The border between Turkey and Syria saw a military escalation this weekend. The news was unexpected by many, and the breaking nature of the news itself led to great attention, both locally and internationally. For the international community, media organizations that operate near the conflict zone were of course a frequent point of visit. Daily Sabah was among these media organizations. The Syrian civil war has been going on for nearly five years with no end in sight, as the situation continues to deteriorate, with regular new developments. For a person who lives in the region, such as those in Turkey, the situation is already complex and requires intensive study to understand completely. For a European citizen, for example, the difficulty only increases, as they also have to learn about the historical, cultural and religious elements in play.
The reason I bring up this subject is simple. A foreign acquaintance asked me to point him to a summary of events in the Syrian conflict, especially where Turkey is concerned. However, I was unable to point him to one, as none of the mainstream organizations were able to produce a timeline. In the end, I had to point him to Reddit's related subreddit and chronological layouts prepared by users. While it is natural that the speed of conventional media falls behind social media, seeing the overall coverage fall behind is an alarming sight.
This also emphasized the necessity of this type of summary when it comes to complicated and prolonged situations like the Syrian civil war. While Daily Sabah's related article provided a backstory for those a bit savvy in the subject, the necessity of a chronological list is apparent, due to the prolonged nature of the conflict.
In the past, Daily Sabah had similar chronological summaries for similar prolonged events, such as the end of the ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK. However, what I propose is a bit more permanent. Steady chronological bulletins on the Syrian conflict or refugee crisis would be quite a game changer when it comes to the international reader base. Instead of letting them become outdated, updating them constantly with current developments with small summaries or links to relevant news articles would allow them to be a constant point of reference. After all, our newspaper should aim not only to give news, but also to become a point of reference for academia.
I also condemn the recent attack on the headquarters of the Turkish dailies Yeni Şafak and Yeni Akit. The escalation of the methods and frequency of these attacks against journalism can only serve to aggravate public tensions and remove the notion of a free press. What many who cry outrage when it comes to government actions regarding media organizations seem to fail to understand is that the reality and threat of terror is the biggest roadblock when it comes to freedom of the press.
Reactions from international media organizations left something to be desired, as some ignored the attacks, although the International Press Institute released a statement condemning the attacks. Regardless of what the nameplate says on the building, the attacks against media groups over the last year must be investigated thoroughly, and their perpetrators must face justice, to serve as a deterrent to those who might want to use an attack on journalism to make a statement.