By Mutlu Civiroglu
WASHINGTON DC – Turkey’s Anadolu Agency (AA) opened its Washington office last week, with the regional director of the official news agency saying that was an important step toward the company’s vision of becoming one of the world’s leading news organizations.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who inaugurated the office, said that Washington DC “is actually a very important capital for Turkey.”
He said the new bureau sends an important message to the US, demonstrating the significance Ankara gives to Washington, and Turkey’s willingness for closer relations.
Babacan said that the new office will allow AA to deliver important news from a capital such as Washington to a wider audience around the world.
Ural Yesil, AA’s regional director for Europe and Americas, told Rudaw this is the agency’s second office in the United States.
“We opened our central office in New York last year, and the Washington office is the second one in this country. We have our centennial vision of being a leading news agency in the world. That is why we are in Washington now.”
Yesil said that AA took the decision to expand operations in America – from the United States to Canada and Chile in Latin America – after successful operations in the Middle East and Europe.
“The Washington office is our 27th office abroad. We are covering 100 countries with our representatives and correspondents. On an average day we have 1,500 news stories, more than 2,000 photos and hundreds of videos in seven different languages,” he added.
He noted that in 2011 AA operated in only a single language, which had grown to seven with the addition of French last week. He added that AA has 1,500 subscribers in 25 countries.
“Our goal is to become one of the top five news agencies in the world by the 100th anniversary, in 2020,” Yesil said, adding that was the company’s “Centennial Vision.”
Answering Rudaw’s question about the agency’s Kurdish service, which started last year, Yesil called that a brave move.
“Opening the Kurdish service actually was a unique decision from our side. You don’t see many news agencies broadcast in Kurdish. There are regions, countries that speak Kurdish. It is important to reflect the policies of the Turkish government and Turkey as a whole to the world and Kurdish regions,” he said.
He explained that the goal of launching the Kurdish service was that the agency wanted Kurds to hear directly from Anadolu about Turkey and Turkish government policies, rather than from other international agencies.
“We want to publish our stories in Kurdish and take out the middle man — to directly deliver our news to Kurdish end users. We think it is an important step for our agency, and we have been receiving positive feedback since we started our Kurdish service.”