Ahmet Şık's defence statement on the trial of Cumhuriyet 24 July 2017


 

Ahmet Şık’s statement at the hearing of the Cumhuriyet trial

I will begin with a quote from the prologue of my book “We walked together on these parallel roads” published three years ago in 2014. The introduction of this investigative research describes how the mafia-like power sharing between the AKP (Justice and Development Party) and the Gulen Sect fell apart. It reads as follows:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          “The alliance between AKP and the Gulen Sect, backed by their acolytes, which transformed Turkey both socially and politically, has collapsed and sewage is flowing everywhere. These two forces, driven by a Machiavellian understanding that used all possible means to establish a freak ‘New Turkey,’ have now broken up.

Neither wanted the democratization of the system or the society. Each one aimed at exerting their authority to seize the State through its institutions, and together they managed successfully to infiltrate these institutions to achieve their goal.

Each one thought that eventually, they would be the sole power in charge of the state and firmly committed to this endeavor while fighting together against their common enemy, they accumulated evidence to destroy each other.

It became soon apparent that these findings would be imminently put to use. Threats from media columnists, secret purges, occasionally leaked telephone conversations, unlawful operations organized by the police together with the judges, and eventually after targeting their mutual enemies, they were now pointing at members of the government. All these were signs of what was about to happen.

Convinced that there were no more opponents to eliminate, they fought each other over who was to be the owner of the state. It was a dirty business, and it still is. And it looks like it will be continuing in this manner for quite some time.

In this fight where the ethical values of religion are instrumentalised, the lies that fulfill the needs of both parties, have more weight for them than the truth. So be not deceived by their arguments. This battle is not for democracy, or for transparency, nor as some claim, peace or demilitarization. It is a struggle for the ownership of the state.”

The battle between AKP and the Gulen Sect intensified after the publication of my book. The fake historiography which started with the Ergenekon trials in 2007 and the fight between the party in power and its accomplices, as to whom would plunder the country and the state to get the most out of it, went as far as an attempted military coup. On July 15th, 2016, a bloody insurgency took place where 250 people were killed.

The government blamed the failed coup on the Gulenists, and this is what we are expected to believe. Yet there are strong indications of the government knowing about it before hand. The questions around this have not diminished but increased even though a year has passed since the uprising, and numerous investigations were opened on the matter.

The upheaval of July 15th has many hallmarks that not only seem to be deliberately covered-up in subsequent investigations but which strengthen the suggestion that is was allowed to go ahead to create an environment of “controlled chaos” for the use and benefit of the government. This insurgency is also a significant milestone of the fabricated historiography which has been spreading around over a period covering the last decade. The oft used “democratization/ civilianization” narrative has served to build an artificial reality made up of lies, with its only truth being the innocent victims slaughtered by the putschists.

There are reasons for questioning what is left in the dark from the failed coup d’état and what we call a “controlled chaos.” While the country was still in a pool of blood Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the primary target of the coup, declared:” This insurgency is a God sent blessing.” We have all seen what he meant by “blessing”, we have witnessed it, and we still are.

We are living through increasingly darker days where those voicing the truth or demanding the return of their rights that were seized are clamped down and silenced. In brief, it would be beneficial to summarize the situation:

The coup was averted, but all fundamental rights and freedoms have been suspended by the state of emergency. Tens of thousands have been detained charged with being part of the Gulen organization and supporting the upheaval. More than 50 thousand were arrested. Some were even tortured.

With decrees having the power of law, the government speeded up the project of Islamisation of the state and the society. The only criteria that justified the purges in the public sector was “those who are with us and those who are not”. More than 110.000 (one hundred and ten thousand) civil servants were sacked. The vacant positions in the state administration such as the judiciary, security, education etc. were replaced with members of the AKP who were not chosen for their competence but their allegiance to the ruling party.

Scientists and teachers who for decades educated students were suddenly laid off accused of being terrorists. Rightfully contesting the government’s decision, those who went on a hunger strike to get their jobs back have been jailed.

The fundamental principle of separation of powers has been de facto wiped away, and a shady plebiscite voted under the prevailing conditions of the state of emergency, opened the way to a de jure situation.

The judicial independence with a few exceptions has always been a problem in Turkey. Today the judicial independence of the courts has been undermined by the judges and prosecutors forced to accommodate the wishes of the government. The violation of civil liberties has been hijacked by the terror of arrests spreading even to the country’s third largest party represented in parliament with six million votes. The co-chairpersons of the HDP (People’s Democratic Party), as well as members of parliament and elected major in office of the same party, have been sent to prison. And the main opposition party paved the way to this clamp down, fearing of being wrongly accused of “protecting terrorists.” Eventually, even a CHP (Republican People’s Party) deputy was imprisoned.

