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Turkiye, Africa need to double down on telling, protecting her stories, says Nwanze

By Waliat Musa
06 June 2022   |   2:45 am
In a world dominated by the reach and power of Western media, the need for other cultures to tell their stories and control their narratives is important, Cheta Nwanze

Turkey officially changes name at UN to Turkiye

In a world dominated by the reach and power of Western media, the need for other cultures to tell their stories and control their narratives is important, Cheta Nwanze, a partner at Lagos-based SBM Intelligence, has said.

Nwanze was a panellist at the third edition of the Turkey-Africa Media Summit organised by the Directorate of Communications of the Turkish presidency in Istanbul. The summit was held to coincide with the 2022 Africa Day.

Nwanze insisted that allowing others to tell African stories has been detrimental to the continent, noting that such moves have led to distortions of African narratives.

“Turkiye gets news about Africa from Westerners in the same way those in Africa get news about Turkiye from the Western media,” Nwanze said. “We need to tell our own stories.”

He emphasised that disinformation about Africa and its culture stemmed from the fact that Westerners have unfettered control over African stories.

In his opening remarks at the summit, the Director of Communications in the Turkish presidency, Fahrettin Altun, called for experience sharing in media and communication to fight “terror propaganda.”

Altun particularly urged social media platforms to “give up providing propaganda opportunities to terror organisations.”

He also said Turkiye would support efforts at fighting discrimination, climate change and the promotion of good African practices in Turkiye and around the world.

The summit was held to strengthen collaborations and coordination between Turkish and African media, and was attended by 80 media members from 45 African countries, as well as African diplomats, executives of public institutions, media representatives, academics, representatives of private sectors and non-governmental organisations.

MEANWHILE, Turkey has told the United Nations that, at the behest of its president, it wishes from now on to be called Turkiye in all languages, the UN announced at the weekend.

“The change is immediate,” Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief’s spokesperson said. He noted that Ankara’s official letter requesting the change had been received at the UN’s New York headquarters.

On Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, had tweeted a photo of himself signing the letter, addressed to UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

“With the letter I sent to the UN Secretary-General today, we are registering our country’s name in foreign languages at the UN as “Turkiye,” he wrote, including an umlaut over the “u”.

He added that the change would bring to an end the process of “increasing the brand value of our country,” an initiative started by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has led the country for almost two decades.

Over the past few years, the country has sought to change the branding of its products from “made in Turkey” to “made in Turkiye.”

In addition to making the UN’s nomenclature match how the nation is spelt in Turkish, the update would also help distinguish the country from the bird of the same name in English.

“The name change may seem silly to some but it puts Erdogan in the role of protector, of safeguarding international respect for the country,” Georgetown University professor, Mustafa Aksakal, was quoted as saying.