On May 25, 80 journalists from 45 African countries converged in Istanbul, Türkiye for a two-day media summit hosted by the Directorate of Communications.
According to Prof. Fahrettin Altun, Director of Communications – Turkish Presidency, Türkiye’s relations with Africa have gained unprecedented momentum and made extraordinary progress over the last 20 years.
“Türkiye’s interest and affection toward the African continent rests on the principles of equality and winning together,” he said in his opening remarks, adding that. “Our president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, attaches special importance to our relations with the African continent and African nations. Thanks to his strong leadership, determination and sincerity.”
Prof. Fahrettin Altun also urged the media fraternity in Africa to view Turkish companies as “solution partners” in all areas from infrastructure and energy to defence and food.
“Türkiye is a country that acts independently in all areas, starting with foreign policy and the economy,” he said while presenting Turkey’s clean track record which “no stain of colonialism in their history.”
The two-day summit which culminated in Africa Day celebrations featured a rich cocktail of speakers including African diplomats, officials of public institutions, media representatives, academics, and representatives from the private sector and NGOs flocked.
Kenya was represented by Queenter Mbori, the First President of Standard Group Women Network, who highlighted some of the challenges faced by journalists during the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking at the summit, Ms Mbori also proposed that journalists in Africa be equipped with training in specialised reporting for science and health, trauma, gender, digital safety and security.
Other panelists included South African MSG Media Group Given Mkhari who underlined the realities faced by African journalists during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) Board Member and the Anadolu Agency (AA)'s World Languages Editor-in-Chief Erman Yüksel, not forgetting Nigeria's GNEC Media Group Editor-in-Chief Kayode Akintemi.
Also speaking at the media summit were Omer Faruk Gorcin, Anadolu Agency's Deputy Editor of fact-checking line, Ronelle Mathilda Rademeyer, editor in Namibian daily Republikein, Seynabou Diop, the head of the Radiodiffusion Television Senegalaise, Nur Ozkan Erbay, the head of the Turkish National Brand Office of the Communications Directorate.
Issues discussed included post-pandemic challenges in journalism, women in journalism, journalism under digital siege, Turkish companies as solution partners and investing in Africa’s human capital.
At the end of the summit, The Turkish government vowed to implement journalist exchange programs with leading media organizations, starting with Anadolu Agency and TRT, and their African counterparts.
“We will give priority to young journalists with less than five years of experience to strengthen the long-term partnership between our nations,” said Prof. Fahrettin Altun, Director of Communications – Turkish Presidency.
“We find it important that African journalists tell the stories of Africa and wish to support their activities. In this regard, we will provide micro-grants for reporting projects from Africa including climate change and discrimination. We will pioneer efforts for their publication in Turkish and their dissemination to international audiences through our foreign-language outlets. At the same time, we will enhance the visibility of good practices from Africa through that project,” he added.