Presidency's Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun noted, "We deal with communication with a strategic perspective in line with national interests. We carry out works aimed at protecting and boosting our country's reputation at the national and international level."
Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun was hosted by İpek Açar in her show "Can Cana" broadcast on the Turkish Police Radio station.
Touching on the work carried out by the Directorate of Communications and Turkey's agenda, Director of Communications Altun said that the Presidential System of Government was a historical step taken on the path to a great and robust Turkey under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Altun noted that one of the milestones accomplished by the new system was the founding of the Directorate of Communications.
Underlining that President Erdoğan had a visionary perspective that Turkey should show strong performance in the field of national and international communication just as in all areas, Director of Communications Altun said that in this regard, the idea that the communication of Turkey must be sustained in a corporate structure was essential.
Director of Communications Altun stressed that the mission of the Directorate of Communications was "to determine and conduct Turkey's public communications strategy," adding that they deal with communication with a strategic perspective in line with national interests and carry out works in line with an understanding aimed at protecting and boosting our country's reputation at the national and international level.
Director of Communications Altun noted, "Our concern is to carry out quality work worthily for the rise of our country, which has a voice in the region and the world, to announce the voice of our nation and the righteous struggle of our state to the whole world, and to fight the black propaganda activities carried out with unjust and false accusations against our country."
"We will strive to strengthen the Turkey brand"
Director of Communications Altun said that they would strive to serve the ideal of a great and strong Turkey under the leadership of President Erdoğan in the upcoming term as well, and noted the following:
"As the Directorate of Communications, we have taken reinforcing and improving steps in all fields from institutionalisation to physical and technical infrastructure, human resources to the foreign and international organisations. In 2021, we will use all the means and resources of strategic communication on this infrastructure to carry out works that will be the voice of our nation all over the world, especially in the international arena. We attach great importance to explaining our country's theses, claims and practices to the international public in a correct and sustainable manner with an integrated communication strategy. We will strive to strengthen the Turkey brand with multidimensional and multi-stakeholder projects from both the public and private sectors."
"CİMER received approximately 6 million applications in 2020"
Director of Communications Altun said that the Communication Centre (CİMER) was operating within the Directorate of Communications and that it was a very worthy project that they were proud of.
Pointing out that CİMER is one of the best examples of participatory democracy, Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun said, "It's a project that our citizens closely follow, participate in, and complement as a whole. It functions as a communication bridge between the state and nation, and it is currently the largest public communications platform in the world. We are quite assertive on this matter. I consider CİMER as a structure that could be defined as a revolution in the world history of communications based on its contribution to state-people relations."
Indicating that there is a very strong interaction in CİMER, Presidency's Director of Communications Altun informed that CİMER received approximately 6 million applications in 2020 with an increase of 90 per cent, compared to the previous year.
Stating that they receive hundreds of messages in which the citizens convey their satisfaction with CİMER, Director of Communications Altun stressed that they have also continuously brought CİMER to the forefront in the international arena where projects on public relations compete and that they have gained appreciation through the awards they received.
"Lies, slanders and insults are not criticism"
Upon a question related to the fight against the insults, slanders, and lies spread mainly in the social media under the pretence of criticism, Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun noted the following:
"Criticism is truly quite valuable. Criticism in its essence is something constructive, not destructive. Yet at this point we have reached, we begin to observe that there are some efforts aimed at legitimising some systematic lies, which are at the level of an insult or a slander, under the name of criticism. A systematic insult, slander, and character assassination can never be considered criticism. The social media platforms that we could view as an opportunity in terms of communication and democracy may, unfortunately, become a basis for the systematic lie and slander campaigns. What is essential here is that the public authority takes some precautions so that its citizens are not affected by such disinformation, systematic lie, and slander campaigns. At this point, legal regulation has also been devised. For us, it is unacceptable for any of our citizens to deal with unfair and systematic attrition campaigns, lies, slanders, or insults."
"This struggle here needs to turn into a culture"
Underlining that those who carry out destructive perception operations systematically implement the slander campaigns and character assassinations as part of dirty politics, Director of Communications Altun said, "These dirty politics generally end up being a custom order politics. Unfortunately, they mostly strive to create a chaotic atmosphere in Turkey."