Several NGOs have been closed down, human rights activists were arrested, and hundreds of private business companies were seized and nationalized.

The coup was aborted, and while the country was chanting the triumph of democracy, in the media a significant number of newspapers, television channels and radio stations were shut down. Except for a handful of newspapers and a few journalists who are holding on in spite of interrogations, trials, arrests, threats and economic pressure, there is no one in the media or amongst the journalists who informs the public without masking the truth. With more than one hundred and fifty journalists detained, Turkey was declared once more “the world’s largest prison for journalists”. In fact, Turkey alone has more journalists in jail than the totality of the rest of the world.

If we add to the list the journalists who are not imprisoned but who are captives of censorship and self-censorship the picture becomes even more disturbing. Because of the murky shadows of censorship, in spite of the fact that the media is in the hands of different owners, the flow of information provided to the public is mono vocal.

Televisions channels are required to broadcast live images of President Erdoğan even when he is talking in his sleep and government inspectors must be present during political televised debates.

When the conventional media is in such a state, social media platforms are the only outlet for political criticism. If access to information has not been blocked, if the government has not shut down the Internet, if you have not written comments that might displease AKP’s paid staff of trolls or an anonymous and or even a public prosecutor, then you are free to use your right to criticize. However, there is no guarantee that you will not be arrested.

This is a summary of the country’s dismal image in the aftermath of the failed coup.

In a nutshell on July 15th a coup d’état was crushed, but a junta came to power.

In the indictments drawn up after the coup attempt, the objectives of the Gulenists were described as follows:

“To take control over the Constitutional institutions of the Turkish Republic, namely the legislative, executive and judicial institutions. On completion of this process, to redesign the state, the society, and the individuals according to the Gulenist ideology; to rule over the economic, social and political power with an oligarchic structure.”

Today when you look at the bloody insurgency perceived as a God sent blessing, what comes out in the picture is what I have just summarised, and who could say that what has been described in the indictments has not been achieved?

Have they not taken over all the institutions of the Turkish Republic, that is the legislative, executive and the judicial?

By implementing the State of Emergency and decrees with power of law, are they not trying to design the state, the society, and the individuals to suit their ideology and their interest?

Is it not their intention to loot the resources of the state and the country, and for this purpose are they not trying to establish an oligarchy that will rule the economic, social and the political power?

This is why June 15th, which was the Gulen Sect’s greatest defeat, is at the same time their ultimate victory.

Because Fethullah Gulen’s idealized model of state, society and of individuals came into being after the uprising of June 15th.

The shaping of this project is rapidly moving on, and while those who are for democracy should firmly oppose it, no matter who controls this prototype, the patent belongs to Fethullah Gulen.

Precisely for this reason Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP government have given Fethullah Gulen and his Sect whatever they requested.

In the aftermath of the bloody insurgency where there is not a shadow of a doubt that the Gulen Sect, known now as FETÖ (Fethullah Terror Organization), was one of the forces behind the coup, they (Erdogan & AKP) behave as if they did not share the responsibility.

They do not want us to tell the truth or to say that they are guilty.

They are using the blood of the victims killed by the putschists as material for a cheap and shallow political discourse.

Those that are in power have only one goal. To maintain their absolute authority at all costs.

And for this they will do all sorts of evil; they will get rid of anyone. Their long history of governance is packed with people with whom they had started off together and then left aside one by one. When someone has served the purpose, when they are no longer needed, they leave them behind. They have abandoned supporters, accomplices and partners in crime. They even discarded friends who shared their cause. Obviously, those that are still with them and those who have recently joined them will suffer the same fate.

Most of the media outlets are now beating the drums for the government, and the remaining few who insist on disclosing the wrongdoings and the bad intentions of those in power, are sent to prison to keep them silent.

They think they can frighten us and keep us quiet. To prove them wrong, I shall continue with the story.

The Gulen Sect has a forty-five year past history, where during the first thirty years they completed their linear structural organization within the state, and in the last fifteen years, they finalized their vertical growth. Thanks to opportunities provided by the AKP government, the Gulen Sect was virtually able to become a parallel state without anyone standing in their way.

