PEACE AND CONFLICT IN MEDIA

In the media, there are various striking events that surround the whole agenda. Obviously, the majority of these events are related to the peace and conflict issues. Nevertheless; it can be said that not all of these incidents are able to find a wider coverage within the media. In that sense; some of them can attract huge attention from the international community, whereas others are overshadowed by several reasons including political, ethnic, and sociocultural ones. In this brief reflection report, the main focus will be on the two different cases from the world regarding the issue of peace and conflict, and their analysis in terms of answering some questions, and evaluating the general characteristics.

Initially; with respect to the concept of “peace”, “2018-2019 Korean peace process” will be analyzed and highlighted.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Panmunjom, in the Demilitarised Zone between the two Koreas, on June 30, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

Briefly, the 2018-2019 Korean peace process was an attempt so as to find a resolution for the long-term Korean conflict. In addition, it was mainly based on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula since the international community was concerned regarding nuclear capability and weapons of North Korea, and this situation was escalated in 2017. Therefore, a series of summits were organized between the Chairman of North Korea “Kim Jong-un”, President of South KoreaMoon Jae-in”, and President of USDonald Trump”. In addition, Donald Trump became the first sitting president in US history who met and negotiated with a North Korean leader.

Besides, President Moon became the first South Korean President who gave a speech in the North Korean territories. This process can be regarded as a very important historical event for the future of the region as various cultural exchanges started to begin during that time. In short; with this peace process, sides aimed to draw up a formal peace treaty to officially bring an end to the Korean conflict. When we analyze the discourse of this case, it can be said that negative kind of peace is apparent, and it can be observed with various means because it is about suspension and the postponement of rivalry between political units of South and North Korea. In addition, there was a diplomatic emphasis on peacekeeping or peace restoring through disarmament-arms control within this case.

“Donald Trump’s North Korea Diplomacy” Illustratıon by Nazario Graziano.

Lastly; from my point of view, the most remarkable part of the discourse is that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un emerged from the northern side of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, and then took a step toward South Korean leader Moon Jae-in so as to achieve the highest-level encounter. Especially, this crucial handshake with positive attitudes from both leaders that can be seen in the picture was realized at the most symbolic location which is known as the demarcation line symbolizing one of the last physical remnants of the Cold War in the world. Korean demarcation line deeply separated people who speak the same language, and have the same ethnic, cultural, and civilizational roots. Thus; by shaking hands and keeping their positive posture with smiles, both leaders gave a sympathetic image to the Korean media on both sides of the military demarcation area as a signal of the good will[1].

When we come to the concept of “conflict”, “Xinjiang (East Turkestan) Conflict” and “China’s Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang” will be underlined.

In short, the Xinjiang conflict is an intra-state conflict in the autonomous region of Xinjiang which is located in the far-northwest of China. This conflict is simply centered on the Uighurs who are Turkic minority ethnic groups, and they constitute the majority of the population in the region. Most Uighurs are Muslim, and Islamic values constitute a significant part of their identity and life. Their language belongs to Turkic language family, and thus they are culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian Turkic Republics.

“China’s oppression of Xinjiang’s Uyghurs” Illustratıon by LUTPULLA
 

With respect to the background of the conflict; in the past 20 years, conflict in the East Turkestan has increased to the level of global for a politically and economically growing China in a steady way. With various means and methods such as the impact of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China was able to step up the policy of pressure and suppression concerning Uighurs’ problems. For instance, many Uighurs cannot speak out because of the fear of violent repercussions since they have been indoctrinated and even tortured against making criticism regarding the Chinese government. Even; by organizing its vast security apparatus, the Chinese government forces Uighur refugees living in abroad to remain silent by threatening to detain and harm the family members of those who criticize human rights violations imposed by China. In addition, the commercial and cultural activities of Uighurs have been progressively curtailed by the harsh Chinese government. To cement this point, there are severe restraints on religious activities together with limited and fewer mosques, and also strict supervision over religious schools. Regarding the attitude of the discourse, it is both the combination of criticism and neutral facts, yet condemnation of the Chinese government prevails over the didactic material about the conflict. In that sense, the violent incidents of China have involved a growing number of ethnic clashes among Uighurs and Han Chinese, explosions and Chinese military operations in the region, and some high-profile events including Uighurs. Therefore, increasing radicalization among Uighurs is inevitable. Besides, more than a million Muslims, the majority of whom composed of Uighurs, have been arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang Province re-education camps[2].

Various non-governmental organizations, prostests (Silent Scream) actions by the Chinese administration on human rights violations against Uyghur Turks in East Turkistan

Eventually; in my opinion, one point is very striking in this analysis of discourse, which is about the optimistic solutions. In that condition, the Chinese state has to reassess its policies in Xinjiang, which all the time bring about negative context and coverage, and end up with the exposure to the international condemnation. Nevertheless, it is equally crucial that reports and statements of media on the conflictual province of Xinjiang must be expressed more carefully in an objective way. Therefore, Islamic characteristics that feed the conflict are only one aspect of the Uighur Turks’ long claim and struggle for their sovereignty, freedom, and autonomy.


[1] SETA. (2018, April 28). The inter – Korean summit and the long road to peace. SETA: derived from https://www.setav.org/en/the-inter-korean-summit-and-the-long-road-to-peace/

[2] Siddiqui, U. (2015, July 21). The ethnic roots of China’s Uighur crisis. Aljazeera America: derived from http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/7/the-ethnic-roots-of-chinas-uighur-crisis.html

Elterişhan Elçibey
Middle East Technical University, Department of International Relations
Posts created 2

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