channels had, well, not much to report. One ran a documentary on penguins. The other, a cooking show. To many Turks, their silence was symptomatic of the self-censorship Turkey’s media have practiced under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s tightfisted 10-year rule. Penguin T-shirts, penguin jokes and penguin costumes now abound — the bird has become a symbol of protesters’ frustration with the mainstream media.

VoiceOfTurkeyOne of the most amazing things about shortwave radio is that by really listening, you can hear the unfiltered voices of regional broadcasters, the clandestine organizations, and the media representatives of their respective countries.

If this story had broken twenty years ago, moreover, I would have heard it as a headline from every respected international broadcaster. Then, upon turning to the in-country “news source,” as I attempted to do yesterday when I tuned in the Voice of Turkey and was subjected to a total lack of news, I would therefore be instantly made aware of what the Turkish government didn’t want me to hear.

Unfortunately I feel we’ve lost a bit of this comparative news consumption, not just because of the exodus of many trusted radio broadcasters from the field, but because we’ve been trained to consume news in (palatable) bites. Our attention spans and interest seem to have diminished to the point that we now often rely on our news sources to interpret for us.  A sad fact…especially considering politically-evolving countries like Turkey still need our attention, interest, and thoughtful support.

Listen to the same Voice of Turkey broadcast I heard yesterday, by downloading the off-air recording or by listening via the embedded player below:

China Radio International increasing Turkish content

(Source: Today’s Zaman)

“I’ve sometimes been challenged trying to find exactly the right word to translate from Turkish into Chinese,” recalled Wenjun Liu, a 37-year-old reporter working at the Turkish Broadcast Service of China Radio International (CRI) in Beijing.

 “Thank God, we have Turkish native speakers working here to rush to our aid,” she added.

Like many Chinese nationals who were assigned to work at the Turkish service, Liu has assumed a Turkish name for herself — “Damla.” She works at the world news desk and was working on a story about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s visit to Iran in late March. Like many of her colleagues, Damla is a graduate of Beijing Foreign Studies University, a foreign language and international studies university in China.

CRI has been broadcasting in Turkish since October 1957 using the shortwave frequency. It has a one-hour-long program every day, repeated four times during the day in different time slots. It uses Internet broadband to spread the word and has also used local FM stations in ?stanbul and Ankara to reach its audience since 2010. With unprecedented growing ties recently with Turkey, China is set to promote its culture in many areas, including broadcasting more Turkish content on the CRI.

Yongmin Xia, the director of the Turkish service, revealed to Sunday’s Zaman that the CRI has decided to boost its presence in Turkey. Going by the Turkish name Murat, Xia said the CRI has chosen ?stanbul, the largest city in Turkey, to launch a radio station. “We are going to start with five people and hope to reach 15 in this service in ?stanbul,” he said, adding that the stronger presence would help develop bilateral relations further.

“Our common values are more than the differences between the Turkish and Chinese peoples,” he emphasized, pointing to a strong adherence to traditional values in both cultures. “Turks and Chinese share similar traits such as hospitality and warmth in human relations,” he added.

There is no easy way to rate how popular the Turkish service at the CRI is since it airs in shortwave, but the managers at the CRI say they have some idea by looking at regular mail, e-mails and website impressions. “Our Turkish website has 600,000 clicks on a monthly basis,” Xia explained. Overall, the CRI received more than 3 million letters from overseas listeners in 2011.

Read the full article here.

Though CRI has an enormous broadcasting presence around the globe (and it keeps growing), I would certainly question the listenership numbers based on the methods they use to quantify them. If by 600,000 monthly website “clicks,” they mean “hits,” their numbers may be overly generous. Many of “hits” are associated with search engine and other bots that routinely crawl the web. A more telling number would be either web page views or unique visitors.

Frankly, the 3 million letters from overseas listeners is also hard to believe, though I do imagine they receive a hefty amount of correspondence.