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New radio gives out diverse voices

Vercihan ZIFLIOGLU
Hurriyet Daily News

ISTANBUL – Young people from different ethnic identities who found the state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, or TRT’s, initiative to broadcast in various languages insufficient have come together and founded a radio station.

“Nor Radyo” (New Radio) is available online and broadcasts in Armenian, Kurdish and Homshetsi, an Armenian dialect, for now. Broadcasts in Syriac and Greek are expected to follow soon. Nor Radyo, at www.norradyo.com, started broadcasting on Jan. 17 and is aired every evening between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. The Jan. 17 launch date was symbolic as it was the day Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist and editor-in-chief of daily Agos, was assassinated.

Due to financial constraints, the station’s organizers haven’t been able to rent a studio for the shows and the broadcasts are done from homes. Radio show hosts Sayat Tekir, Öykü Özçinik, Sevan Garabetoğlu and Bercan Aktaş spoke to Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review and said they do not accept guests at their homes during broadcast hours and communicate with each other on MSN messenger during those times. Aktaş, the youngest of the radio hosts, is a 16-year-old student of Kurdish origin. Aktaş does a weekly news review every Friday from 9 to 11 p.m. Aktaş said he does not follow the broadcasts of TRT 6, a recently launched channel that broadcasts in Kurdish.

“I do not believe in the TRT’s sincerity,” he said. All of the shows on Nor Radyo have different formats.

Özçinik, an anthropologist, produces and hosts a show called “Topluiğne” (Pin). Although she is an ethnic Turk, Özçinik got involved in the project to support her friends from different ethnic backgrounds. “I have discovered the richness I was forcibly torn apart from as a Turk; that is why I have preferred to be with them here,” she said.

Özçinik said mentions of ethnic cultures in Turkey are only based on cuisine. “When we mention the Armenians, we talk about appetizers; when we mention Greeks, we talk about stuffed vegetables. The colors of Turkey are not just appetizers and stuffed vegetables,” she said.

Tekir’s show, “Anuşabur,” is rather different from the others. “Aşure” in Turkish, is wheat pudding with various dried nuts and fruits, known in English as Noah’s pudding. “Anuşabur, hence the name, features all of the diversities and tastes in it,” Tekir said and added that he is hosting his show in Turkish because he is not fluent in Armenian. “It is hard to find someone to host the show in Armenian because, although we attend schools in the Armenian community, the amount of education received in the mother tongue is insufficient,” he said. “We cannot express ourselves.”

Computer, microphone suffice for broadcast
Garabetoğlu hosts his show, “Sevani Yerki Tzank” (Sevan’s Music List), in Armenian, unlike Tekir. The show features Armenian folk and classical music. The hosts are happy with broadcasting over the Web. A microphone and a computer are enough for us, they said, adding that they, as the youth of Turkey, came together to raise a free voice and to walk toward the future with steps of peace.