Talking Turkey and International Media Relations: Pitching Turkish Media

February 14, 2011
by Kai Prager, Media Relations Representative, Business Wire/Frankfurt

Turkey is a country that has seen increasing interest in recent months and we’ve experienced more queries recently on how to pitch Turkish media. Perhaps a more stable government and the “stellar growth” of the Turkish economy accounts for this interest.

The Turkish press is rich and diverse, with about 40 national newspapers selling 4.5 – 5 million copies per day. The most popular include Zaman, Posta, Hürriyet, Sabah, Milliyet, Türkiye, Cumhuriyet and Vatan, and represent the scope of Turkish society from traditional and conservative to liberal and socialist.

About 900 local and weekly papers flourish throughout Turkey, in Kurdish languages, Greek, Armenian, Arab and Hebrew. The big national papers such as Zaman are printed in Turkish but also produce English versions, Daily News and Today’s Zaman.

As the official language, Turkish is the language of choice when pitching local media. We find that most publishing houses employ journalists who speak English, or even German, but releases delivered in the native languages will get more attention. If you don’t send your story in Turkish, make sure you send it to writers that speak your language.

Most newspaper web sites list the staff writers, the articles they’ve written, and ways to contact them. Don’t forget to do your homework and peruse the clips before contacting journalists.  As elsewhere in the world, Turkish media appreciate your familiarity with their work and dislike irrelevant pitches.

We advise a follow-up phone call to make sure a story gets noticed after sending. And, as always, having a relationship with the reporter helps.  Visuals can give you an advantage in capturing attention as well — photos, graphics, logos, anything that makes it easier for time-strapped reporters to assemble a story.  Just like reporters around the world, members of the Turkish media appreciate the entire story package, not just the text.

It’s worth noting that just as in the United States, press freedom is part of the constitution, even though Turkish law allows for some restrictions.   Article 301 of the penal code makes it a punishable offense to “insult Turkishness.”

When the writer and Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk was prosecuted under that Article for a speech given during an awards ceremony in which  he criticized the government, it became an international incident.  Be advised also that insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, is punishable by law and has lead to the blocking of some websites like YouTube.

PR professionals can effectively target Turkish media by familiarizing themselves with journalist preferences, crafting a newsworthy release, including multimedia and following up.  By doing so, your press release is likely to get the attention it deserves.


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