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Turkey looks to Arabic-language satellite channel to be a bridge between Turks and Arabs

February 17, 2014 at 11:15 pm

A new Turkish-owned Arabic-language satellite channel plans to convey a positive image of Turkey to Arab viewers. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is following developments at the channel closely and hopes that it will become a media and cultural bridge between Turks and Arabs. His government is encouraging partnership and cooperation between the two in all fields.

Sources at the channel, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Turkish government wants to strengthen the country’s media presence in the Arab arena. “After our launch, the official state Anatolian News Agency is believed to be preparing a news service directed at Arab media outlets,” the sources claimed. “Cairo is expected to be the regional hub for the Anatolian Agency.”

Guests on the channel’s Points of View programme on 6th March included Birzeit University lecturer Dr. Samih Shabib and political analysts Talal Awkal, Hamada Fara’na, and Moustafa Al Sawwaf. They all agreed that the Arab Spring has given the Palestine cause a new momentum and given hope for Palestinian reconciliation. The latter, they felt, constitutes a strategic solution against Israeli intransigence; the Palestinians should be able to overcome all of the obstacles hindering the reconciliation, including strong Israeli opposition.

The programme emphasised that Turkey’s rise as a regional actor and a supporter of the Palestinian people, as well as the changes in the region since the start of the Arab Spring, gives the Palestinians the strategic depth that they had lost. Participants in the show expressed their hope that Palestinians capitalise on the opportunities thrown up by this historic situation in order to take giant steps forward against the Israeli occupation.