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Octo­ber 1st will mark the 8th anniver­sary of Kedis­tan’s cre­ation.

From its incep­tion, the mag­a­zine wished to be off-cen­ter, lib­er­tar­i­an, far far removed from the jar­gon of activists, often over­whelm­ing on “alter­na­tive” media sites.

After a few months of fine tun­ing in the tail end of 2014, the web­site became a buzzing hive of infor­ma­tion on Turkey in 2015, at a time when, over there, the sit­u­a­tion was rapid­ly evolv­ing toward a fresh surge in the war against the Kur­dish pop­u­la­tion, tem­pered for a while by the “peace process”.

At the time, the need was obvi­ous to give voice main­ly to the main par­ties involved, while offer­ing here analy­ses rest­ing on “spe­cial­ists” on Turkey and the Mid­dle East (“spe­cial­ist” now being a word total­ly sul­lied by main­stream media). Pub­li­ca­tions var­ied between dai­ly news and commentary.

Kedis­tan then con­clud­ed part­ner­ships with a Kur­dish news chain, and trans­lat­ed many arti­cles drawn from the “oppo­si­tion press” in Turkey.

At the time, in 2014, to paint a brief por­trait, the only French-lan­guage infor­ma­tion rel­a­tive to Turkey was pro­duced by the par­rots of the Kemal­ist oppo­si­tion, known over here as “social democ­rats”, the main­stream media and its “objec­tive” cor­re­spon­dents, while oth­er excel­lent jour­nal­ists were snubbed by main­stream media, as were aca­d­e­mics or researchers no one lis­tened to, and a total­ly ignored Kur­dish move­ment hold­ing demon­stra­tions to the indif­fer­ence of all.

Kedis­tan “land­ed” in this con­text, and its tone dif­fered from that of habit­u­al polit­i­cal expres­sions, main­ly because of its lack of “objec­tiv­i­ty” which found a pub­lic. Over 4 000 dai­ly French and Turk­ish lan­guage read­ers in 2015. This fol­lowed on strong dai­ly sup­port to the Gezi move­ment of pre­ced­ing years, in which links had been established.

This net­work widened with the open­ing of the web­site and Kedis­tan then became involved in sol­i­dar­i­ty cam­paigns that received a strong hear­ing thanks to this audience.

We won’t sum­ma­rize here the entire history.

But the team of vol­un­teers, vari­able over the years, rests nonethe­less on her his­tor­i­cal cre­ator, born in Istan­bul, for the core of the mate­r­i­al and its publication.

Eight years lat­er, this core, rest­ing on the links, the friend­ships, but also some enmi­ties encoun­tered along the way, main­tains the publication’s orientation.

As a min­i­mum, we con­sid­er indis­pens­able the main­te­nance of an archive of 4 000 arti­cles avail­able to everyone.

Enrich­ing it by widen­ing the focus beyond the Mid­dle East, also appeared mean­ing­ful, since we also had things to say else­where.

Enrich­ing the web­site with poet­ry, with trans­lat­ed short sto­ries, shar­ing these crush­es, encour­aged us to keep on going.

The rate of pub­li­ca­tion has changed. From two, some­times three arti­cles per day, we are now at four or five per week. With its Eng­lish lan­guage ver­sion, thanks to our ant-like trans­la­tor, that rhythm has also become more relative.

Exhaus­tion ?Demo­bi­liza­tion ? Even worse “what’s the point-ism”?

None of that.

For one, dur­ing those 8 years, many things have hap­pened with online pub­lish­ing and the impor­tance gained by social net­works, and what they rep­re­sent in terms of “diges­tion”. Oth­er “friend­ly” web­sites, born dur­ing these same years, also real­ize that pro­duc­ing mate­r­i­al for read­er­ship online is turn­ing into a calling.

As per­tains to Kedis­tan pre­cise­ly, Turkey hav­ing been raised as a bogey­man by the right and the far right, out of sheer islam­o­pho­bia, the gen­er­al impres­sion that too much is said about it already tends to keep the curi­ous away. As far as we are con­cerned, ever since the failed coup d’Etat of 2016, the prison cov­er­age has become all-encom­pass­ing, with a con­stant­ly repeat­ing pat­tern of repres­sion. Rewrit­ing the same arti­cles with noth­ing but a change of names is not ter­ri­bly moti­vat­ing. And we car­ry out those dai­ly denun­ci­a­tions on social networks.

We have often refused to pub­lish brief news items with­out com­men­tary or analy­ses, and in keep­ing with the pub­li­ca­tion style of social net­works, in a sen­sa­tion­al­ist mode. We have read­ers, not fans who ’like’ and even if this reduces the sta­tis­tics, we are rather proud of the fact.

We must also add that with a par­al­lel activ­i­ty of two con­sec­u­tive years of trans­la­tion and adap­ta­tion of two works by Zehra Doğan and the fact our friend­ship with her leads us to col­lab­o­rat­ing now in sup­port of her work, time runs short at times, and as a friend said, “even if Kedis­tan doesn’t pub­lish any­thing, the world will go on turn­ing”.

Thus, we do not feel guilty in the least of dere­lic­tion of duty. But we had the duty to our 30 000 read­ers, Eng­lish and French speak­ing both, who con­tin­ue to vis­it the web­site on a month­ly basis, to let them know that this momen­tary “pause” does not augur of a future dis­ap­pear­ance, quite the con­trary, but of a new cat-life to come…

Illus­tra­tion : Naz Oke

Translation from French by Renée Lucie Bourges

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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.