TURKEY

SALOM will continue using the language of peace

İvo MOLİNAS
SALOM will continue using the language of peace

On October 29th, 1947, a Don Quixote emerged in Istanbul and made his dream of a lifetime come true. SALOM, that was founded 70 years ago by the late journalist Avram Leyon with his limited financial resources, is today I presume the second oldest newspaper in Turkey that’s being published incessantly even though it is a weekly publication.

In its first years, SALOM was being published in Ladino- Judeo Espanyol language, which was a language used by the majority of Turkish Jews, at the time. Because of the notorious state-oppressed movement “Speak Turkish, Citizen”, in time Turkish Jews’ major spoken language became Turkish and so did SALOM’s. Today, SALOM is being published in Turkish except for one page and has reached to the same level as other national newspapers.  In 1984, having drained all his financial sources, Avram Leyon handed his newspaper over to the Chief Rabbinate of Turkey. For all his hard work, Leyon’s name must be printed in gold letters in the history of Turkish journalism.

We believe that SALOM, as the sole newspaper of Turkish Jewish Community-a community whose population dropped to 16,000-17,000 recently- with its content, a wide range of writers from different faith groups and its active use of different social media platforms has become more than just a community newspaper and despite its shortcomings have reached to a level where it is perceived as a national newspaper followed by all of Turkey.

Yes, we must accept that on every aspect we are living in a difficult and demanding geography. Marginalization has almost become an indispensable part of this land. Throughout history, every faction of society including religious, ethnic or cultural factions had their share of marginalization. Kurds, non-Muslims, Alawites, leftists, conservatives, women wearing hijab... All of them have been the victims of this sociological fact from time to time in line with the zeitgeist. Instead of turning our differences into wealth, we have turned them into division and alienation.

We must believe that now is the time to make up for all the lost time and reinforce human capital and intellectual power. It shouldn’t be hard to see that now is the time to seek ways to turn differences into wealth instead of letting them be turned into corrosive and destructive results.  Keeping in mind that, we are all from the same race, the human race, we should come to realize there is no plausible reason why we should not pursue common goals and ideals and eventually come together for peace.

In this regard, SALOM, like the meaning of its name, will always continue using the language of peace as it always did in the past. By using the language of peace, SALOM, rather than adopting an approach that reflects the differences in a negative way, will always continue to strive for instituting a culture of peace and reconciliation.

SALOM, in a climate where ignorance, learned mistakes, and prejudice have evolved into marginalization, strives to pursue “the facts (the truth)” through objective journalism and publishing. It is trying to reflect issues to its pages using a non-provocative, reasonable and reconciliatory language.

This language of peace used by SALOM, sometimes irritates and infuriates some of our brothers who have different opinions and beliefs and sometimes SALOM is even faced with threatening words because of it. However, SALOM believes that it is in the right path when both opposite poles harshly criticize the it, since there cannot be two rights at the same time.

SALOM is trying to reduce the level of general ignorance. Through various op-eds, news, articles and interviews it is trying to explain why prejudices are not just sole judgements, but biases, indeed.

In general, SALOM is receiving positive feedbacks. The newspaper has hundreds of readers who do not hide their embarrassment and confess that “they have misjudged Jews”. There are readers who realize that different religious traditions have indeed many things in common and they say “I was wrong. As humans, you and I have no difference. We are all the same in the eyes of God as we share the same joys, the same sorrows and the same fears.” Yes, Salom does have such readers because it is trying to write, objectively.

SALOM repeatedly demonstrates to everyone that facts and truth is the antidote for prejudice and marginalization. That’s when and how we understand that in this country there are much more reasonable people than we think.

In this context, Salom, committed to its longstanding mission in journalism and the meaning of its name, will always continue to use the language of peace to demonstrate that our differences can be utilized positively, both in our country and the world..

Yet, we have only one country. Patriotism and nationalism requires pursuit of peace and reconciliation, regardless of given circumstances.

With support from our readers, SALOM, with its content and the language of peace it uses, will continue raising its bar in journalism.

Hereby, I would like to sincerely extend my gratitude to all Salom lovers who attended our historical 70th anniversary celebration.

There is no other Turkey, there is no other SALOM… 

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