Latest Articles

Nafeez Ahmed

Safeguarding the "grey zone"

For free, open and diverse societies

In an article first published shortly after the 13 November Paris terrorist attacks, investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed addresses the twisted logic of extremist ideologies; and how to break the continuum of violence that such ideologies seek to perpetuate. [ more ]

Valeria Korablyova

Pariahs and parvenus?

Ulrike Guérot

Europe as a republic

Hal Foster, John Douglas Millar

After the canon?

Robert Menasse

A brief history of the European future

New Issues


Osteuropa | 5-6/2015

Zeichen der Zeit. Europas Osten in Fernost [Signs of the times. Europe's East in Far East]

Poeteka | 36 (2015)

Now and again we dream of Europe

Host | 8/2015

Eurozine Review

Eurozine Review

Of technological waves and political frontiers

"Wespennest" refuses to let the machines takeover; "Letras Libres" sees citizen power as the key to a post-national European democracy; "Soundings" strikes out for a new political frontier in British politics; "Il Mulino" traces the shifting contours of the European debate on sovereignty; "Blätter" seeks ways out of the Catalan impasse; "New Eastern Europe" appeals to Europe's goodwill and openness amid refugee crisis; "Arena" reaffirms the Swedish people's overwhelming support for a humanitarian refugee policy; "Merkur" traverses the analogue-digital divide; and "Esprit" samples the paranoid style in the digital age.

Eurozine Review

Beyond imagination or control

Eurozine Review

What animates us?

Eurozine Review

If the borders were porous

Eurozine Review

That which one does not entirely possess

My Eurozine

If you want to be kept up to date, you can subscribe to Eurozine's rss-newsfeed or our Newsletter.

Share |

"The squeeze is being applied selectively"

Varlik, Turkey

A long tradition of financial independence might come to an end if Varlik's sales decline much further, says the editor of the Turkish journal. In a climate where cultural support is heavily politicized, Varlik's future stands or falls on the demand for critical content.

Varlik finances itself entirely through sales and advertising. While both public and third-party funding bodies do exist at the national and regional levels to which we could (theoretically) resort, we haven't done so for several reasons. One of these is that we don't like to waste time with bureaucracy, the other being our aversion to the accompanying loss of independence. We do benefit from a yearly subscription to the public library network (301 copies out of a total of 1500), which is administered by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. We make negligible use of voluntary unpaid work.

Financing European cultural journals

Like other types of cultural organization reliant on public funds, cultural journals throughout Europe have felt the impact of recession. In addition to funding cuts, journals are also having to negotiate the upheavals taking place in the print sector. Through a European survey of financing for cultural journals, Eurozine takes stock of the situation of the network, in order to communicate its experiences internally and to others who hold a stake in European cultural policy today. [more]

Inspired by the Eurozine initiative, our long-standing partner "Varlik" conducted a survey of Turkish journals. Like their European counterparts, Turkish journals need public support. However, they are far more wary of risking their independence by receiving government funding. [more]
In the long term, however, we may be in need of serious financial support if the downward trend in subscriptions and bookstore sales continues. For some years, the magazine has not been available in newsstands, due to the impossible costs the two main national distributors (both divisions of the biggest mainstream media conglomerates in Turkey) impose on serial publications with circulation numbers that do not meet their criteria. Politics, cultural or otherwise, plays a role in the sense that publications addressing marginal segments of the market are expected to compete with mainstream media on the same terms, based on the ideology of the free market.

So while it makes no sense to talk about public funding policy with respect to Varlik itself, it can certainly be said that some periodicals do receive better treatment from various national and/or local government organs that sponsor cultural activities on the basis of their content. For instance, certain religious publications and daily papers connected to the Fethullah Gülen movement have a tremendous reach. These Mormon-like missionaries, who are supported by some of the biggest corporations in Turkey (such as the food conglomerate Ülker), enjoy the blessing of an important faction within the AKP. It's not as if they needed it: Gülen owns a number of TV channels, radio stations and daily newspapers (including Zaman, which boasts a circulation of 1 million, the highest in the Turkish media.)