Stating that the enemies of Turkey release the attacks aimed at the social, political and economic life, false news and many contents with chaotic purposes via social media, and carry out a malign perception operation in this sense, Presidency's Director of Communications Altun stressed that another responsibility of the public authority was to prevent the social media from turning into a crime scene.
Recalling that at this point, the regulation known as the social media law in public was brought to agenda and entered into force with the ratification of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Director of Communication noted, "Obviously, making a law on its own is not the bottom of it. This struggle needs to turn into a culture. In this sense, as the Directorate of Communications, one of our projects that we attached great importance to in 2020 was our Social Media Use Guideline book. Our citizens can also access this book on our website. In this book, we laid out the means and methods of how to build a clean communication space."
"Eastern Mediterranean, part of our Blue Homeland"
Answering a question about Turkey’s Eastern Mediterranean policy, Director of Communications Altun reiterated Turkey’s role as the most critical player in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Director of Communications Altun underlined that Turkey’s recent moves in its region as a regional power had seriously influenced global politics.
Indicating that Turkey’s Eastern Mediterranean policy occupied a central place in global politics, Director of Communications Altun said, “Turkey has taken very critical steps here under the leadership of our President in order to safeguard its rights and interests. We, as the Directorate of Communications, have made efforts to inform the world about Turkey’s position on this issue. To this end, we have worked to convey our Eastern Mediterranean policy and theses to the international community. We also communicate our country’s fight against terrorism, foreign policy moves and theses related to the international system both in Turkey and around the world.”
Director of Communications Altun also emphasized their efforts to counter disinformation policies against Turkey.
"The Eastern Mediterranean is part of our Blue Homeland;” Director of Communications Altun said and reiterated Turkey’s firm assertion there.
Director of Communications Altun continued as follows:
"Under the leadership of our President, Turkey has supported equality, diplomacy and dialogue on the Eastern Mediterranean issue since day one. Some countries made some statements and took some steps that escalated the tension. Turkey continues to manage the process without stepping back and also without giving up on equality, diplomacy and dialogue. We would never step back from our rights and interests. Yet it is evident that we have a prudent stance. With our President's resolution, we have opened room for dialogue and diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean. No matter what, we are determined to turn the region into a basin of peace and stability. The Eastern Mediterranean is a region in which Turkey had an assertion throughout history. Turkey still retains this assertion today."
“Our country and state assume a historical mission"
Upon another question, Director of Communications Altun indicated that he was in charge of an organization that holds an extremely critical position with the approval of President Erdoğan and seeks to defend the rights and interests of the country in the national and international arena on behalf of the public, and expressed that the critical point was to work for the country.
Stating that he would not stop working for the country as long as he lived, regardless of position, title, and authority, Director of Communications Altun told that he was mainly occupied with the problems of the country and the society, working in an effort to create ideas and information and to act out in his area of responsibility.
Director of Communications, who expressed that his efforts were in line with the interests of the country and the public on a local and national axis both in his academic life and in his works in the fields of media and communication, continued his words as follows:
"Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to stress that we live in a country like Turkey. I believe our country and state assume a historical mission. A country with such a geostrategic position, such a historical background and such a dynamic population has very rightful claims. For years, through various Westernized politics, there have been attempts to suppress these assertions. Our people have always objected to them no matter what they were. Through coup d’etats, they tried to thwart these claims; they attempted to thwart democratic politics. However, especially after 2000, through the policies, struggle, and leadership of our President, the loud voice of the society was heard in politics and many other areas. Our country’s assertion to become a regional power and global actors has somehow evolved into a concrete demand and goal. It was something that did not even come to people’s minds in the past."
Describing Turkey's realistic political, social, global theses and issues Director of Communications Altun said:
"In a country like this, you cannot deal with custom order matters or trending issues instead of dealing with these theses and matters. I sought to oppose this at the academy, and it was opposed not only by me but also by many people in this sense. Instead, we said that it was essential to talk about real matters and focus on real issues, and we put forth this effort. As your state fights against terrorist organizations, such as the PKK, FETO and DAESH, when much disinformation and dirty perceptions are being carried out against your country with lies and distortions inside and outside, you cannot talk about trivial issues in the ivory towers of the academy or the media under the guise of neutrality. This is something that this nation, this society, who raised you, will never and never accept. You can see that those who act in the guise of neutrality are, in fact, actors of western politics in an effort to cover up certain fundamental issues and suppress segments of society that have claims. Regardless of where we are, I believe we should support and contribute to our country's struggle and the unity and solidarity of our society while we are progressing diligently in our fields. In this context, I try to make an effort as much as I can."
