Serkan Alan/ DUVAR
The first daily newspaper representing Turkey’s Alevi minority is expected to be released on Nov. 6 with the aim of challenging the lack of independent and critical media that prevails in contemporary Turkey.
Alevis adhere to a heterodox non-Sunni faith and make up 15-20 percent of the country’s population. Rooted in Anatolia, they are generally known for their secular and left-leaning views. The Alevis were persecuted during Ottoman times and were the subject to several notorious massacres throughout the 20th century, the latest major attack taking place in 1993.
“Alevis look at the world with universal values. Not only from a belief-related perspective, their approach is grounded in humanity, nature and the environment. With this publication, we want to promote the values of Alevism,” said Vedat Kara, who is among one of the newspaper’s founders.
The Bir Yol daily newspaper will include a variety of columnists including Ercan Karakaş, Necdet Saraç, Çilem Küçükkeleş, Gülsüm Kav, Ferhat Kentel, Bilge Seçkin Çetinkaya, and Alaattin Dinçer.
“I got into journalism via being a correspondent for a long time. I’ve worked in many areas of the media. Previously I had already published a weekly Alevi newspaper. I’ve been involved in Alevi-related publishing for the past ten years. Everyone in Turkey is worried about the state in which journalism and newspapers are in. We share the same worry,” Kara said.
Kara added that Bir Yol seeks to be both an outlet and resource for Alevis and their issues but also an addition to the country’s struggling opposition media. Many outlets have been closed down by the government, which remains the world’s most notorious jailer of journalists. Mainstream newspapers have become co-opted by the government, essentially functioning as government press releases that don’t sell well.
“Politically, most of us come from different parts of the opposition. There are those writing for us who are engaged in political activities for the [main opposition Republican People’s Party] CHP, the [pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party] HDP, and independently,” Kara said, adding that many of the paper’s writers are well-known in the Alevi community.
Kara added that none of his writers would be working voluntarily and all would be paid. Independent, opposition outlets often struggle with funding and paying their journalists sufficient wages.