A good example of how cultural policy is influenced by politics in Turkey is prime minister Erdogan's instruction to take down a huge sculpture, which he called a "monstrosity", symbolizing "peace and reconciliation" near the Armenian border in Kars. It had been commissioned by the previous municipal administration – of a different political colour – as a gesture to its Armenian neighbours. Another example would be his orders to "privatize" state-owned theatres and operas while at the same time placing them largely under the supervision of people either from the ranks of the governmental bureaucracy or close to the AKP. Last but not least, it's an open secret that Erdogan himself has been the main force behind the "cleansing" operation – i.e. the firing of unwelcome columnists and editors – throughout most of the opposition media.

As to whether changes in cultural policy can be seen in connection with the European economic crisis – probably not. The crisis has not had much of a bearing on our business here. When you are already crawling along at rock bottom levels, you cannot sink much deeper! As far as I can see, the wide-reaching austerity measures that have hit some parts of Europe have not yet arrived in Turkey. Whatever squeeze there is, it is being applied selectively, mostly in accordance with political aims.

In terms of Varlik's response to media change, we have a website but only publish on it the table of contents of the current issue. Our entire archive in digitized form is accessible on an independently administered, commercial platform (, launched in 2008, where visitors can subscribe to a particular archive or download individual issues or articles for a small fee. The downward trend in circulation started in the late 1970s and cannot be associated with a single factor such as the rise of the Internet. If anything, the reason is a steep decline in interest for serious, critical writing, as elsewhere in Europe and the world. On the other hand, the collapse of the traditional mainstream media might even be to our advantage. People may be looking at our kind of content more favourably, since it provides criticism and analysis at a level that the mainstream media cannot and would not reach.

At least here in Turkey, print will probably remain the main cultural publishing format in the immediate future, though I may be indulging in wishful thinking. In the long run, however, I expect that digital media will encroach on most of our present territory. Whether that will make our form of publishing obsolete remains to be seen. We are aware of the shortening attention span in this digital age and in some cases try to get contributors to shorten their articles. As for adapting our content to new readership habits, it is a slow process for an 80-year old publication, but we do try to take into account readership feedback.

In terms of our responses to economic pressures, we are indeed broadening our field of activities to a certain extent. But, again, it is easier said than done in a small, family-run, 80 year-old publication. We have tried, successfully, in organizing events in recent years. Lobbying cultural decision makers has so far yielded little more than pleasant wishes and recommendations. We did appeal to the public via an editorial on our 75th anniversary year, in response to which we received some support from a couple of private institutions and persons (which are still continuing). But that's all.

Because, in the short term, Varlik cannot take much part in the European scene, it is difficult to follow what is happening with our colleagues in Europe proper. However I do think that Eurozine and the like can help in sustaining cultural publishing in Europe, and that such organizations and networks can facilitate cultural interaction, the flow of ideas and, in general, conversation between entities at the periphery and at the centre of Europe. Eurozine has opened some windows for Varlik in the past and Varlik may, in turn, have contributed an "insider's view" of what is happening in this part of the world.


Published 2012-09-12

Original in English
First published in Eurozine

Contributed by Varlik
© Osman Deniztekin
© Eurozine

Focal points     click for more

The politics of privacy
The Snowden leaks and the ensuing NSA scandal made the whole world debate privacy and data protection. Now the discussion has entered a new phase - and it's all about policy. A focal point on the politics of privacy: claiming a European value. [more]

Beyond Fortress Europe
The fate of migrants attempting to enter Fortress Europe has triggered a new European debate on laws, borders and human rights. A focal point featuring reportage alongside articles on policy and memory. With contributions by Fabrizio Gatti, Seyla Benhabib and Alessandro Leogrande. [more]