"I attach importance to the contribution of international organizations to the promotion of our country"
In response to the question regarding the Formula 1 organization's promotional activities held in Istanbul under the auspices of the Presidency, Director of Communications Altun said that it was a source of pride for the country that this organization was successfully held despite the global pandemic conditions.
Stating that President Erdoğan was following this issue and attaching great importance to it, Director of Communications Altun said, "The organizational potential of our country is already well established throughout the world. Once again, we hosted an international race in an outstanding manner."
Stating that Formula 1 Turkey Grand Prix held in Istanbul left its mark to the season and was selected as the best race of 2020 by the race fans, Director of Communications Altun said, "We, as the Directorate of Communications, have turned this important organization into an opportunity for the promotion our country. Within the scope of the races, different films were shot in various parts of Istanbul by our Directorate with an aim to promote Turkey, and they were presented to the world. Our films promoting Istanbul have also reached millions of viewers globally. We attach great importance to the contribution of international organizations to the promotion of our country. I hope we will continue to implement similar projects."
"Our nation has a very clear historical consciousness"
On the question about the digital projects implemented by Directorate of Communications regarding the national, cultural and historical characters, Director of Communications Altun said, "In Turkey, our nation has a very clear historical consciousness. Despite being suppressed and subjected to efforts of hiding it, this consciousness is very alive."
Stating that the society, especially the youth, showed a significant favour to this when the works that have meaning in a historical sense were done, Director of Communications Altun made the following assessment:
"Fundamentally, in these works, we are trying to show the whole world that the Republic of Turkey is not a new-born state. We have a history full of glorious victories, and the dynamic that enabled these victories is still alive today. We are trying to transfer the values that provide the spirit to our nation to future generations with innovative projects using communication, art, and technology. While doing this, we say that we are the representatives of a deep-rooted past in this geography, we have an extraordinary claim. We represent a permanent, effective, strong presence in this geography, and our efforts of representation will continue with all its might."
"We learn a lot from our President's determination and energy"
On the question regarding his family life in a busy schedule and pandemic period, Director of Communications Altun gave the following information:
"Naturally, I am working with our President. He has a very busy working pace. Our President, taking all the precautions in the global pandemic conditions, put his efforts to work intensely for his country, and in this sense, he did not slow down at all. We learn a lot from his determination and energy. Therefore, we have a very busy working pace. Fatmanur, my wife, also makes an intense effort in both her academic studies and civil society works. From the children's point of view, I can clearly say that they miss their school very much as all of our children do. They want to return to their school and meet their friends as soon as possible. At this point, of course, they are aware of the importance of health. We hope this process will end as soon as possible for our country and all of humanity."
"PSO's new building is a project we are proud of"
Stating that President Erdoğan, who attaches great importance to art and the artist, closely followed the process regarding the new building of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra day by day, Director of Communications Altun continued as follows:
"He made an intense effort for the Presidential Symphony Orchestra to continue their artistic life in a place that would suit them, and as a result of this effort, this magnificent work came out. I was very pleased and proud to be in that magnificent hall and listen to that great concert during the first concert program in our orchestra's new home. I sincerely believe that the Presidential Symphony Orchestra will host concerts that will attract the world's attention in their new building. This has been a project we are proud of. Under the leadership of our President, such a magnificent work has emerged."
"We regard animals as beings of creation, as well"
Upon a question regarding the sensitivity towards animals, Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun said that President Erdoğan and First Lady Emine Erdoğan follow this issue very closely.
Stating that he believed that, the regulation prepared to prevent cruelty and maltreatment of animals would be brought to the agenda of the Assembly as soon as possible, Director of Communications Altun indicated that the creature should be loved for the sake of the Creator, not forgetting that animals are also beings of creation.
Director of Communications Altun said, "We share the nature with them, we breathe together. Our Prophet said, 'One must be merciful not only to people but to all creatures.' We are members of a civilization that values animals and has implemented very gentle and thoughtful practices. We must continue these beautiful examples and take them further. At this point, penal sanctions must be implemented against torture and maltreatment of animals no matter the pretext. On the other hand, awareness should be raised in the process which would begin in the family, in the importance of loving and showing mercy to animals."