The Sect acquired considerable power in the police force, the judiciary and the core divisions of the army. Together with the AKP government, it was not difficult to settle into key positions of authority.

Then they took over spheres of influence based on their previously established priorities by discharging opponents in governmental and civilian administrations as well as getting rid of rival institutions.

To put it bluntly, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is responsible, together with the AKP which has been in power for the last fifteen years, for allowing the Gulen Sect to dominate and become a threat to the state and the society. The Turkish President admitted his guilt by saying: “What did they asked for that we did not give?” and “I apologize for giving them our support.” Therefore, they are just as accountable for the upheaval of July 15th.

I shall give you specific examples, but beforehand it would be useful to recall some facts:

A substantial number of officers, who were not part of the Gulenist Sect, was discharged from the Turkish Armed Forces during the inquests of the alleged conspiracies which began with Ergenekon, followed by Balyoz (Sledgehammer), military espionage, and other similar plots. Those that were cleared of wrongdoings were denied advancement, with the intent of humiliating them.

Erdogan who was Prime Minister at the time declared himself the prosecutor of these trials.

The AKP government, as the approving political authority, was an accomplice in the violation of the law and shielded the perpetrators of the conspiracies from accusations and criticism.

Now AKP is putting all the blame on the Gulen congregation in an attempt to hide their crimes and their responsibility.

At that time, numerous hitmen working in the media outlets of the AKP-Gulen partnership were vilifying the imprisoned victims of the Gulenist conspiracies. Some of them were journalists who became facilitators and partners in concealing AKP’s crimes. And I need to stress that these journalists used defamatory stories to belittle those in prison and dishonor them.

Going back to the trials plotted by the Gulenist against the Army, the military promotion lists and ranks were then designed to pave the way for the followers of Gulen according to their objectives and for their benefit.

Obviously, the Officers who were not part of the Gulen Sect and who were discharged because of the trials were not the only purged. It was the AKP government who came to the aid of the Gulenists to eliminate the remaining ones in the Army. And they did this while there was a war between them.

Let us see what has happened…

With the legal amendments of May 2012, the 15 year mandatory service of the military personnel was reduced to 10 years. The Gulenists estimated that this change would incite some of the officers opposed to Gulen to leave the army. And this is what happened. The climate of fear created with the cooked-up trials and the army’s loss of reputation gave way to resignations.

Strangely enough, after this amendment, some significant structural legal changes were made after the beginning of the feud between the AKP and the Gulen Sect.

What turned this feud into a bitter fight, severing their alliance beyond repair, was the corruption probe of 17/25 December 2013. The operations showing that the State Intelligence Service (MIT) helped deliver arms and ammunitions to jihadists fighting against the regime in the Syrian civil war, took place at the same time.

While the relationship was tense, some AKP deputies brought forward to Parliament a proposal to legally reform some military regulations, which was then voted and accepted.

The first amendment approved by Parliament, with the majority of AKP votes, was on February 11th, 2014. It advanced the military promotions by 1 year, which meant that colonels with 4 years of service and generals with 3 years of service, most of whom were members of the Gulen Sect, were able to join the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ). Furthermore, it also enabled the early retirement of the generals who were not on their side and who had not been promoted by the Military Council.

The second amendment was made two months later. It came into effect on April 12th, 2014. The Disciplinary Control Board of the Turkish Armed Forces formed new disciplinary committees to assess the Officers discharged from the Army. The guiding lines of these committees are established by the Personnel Qualification Records. The adjustments made to these Records blocked the discharge of fundamentalists from the Army.

Another reform request came from 37 AKP Members of Parliament to the President of the Assembly on December 30th, 2015. With this amendment of the law, the waiting period for the promotion of colonels to the rank of generals was cut down to 4 years. This enabled the Gulenists colonels who had not yet filled their time to become generals.

The last adjustment was to the Military Personnel Law no.6722 and the Law on the amendments to certain regulations.

In 1988 and the years preceding this date, the graduate Officers of the Military Academies members of the Gulen Organization were a small minority.

These amendments reduced the years in the service of the Army to 28 years.

Thus, the Sect could send into early retirement the officers of these three terms, the majority of which were not on their side, and discharge them from the Army en masse.

The alleged ringleaders of the aborted coup of July15th, Generals Mehmet Dişli and Mehmet Partigöç, had prepared the draft. It was assumed that except for one article, once the bill passed it would immediately take effect. The excluded article, which concerned the retirement of the Officers graduated in 1988 and earlier, when the Gulen organization in the Army was at its weakest, was expected to be implemented after the Military Council of August 2016. On the night of June 23rd, during the discussions in Parliament on the drafted bill, the AKP group put forward a motion, and the article was included in the Law that passed with immediate effect.

