Greetings from Ankara

Hey there,  greetings from Ankara!

I am Dilara a 27-year-old journalist who has been covering issues on Foreign policy and Turkish diplomacy for the past three years. I was thrilled when I found out I was in the program a couple months ago but little did I know that I would come to Finland at such time. To be more precise.. a time when Turkey and Finland are having “a slight” diplomatic issue. As you might have heard my country has not been the most supportive when it comes to Finland’s membership in NATO. This was quite a shock to my western colleagues, however, when you cover Turkish Foreign policy for over a year nothing really surprises you. BUT on the bright side best journalists are made from the toughest of times (… or something like that).

Aside from diplomacy, I have been covering stories on refugees and humanitarian crises. Turkey being “a bridge” between Europe and Asia is a huge cliché every political science student writes about in their assignments, however over the years with all the wars and crises taking place in the eastern part of the geography, Turkey has really become a passage for those seeking a better life. These people have been a huge inspiration for me and my work. I got to witness people reuniting with their family members after years of falling apart because of the ongoing war in Syria, women giving birth at refugee camps at the Turkish-Syrian border, child labor, and many other human stories. I always consider myself lucky as I can carry these stories to the public.

I was drawn to the program not just because of the thought Finnish sauna, the food, and the amazing nature 🤓 but also because of Finland’s press freedom! 2022 World Press Freedom Index says Finland is number 5 among 180 countries when it comes to press freedom. If I were a Finnish journalist you would find me bragging about this all the time since this is a huge matter for me. I am super enthusiastic about learning the Finnish way of journalism and also would love to see how 13 of my new friends work back in their countries.

I wanted to be a part of this program, because firstly as a Millennial, I would like to see more states taking action on climate change like Finland. Not only does Finland improve its environmental policies but it also supports developing countries’ climate action. In my opinion, Turkey has been taking steps to decrease its carbon footprint and make better ecological policies, like ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement but there is still a long way to go. My generation and the upcoming ones have been struggling with these matters more than any other. So I am very eager to learn about Finland’s path in the solutions for reaching carbon neutrality. I am hoping that this experience will allow me to make better comparisons and follow up on my country’s action plans on these topics.

Hope to see you all soon!


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