Media in Tandem: Social Cohesion through Storytelling

Turkey hosts over 4 million refugees, more than any other country. As the Syrian Civil War enters its second decade and as the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan continues to worsen, more and more vulnerable families and individuals have fled to Turkey with the hopes of eventually reaching Europe or the US. But with resettlement to third countries occurring at a snail’s pace, many refugees have come to call Turkey home and have little intention of returning to Syria. This has presented significant challenges, especially as Turkey struggles with economic uncertainty in the wake of COVID-19.

Despite suffering some of the worst effects of the pandemic and its economic fallout, refugees, asylum seekers, and other forced migrants in Turkey have increasingly become scapegoats, subjected to hate speech and xenophobia in both traditional and social media.

To combat this trend by building the capacities of local migrant and host journalists, HasNa has teamed up with Kırkayak Kültür Sanat ve Doğa Derneği in Gaziantep, Turkey to pursue Media in Tandem: Social Cohesion through Storytelling.

The ultimate objectives of the project are trifold:

1. To bring together migrant and host community journalists to collaborate and learn with, not simply about, one another. 

2. To enhance professional capacities of journalists through targeted skills trainings.

3. To raise awareness of the issues of xenophobia and hate speech vis-à-vis refugees in Turkey, fostering empathy with the displaced on an international scale.

1 Project, 4 Acts

Act 1:


Refugee and host participants attend 11 training sessions led by seasoned journalists and academics.

Act 2:


Participants form multicultural groups, identify issues affecting their communities, and produce a story on the topic.

Act 3:


The groups’ media are screened for international audiences in Gaziantep, Turkey and Washington, DC.

Act 4:


Project background, findings, and policy recommendations are compiled and published in a final project report.

Training Curriculum

Peace Journalism

  • Prof. Steven Youngblood

Rights-Based Journalism

  • Ali Duran Topuz

New Media and Social Transformation

  • Gülcan Ergün

Human Rights and Media

  • Prof. Steven Youngblood

Communication Law

  • Fikret İlkiz

Citizen Journalism

  • Dr. Semiray Yücebaş

Representation of Migrants in the Media

  • Dilan Taşdemir

Visual Media Ethics

  • Kemal Vural Tarlan

Gender Equality and the Media

  • Dr. Tülay Atay

Media and Ethics (2 sessions)

  • Ruşen Çakır & Dr. Tülay Atay

Digital Stories

“I want to represent Turkey in international tournaments but cannot since I don’t have Turkish citizenship. This is one of the biggest problems in my life.”

Muhammed is an 8th grader in Gaziantep whose family fled to Turkey from Syria seven years ago. Since starting to play chess in 2017, he has won several domestic competitions in Turkey but is unable to compete internationally because he is not a Turkish citizen.

“In the end, just like people, culture, and religion, music also migrates.”

Immigrants carry their cultures with them and the role of music in intercultural exchange should not be understated. Music is a powerful factor of social interaction. By interviewing migrant musicians living in Turkey, the creators of this video examine how immigrants view the relationship between music and migration.

“I want people to know me as a person who has drawn a path from uncertainty, as a person who has put his life in order.”

In this piece, two young migrants describe the personal and professional journeys that led them to finding a sense of belonging in Sinop, Turkey.

“People need to understand that the person in front of them is not a stranger but a human being.”

Osama Alhoid is a second year dentistry student in Hatay whose family fled to Turkey from Syria in 2011. In this interview, he describes how the ideals of optimism, empathy, and tolerance give way to mutual understanding and acceptance.