The show trials orchestrated with the unlimited support of the AKP government and the amended regulations backed by the state allowed, to a large extent, the Gulen Sect to reach their goal by purging the Army. The consequence of this will become clearer after June 15th.

To be more specific I will quote the report presented, with an opposing opinion, by the CHP (Republican People’s Party) to the Parliamentary Investigating Commission on the aborted coup of July 15th, entitled “The Predicted, not Prevented and Exploited Controlled Coup.”

According to the report, nearly all the generals promoted in 2011, 2012 and 2013, based on the resolutions taken by the Military Council, are accused of being part of the Gulen Sect. And as mentioned before, with the legal amendments made by the AKP government, in the following years, that is in 2014 and 2015, 80% of the colonels promoted to the rank of generals are also alleged Gulenist.

Meanwhile, between 1985 and 2003, the year when AKP comes to power, 400 staff members of the Army were expelled for supposedly supporting the Gulen Sect. It is important to note however, that after 2013 and until the attempted coup, there were no further expulsions.

I would also like to mention that the decisions taken by the National Security Council of 2004, were not implemented. And I shall conclude the narrative of this chapter by emphasizing that the effective power of the Gulenists in the Army, which went as far as staging a coup, could not have come to be if it were not for the significant support of the AKP government.

When the meeting of the National Security Council took place on August 25th 2004, the AKP was in its second year of governance. As you know, the Security Council is made up of High Ranking Army Officers, and members of the Council of Ministers, who come together to discuss subjects concerning the security of the State. Their assessments are not binding but accepted as a recommendation. The recommendations are kept secret.

However, in 2004 the recommendation of the Security Council was known for quite some time.

It made the headlines in the Taraf daily newspaper, well known for its contribution to the making of today’s Turkey.

The news on the Security Council was released at the time when we heard about the beginning of the fight between the AKP and Gulen. And already there were signals that this battle would become violent.

The meeting of the National Security Council took place 12 years before the failed coup of July 15th. The subject of that meeting referred to the future dangers of the Gulen Sect. Thus, the Military command present at the meeting made a recommendation to the government entitled: “The measures needed to be taken against the activities of the Fethullah Gulen Sect,” advising the AKP to prepare an action plan against the Gulenists.

The recommendation was signed by the then President of the Republic Necdet Sezer, the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gül, five other Cabinet Ministers, the Chief of Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces Hilmi Özkök, and the other members of the National Security Council such as Force Commanders of the Army Aytaç Yalman, Özden Örnek, Ibrahim Firtina and Şener Eruygur.

The proposal put forward by the Military suggested that the activities of the Gulen Sect, both at home and abroad, should be closely monitored and radical measures should be taken against the Organization in light of future threats. I remind you that amongst the signatories, three Force Commanders were detained during the machinated trials, and I will continue to relate what the government did.

Upon the publication of the news in the daily Taraf, followed by the reactions of the conservative constituency of the AKP voters, the government made several declarations. The common thread of these statements was that the resolutions were mere suggestions which the government completely ignored and had no intention of implementing. Yalçın Akdoğan, the Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister of that time Twitted:” The government has declared null and void the 2004 decisions of the National Security Council, no Cabinet decision has been made, and no action has ever been taken. The then Deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arınç declared: “In the last ten years not one of the suggested recommendations has been implemented, and we would never do anything to upset religious people or religious sects. In fact, thanks to us, the National Security Document has become totally meaningless.” The statement that Arinç made with reference to the National Security Policy Document is important, since this Document named the domestic and foreign groups who were a threat to the nation. In 2010 the Gulen Sect was listed in this document as one of the local groups threatening national security. However, as mentioned by Arınç, the Gulen Sect was explicitly removed from the list by the AKP government.

Cevat Öneş, a former Undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), with regards to the government ignoring the recommendations of the National Security, made the following observation: “In spite of the various motives mentioned, the fact that the government of that time, did not consider taking political and legal measures, concerning the recommendations of 2004, allowed the Gulen Sect to speed up the takeover not only of the Army but also of the State institutions of the Turkish Republic.”

Öneş, who was a high-level official of the National Intelligence Organization, pointed out that the AKP government was one of the key responsible for allowing a fundamentalist organization to take over the State. The evidence is the statement given by the AKP, which at the same time is an admission of their guilt.

