New English daily offers Turkish government perspective

A new English-language edition of the Turkish daily Sabah offers news and perspectives of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

al-monitor A screen grab of Daily Sabah, an English-language news source in Turkey that began on Feb. 24, 2013.  Photo by

Topics covered

turkey, newspapers, news and media, media freedom, media bias, media, justice and development party, akp

Feb 27, 2014

The Turkish daily Sabah, often identified as pro-government, has launched an English edition, allowing English speakers more access to the news and viewpoints surrounding the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). There are dedicated search engines doing the same job. I generally use Zite, which you can access through your smart phone or tablet. Just mark the topic that interests you.

Then, with a single click, you can access all news and comment, in English, from newspapers, journals and blogs. Zite also has a “search” function. When you type Turkey you get all the news about Turkey, including news about "turkey, the bird” as an added bonus. Whenever I typed in "Turkey" in the search box, most of the news and comment used to be from the daily Today’s Zaman. What is Today’s Zaman? It is the English-language newspaper of the Gulen Movement.

That meant foreigners wanting to learn about Turkey were getting their information from Today’s Zaman. There is another one, Hurriyet Daily News, published by the Dogan Media Group. When you add to them articles by foreign observers writing about Turkey without really understanding what is going on, inevitably you are getting a prejudiced version.

I have said it so many times. You can’t understand Turkey by just following one newspaper. You must follow publications of rival sides. This is true not only for foreigners, but also for Turks. A veteran journalist who represented a foreign publication once told me: “You get all kinds of information from Turkish newspapers, but they are prejudiced and unfocused. I follow publications of diverse groups. It is not easy but in the end you get a picture closer to the reality of Turkey.”

But this wasn’t possible for English-language publications. While anti-government groups were reaching English-speaking audiences, it was impossible to understand what the government and the AKP were saying and trying to do.

Daily Sabah, which began publishing on Feb. 24, would close this gap by reaching English-speaking politicians, journalists, researchers and tourists who will learn about Turkey, not just from a prejudiced source, but also by reading Daily Sabah.

On the first day of its publication, Daily Sabah was already cited by Zite. At 4:30 p.m. local time on Daily Sabah’s first day, Zite had three items from Daily Sabah, six from Today’s Zaman and one from Hurriyet Daily. This is a sign that Daily Sabah will soon be reaching the audience it is targeting.

Don’t forget that Gulen Cemaat’s English-language publications are not limited to Today’s Zaman. They have news blogs called Hizmet Movement. Zite and other search engines also quote those blogs. This means Daily Sabah alone won’t be enough.

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More from  Emre Akoz