March 17, 2015, Washington, D.C. – Samanyolu TV had a Grand Opening of their Washington D.C. Broadcasting Center at the TAA office during the 5th Annual Turkic American Convention. Lamija Silajdzic from Turkic American Alliance hosted the ceremony. Businessperson, representatives from NGOs and international guests attended the ceremony which was being broadcasted live in Turkey. A total of 150 guests were in attendance. Ridvan Kiziltepe, Vice President of Samanyolu TV noted that the channel he represented was “… pleased to be the first one among Turkish TV [channels] …” to open a D.C. Broadcasting Center. He also underscored STV’s commitment to “universal values, democracy and dialogue oriented broadcasting” and reassured everyone in attendance and watching live that STV will be unveiling new initiatives.
A documentary film showcasing Samanyolu TV’s path for the last 22 years. As it noted in the documentary, Samanyolu TV was established in 1993 and received the Diamond Star Award for Media Excellence merely a decade later, in 2003. Its original series are now marketed to worldwide audiences, and its affiliates are successful broadcasting companies such as Mehtap TV, Kure TV, Burc FM and Dunya FM.
Samanyolu TV General Director of Broadcasting, stated his excitement by saying “We are very pleased to open a branch in the world’s most important capital.” He also noted that STV was looking forward to a bright future, despite the pressures on the channel, referring to the latest probes by the Turkish Government into Samanyolu TV’s operations.
Hidayet Karaca, Samanyolu Broadcasting Group General Director who is currently jailed by the Turkish Government sent his heartfelt feelings to his channel’s staff in the District, saying “I wish I was able to be with you today.”
Member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Aykan Aydemir (Republican People’s Party – CHP), who was in attendance, gave his remarks and expressed his delight about STV’s new initiative. He noted “This is a remarkable day …” because STV – D.C. will be a strong platform between the U.S.A and Turkey. He also mentioned it was his belief that if “we are to form a prosperous future, it is only possible with free journalists.”
Enver Erdem (Nationalist Movement Party – MHP), Member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, also took the stage to say a few words. He condemned the jailing of journalists in Turkey without regard to the law.
Ilhan Isbilen, an independent Member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey noted that he believed that the Grand Opening caused joy to all of Turkey. He noted that Turkey’s problems abroad would be remedied only with free media. He continued to note that he was impressed with STV’s expansion into the city and noted that media and broadcasting technology was at its highest level of advancement, making this new initiative possible.
Moderator: Willliam Courtney Former, US Ambassador to Kazakhstan
Panelists: H.E. Kairat Umarov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United States
Dr. Richard Weitz, Director, Center for Political-Military Analysis, Hudson Institute
Julia Nanay, Senior Director, Markets&Country Strategies PFC Energy
Islambek Salzhanov, President, Altyn Kyran Companies
Dr. Ariel Cohen, Senior Research for Russian, Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy, Heritage Foundation “The region has been under the influence of several countries. Chinese were in the area for thousands of years so they have a great influence over that area. Now, people are watching Russian TV channels not Chinese. After 20 years the generations will not be as influenced by Russians.”