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After the pogrom, Turkish journalists are living in an absolute hell in a de facto dictatorship

‘Media cannot be silenced’

  • For the story, the tactics of MIT under Erdoganistan’s rule

Back in 2014, Serena Shim was an American journalist for Press TV. While covering the Siege of Kobanê as a war correspondent, she was allegedly killed in a car crash. Her employer called the accident “suspicious” as she was killed two days after Turkey allegedly accused her of spying.

She had reported that ISIL militants being smuggled over the Turkish border into Syria on trucks bearing the symbols of NGOs like the “World Food Organisation”. Shim, said on air she’s “a bit frightened” by what MİT “might use against me. While she was returning to Suruç with her driver and camera operator Judy Irish in a rental car when the car collided with a cement mixer. Shim survived the crash, but died of a heart attack after being taken to an undisclosed location. Her co-worker Irish was injured and taken to Suruç State Hospital.The vehicle driver was subsequently arrested.Press TV disputed this, alleging that both driver and vehicle “have disappeared” and her death is “suspicious”.

In 2015, Ahmet Hakan, a columnist for the daily Hürriyet newspaper and high-profile TV host for CNN Türk, was attacked and beaten along with his bodyguard shortly after midnight Oct. 1 by four men who had followed him home, the Istanbul-based newspaper said. Hakan was hospitalized with broken ribs and a broken nose.

Police have detained the four suspects involved in the assault, which Hürriyet’s editor-in-chief said was “an organized, planned attack.” Three of the four  were members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) founded by  Erdogan. The three were expelled from the party Oct. 2, Hürriyet reported.

In May of 2014, Yusuf Yerkel, a senior Turkish government advisor, injured his leg. He’d been kicking a man protesting the prime minister’s response to the worst the worst mining accident in the country’s history. To Yerkel’s embarrassment, the moment was caught by a Reuters photographer, meaning the entire world got the chance to witness that moment. Yet on Dec. 8, the Official Gazette reported that Latuff’s website was banned and could no longer be accessed in Turkey.

An İstanbul court, last month, decided to release, pending trial, Murat Şahin, who was arrested for attacking Turkish journalist Can Dündar with a gun in May, the state-run Anadolu news agency has reported.

Şahin approached Dündar as he was speaking to reporters during a break in a hearing on May 6 outside İstanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse, firing two shots at the journalist’s legs while shouting, “You are a traitor.”

  • Turkey detains opposition Cumhuriyet journalists

As of October 14, 2016, 127 reporters, editors and columnists are under arrest.The 31st of October was again a Black Monday for the Turkish Media. Detention orders were issued for 13 staff members of Cumhuriyet newspaper, with 11 detained in raids, including the editor-in-chief according to Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu Ajansi.

The newspaper, which had published revelations embarrassing for the government, said at least a dozen journalists and executives were detained in early morning raids.

The detentions come after Turkish authorities fired more than 10,000 civil servants at the weekend and closed 15 pro-Kurdish and other media outlets, the latest purge since July’s failed military coup.


Cumhuriyet‘s editor Murat Sabuncu was detained and police were hunting for executive board chairman Akin Atalay, the official news agency Anadolu said.

The Istanbul prosecutor said an investigation had been launched into allegations the secular daily’s output was “legitimising” the attempted putsch.Cumhuriyet said an arrest warrant was also issued for its former editor-in-chief Can Dundar, who was sentenced to jail in May for allegedly revealing state secrets in a high-profile case that triggered alarm about the state of press freedom in Turkey.Dundar is now believed to be in Germany after he was freed earlier this year pending an appeal.

Euronews correspondent Sandor Zsiros caught with him at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France last week.

This is the worst period of time in our history for the media and the journalists. We’ve been suffering a lot. It was not better before the military intervention attempt but after that it’s really hell. And Turkey became the biggest prison for journalists and only a couple of papers and just one TV station have been left and suffering and struggling. This is more or less the position of Turkish press and Europe should of course support the struggle of the journalists at the moment and should stop the aggression of the Turkish government by using all kind of means but unfortunately they are a bit reluctant to support the journalists and to give a clear sign to the Turkish government.

The newspaper had accused the government of seeking to illicitly deliver arms bound for Islamist rebels in Syria. Erdoğan had warned Dundar he would “pay a heavy price”.

  • Reactions

In response to yesterday’s detention of 11 journalists and staff from Cumhuriyet newspaper and the shutting down of 15 media outlets over the weekend, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, John Dalhuisen, said:

“Today’s detention of journalists and staff from Turkey’s only remaining mainstream opposition newspaper is part of an ongoing systematic attempt to silence all critical voices. Together with the shutting down of media houses over the weekend, this is the latest wave in a post-coup purge which has turned Turkey’s once vibrant media landscape into a wasteland.”

“The blatant misuse of emergency powers to shut down media houses must stop and more than 130 journalists currently in pre-trial detention must be immediately released.”

The Istanbul prosecutor said in a statement quoted by media that the newspaper and its owner the Cumhuriyet Foundation were being investigated over whether they committed crimes on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gülen movement.

According to Hurriyet Daily News, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu visited Cumhuriyet’s Ankara Bureau to express his support and solidarity with the newspaper, which is targeted over alleged “links with terror organizations.”

In a statement issued after his visit to Cumhuriyet, the CHP head slammed the government for “turning the July 15 coup attempt into an opportunity to crack down on intellectuals, writers and journalists.”

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is building its own “Baathist regime,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, adding that Turkey is fast “moving away from democracy.”

“They are trying to change the constitutional order through state of emergency decree laws. A big responsibility is on the shoulders of the Constitutional Court. If it had accepted our appeal [for the annulment of decree laws breaching the constitution], none of this would have happened,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Describing Cumhuriyet as one of Turkey’s most important newspapers, he called on all intellectuals, journalists, writers to defend the newspapers against oppressors.

“Don’t forget that if you keep silent now, you will be next,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Reacting to the raids, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert and the French foreign ministry urged the protection of press freedom.

European Parliament president Martin Schulz said the “ongoing massive purge” seemed to be “motivated by political considerations, rather than legal and security rationale”.

The World’s Policeman ,the United States  said it was “deeply concerned” about Turkey’s continuing pressure on opposition news media.(Reuters)

“This is a dark day for the media in Turkey,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “The Turkish government is trying to eradicate every alternative source of information and opinion by labeling anyone who challenges it a terrorist. We call on the government to immediately release Cumhuriyet staff, directors, and all journalists jailed on trumped-up charges and to reverse all its orders silencing Turkey’s independent media.”

*Pogrom : "figurative use of the word on this article": an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group, in particular that of Jews in Russia or eastern Europe.The Istanbul pogrom, also known as the Istanbul riots or September events were organized mob attacks directed primarily at Istanbul's Greek minority on 6–7 September 1955.
  • Based mainly in Sources: European Parliament, Euronews, Euractiv, Reuters, Amnesty International and of course a big part of this article was based on Hurriyet Daily News articles and analyses since 2014.

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