Russia in global dialogue
In the two decades after the end of the Cold War, intellectual interaction between Russia and Europe has intensified. It has not, however, prompted a common conversation. The focal point "Russia in global dialogue" seeks to fuel debate on democracy, society and the legacy of empire. [more]

Ukraine in focus
Ten years after the Orange Revolution, Ukraine is in the throes of yet another major struggle. Eurozine provides commentary on events as they unfold and further articles from the archive providing background to the situation in today's Ukraine. [more]

Eurozine BLOG

On the Eurozine BLOG, editors and Eurozine contributors comment on current affairs and events. What's behind the headlines in the world of European intellectual journals?
Victor Tsilonis
Greek bailout referendum, Euro Summit, Germope
Victor Tsilonis of "Intellectum" (Greece) comments on recent developments in the Greek crisis: the short-lived euphoria of the 5 July referendum, Alexis Tsipras's subsequent "mental waterboarding", and the outlook for a German-led Europe. [more]

Time to Talk     click for more

Time to Talk, a network of European Houses of Debate, has partnered up with Eurozine to launch an online platform. Here you can watch video highlights from all TTT events, anytime, anywhere.
Neda Deneva, Constantina Kouneva, Irina Nedeva and Yavor Siderov
Does migration intensify distrust in institutions?
How do migration and institutional mistrust relate to one another? As a new wave of populism feeds on and promotes fears of migration, aggrandising itself through the distrust it sows, The Red House hosts a timely debate with a view to untangling the key issues. [more]

Support Eurozine     click for more

If you appreciate Eurozine's work and would like to support our contribution to the establishment of a European public sphere, see information about making a donation.

Vacancies at Eurozine     click for more

There are currently no positions available.

Editor's choice     click for more

Timothy Snyder
Europe and Ukraine: Past and future
The history of Ukraine has revealed the turning points in the history of Europe. Prior to Ukraine's presidential elections in May 2014, Timothy Snyder argued cogently as to why Ukraine has no future without Europe; and why Europe too has no future without Ukraine. [more]

Literature     click for more

Karl Ove Knausgård
Out to where storytelling does not reach
To write is to write one's way through the preconceived and into the world on the other side, to see the world as children can, as fantastic or terrifying, but always rich and wide-open. Karl Ove Knausgård on creating literature. [more]

Jonathan Bousfield
Growing up in Kundera's Central Europe
Jonathan Bousfield talks to three award-winning novelists who spent their formative years in a Central Europe that Milan Kundera once described as the kidnapped West. It transpires that small nations may still be the bearers of important truths. [more]

Literary perspectives
The re-transnationalization of literary criticism
Eurozine's series of essays aims to provide an overview of diverse literary landscapes in Europe. Covered so far: Croatia, Sweden, Austria, Estonia, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Hungary. [more]

Debate series     click for more

Europe talks to Europe
Nationalism in Belgium might be different from nationalism in Ukraine, but if we want to understand the current European crisis and how to overcome it we need to take both into account. The debate series "Europe talks to Europe" is an attempt to turn European intellectual debate into a two-way street. [more]

Conferences     click for more

Eurozine emerged from an informal network dating back to 1983. Since then, European cultural magazines have met annually in European cities to exchange ideas and experiences. Around 100 journals from almost every European country are now regularly involved in these meetings.
Law and Border. House Search in Fortress Europe
The 26th European Meeting of Cultural Journals
Conversano, 3-6 October 2014
Eurozine's 2014 conference in southern Italy, not far from Lampedusa, addressed both EU refugee and immigration policies and intellectual partnerships across the Mediterranean. Speakers included Italian investigative journalist Fabrizio Gatti and Moroccan feminist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Rita El Khayat. [more]

Multimedia     click for more
Multimedia section including videos of past Eurozine conferences in Vilnius (2009) and Sibiu (2007). [more]

powered by