Sözcü Daily, FETO, the Pope and the Turkish Press

Turkish journalist Kadri Gürsel started his job as a columnist and a consultant in the Cumhuriyet Daily Newspaper at the beginning of the past summer. He is not common journalist in Turkey, he is way out of our country’s borders, people care about his opinions all around the world, especially in Europe. He is one of the Turkey correspondents of the world-wide respected International Press Institute (IPI).

Kadri Gürsel in front of Cumhuriyet’s office

Since November, Kadri Gürsel is in prison with 8 other columnists and managers from Cumhuriyet, claiming that they have helped terror organisations PKK (The Kurdish Labour Party) and FETO (The Fethullah Gulen Movement) without being a member of neither one. Today arranged IPI a World Congress and three countries were on the table: Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Turkey! Kadri Gürsel sent a message via her wife Nazire Gürsel, because he i not allowed to send any written document (briefs included) out of prison.

Journalist Without Borders published their Freedom of Press Index recently. Turkey stands at the 155th rank. No matter whom our country has our behind or after, Ethiopia or Afghanistan, 155 is bad enough, if we think that Turkey is one of the biggest economies throughout the world. 80% of the arrested journalist throughout the same world are in Turkey’s prisons. That’s why, Turkey is called “the biggest prison for journalists”. No wonder why Kadri Gürsel’s message was read in IPI’s World Congress this evening.

We have no shame!

What happened in Turkey recently before the Congress? Because of a headline, which stand in Twitter feed just for 55 seconds, Cumhuriyet’s web page’s Editor in Chief Oğuz Güven, who has 40 years of experience in journalism, got arrested. He is in jail because of a headline, neither a story nor a column; just a headline, just a tweet, only 140 characters.

What happened in Turkey today, the day of the Congress? The latest media crackdown targeted the secularist, “Atatürkçü (defender of Ataturk’s reforms and ideology)” Sözcü Daily. Police wanted to take the owner of the newspaper Burak Akbay, the manager of Sözcü’s website Mediha Olgun, finance director Yonca Kaleli and Izmir reporter Gökmen Ulu in custody, their houses got searched and three of them got arrested, while the owner Burak Akbay is not in the country. The reason is a story that they have reported months ago. These are the claims:

(1): Committing an offense for a terror organisation without being a member…

(2): Facilitating an offense to the President…

(3): Facilitating an armed rebellion against the Turkish Republic…

We knew Sözcü as the fortress of the secularist Turkey, yet they became a media organ that supports religious terrorism!

No doubt on Sözcü but freedom of press in Turkey!

I cannot write my name down as a supporter of Sözcü’s world perspective. I do criticize Sözcü more than the pro-AKP daily Yeni Şafak, I can say. I even do laugh at Sözcü, because they think that they still live in Atatürk’s Turkey, but things have changed. If pointless and superficial opposition was a crime, they have no escape from finding guilty. But no one will believe that Sözcü is supporting an Islamist terror organisation, FETO.

First statement that Sözcü gave declared that they will not be silenced in any way. For sure they will not be silenced or scared because of an accusation that the world will laugh about. The message that Kadri Gürsel sent was read today in the World Congress of IPI, but will the Turkish government get “the message”?

“10 years ago you (the government) were calling him (Fethullah Gulen) ‘hocaefendi’ but we were declaring that he is a terrorist (FETO)”

Who will believe that Kadri Gürsel, who have been kidnapped by PKK, will help the same terrorist organisation, commit crime for their behalf; or who will believe that a newspaper, which declared from its headline that they said Fethullah Gulen was a terrorist (FETO) while the government called him “hocaefendi (which means “respected religious man”)” only five days after FETO’s coup attempt on the 15th of July.

Turkish government can make people believe that the Pope is a Muslim but they cannot make us believe that these journalists are supporting terrorism. Maybe themselves only will believe in them.

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