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Turkish-Arab Media Forum – A first, İstanbul, 30 Nov – 1 Dec, 2011

The Forum, hosted by the Prime Ministry’s Directorate General of Press and Information (BYEGM), was held at Conrad Hilton Hotel and attended by over 250 journalists from 22 countries. The theme of the Forum was ‘’Media, new opportunities and possibilities in the axis of change and continuity.’’

Following the opening speeches by  Murat Karakaya, the GM of BYEGM, Ibrahim Kalin, adviser to the Turkish Prime Minister, the secretary-general of Arab Journalist’s Union, Markam Mohamad Ahmad, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arınç, spoke and stated that it was Turkey’s wish to see brotherly Arab countries change in the direction of justice and to enjoy an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity instead of chaos.

There were 12 sessions where many representatives from Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen, Cibuti, Bahrein, Moratnia, Somalia, Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Turkey spoke on different issues. The secretary-general of Arab Journalist’s Union, Markam Mohamad Ahmad, made reference to the Turkish Prime Minister’s speech in Cairo, emphasizing his words on the necessity of Egypt’s Christians participating in politics. He further stated that ‘’Only if Islamic political parties take the AKP as an example, they could achieve their goals.’’ Ibrahim Kalin, also one of the moderators of a panel, stated that ‘’Recent revolutions in the Arab world are a potent indicator that Arab nations are ready for democracy’’

During a session on the role of media, almost all speakers praised Turkey’s regional role but some stated that ‘’Turkish TV series’’ was being watched in all of the Arab countries but some of these were also promoting values not compatible with Islam. Al Jazeera representative said they were proud to be an influence on the Arab spring although the representative referred to the Arab spring as ‘’Arab Clouds’’ during luncheon discussions. One speaker complained about the monopoly of western media sources with Turkey ready to help to break this monopoly.

The Forum ended with ‘’Salam World Opening Reception’’ at Emin Vakfı Korusu in Ortaköy. Evidently ‘’SalamWorld’’ will be the Islamic version of multilingual social web serving a bridge between the Muslims all over the world. A ‘’Final declaration’’ was also delivered at the end of the Forum.

It is interesting that a different kind of a conference, ‘’The second New Media Order Conference’’ was also held in İstanbul on October 5, 2011, where the participants were mainly from the Western countries. A commentary on this conference is given below.

Yüksel Oktay
8 december 2011

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