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Changing Expectations: Notes from the History of the BBC's Turkish Service

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Established in 1939, the Turkish radio of the BBC World Service underwent a series of metamorphoses vis-à-vis the ever-changing expectations in Turkey, in the United Kingdom and within the BBC. Once a propaganda apparatus during the Second World War, the Turkish Service became a device of British cultural diplomacy during the Cold War. Since its foundation, interaction with Turkey and its intellectual circles was lively, and transformed the radio into a well-received media outlet, especially appreciated during times of political censorship. In the post-Cold War world, however, the liberalization and privatization of media in Turkey forced the Turkish Service to adjust its broadcasting by improving access to audiences and shifting the focus of news coverage to international issues. This article explores the history of the Turkish Service vis-à-vis the political and social situations in Turkey, the conditions of the British Broadcasting Corporation and the broader political environment.


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