Until they became the target of the Gulen Sect, the AKP did not listen to the warnings or the criticisms, and they handed over the State with all its institutions to these criminals. Now the partners in crime want us to believe that they have been “deceived.”

You have not been deceived. On the contrary, you have tried to deceive together.

While we have been repeating these facts for years, the Turkish judiciary launched a meaningless attempt trying to establish that the daily Cumhuriyet was a terror organization and us the followers of the Gulen Sect. On the other hand, I would like to point out, that the statement of the partners in crime “we have been deceived” was satisfactory for the judiciary who saw no need to investigate the suspects any further.

Let us see now how the AKP government handed over the judiciary to the Gulen Sect. I will refer again to the report prepared by the CHP after the failed coup of July 16th.

After the unsuccessful coup attempt, thousands of judges and prosecutors were dismissed and many of them arrested for being part of the FETÖ organization. Until then, the Gulenists had considerable power in the judiciary.

The CHP report contains striking findings regarding the staffing of the expelled members of the judicial administration. The report indicates that after the coup, amongst the members of the judiciary expelled by statutory decrees, the seniority in the length of service shows that 1980 is the earliest year they joined service. From 1980 until 2002, when the AKP came to power, various governments appointed in total 7 thousand 672 judges and prosecutors. Amongst them, 1 thousand 210 were dismissed after the coup. In other words, during 23 years approximately 16% had an alleged connection to FETÖ.

Now let us look at the years after the AKP came to power.

The report defines the years between 2003 and 2010 as the AKP’s first term. During this period 3 thousand 637 judges and prosecutors were appointed, and 1 thousand 255 were expelled. Regarding the percentage, this means that approximately 35% of the total was dismissed. The Ministers of Justice of the time were Cemil Çicek, Mehmet Ali Şahin, and Sadullah Ergin.

The report investigated what they called AKP’s second term, which covers the period after the Constitutional referendum of 2010, where a demagoguery discourse advocated the end of the State tutelage on the judiciary, and the corruption probe of 17/25 December 20013. The Ministers of Justice at that time are again Sadullah Ergin and Bekir Bozdağ. While these two Ministers were in office, 2 thousand 876 judges and prosecutors were appointed, and 1 thousand 192 were later expelled. This is nearly 42% of the total.

The third term examined covers the period from 2014, after the end of the partnership between the AKP and the Gulen Sect, until the coup of July 15th, 2016. The Justice Minister is again Bekir Bozdağ. By then the fight between these former associates had intensified, and therefore there was a visible drop in the share of judges appointed by the Gulenists. Of the 2 thousand 281 appointed judges and prosecutors, 582 were dismissed. That is approximately 26% of the total.

If we compare the totality of the figures during these three terms of the AKP: between 1980 and 2002, that is during 23 years, the recruitment of the Gulen Sect in the judiciary was approximately 16%. While between 2003-20016, that is during 14 years of AKP’s uninterrupted governance, this percentage went up to 35%. Throughout these 14 years AKP appointed 8 thousand 794 judges and prosecutors of which 3 thousand 29 were purged. The ratio between the totality of the appointed members of the judiciary and those purged for ties with the FETÖ organization is of 35%.

Even the ratio of expulsions for the period after 17/25 December 2013, which the AKP government declared to be a milestone in an attempt to exempt itself from crime during the investigations against FETÖ, is above average compared to the years between1980-2002. Before concluding this chapter, I want to open a parenthesis on Bekir Bozdağ, who until last week was the Minister of Justice.

Bekir Bozdağ is one of the 4 appointed Ministers for Justice during AKP’s 14 years of rule. In a speech delivered in Parliament on March 24th, 2011, mentioning Fethullah Gulen he said: “He is an esteemed wise man raised in our country.” On June 9th, 2012, he Twitted from his private account: “Greetings from Antalya Venerable Hoca Efendi! (Fethullah)”. When questioned about the infiltration of the judiciary by religious sects in a program on CNN TV channel he replied: “This is definitely not possible.” And at the beginning of their dispute with the Gulen Sect, he Twitted:” They are trying to set us against each other, but they will not succeed.”

Bekir Bozdağ’s adventure as Justice Minister, who on the infiltration of the judiciary said: “It is not possible,” goes back to 2013 and continues until today. During these 4 years and until the coup of June 15th, Bekir Bozdağ appointed in total 3 thousand 614 judges and prosecutors. In other words, during the 14 years of AKP governance, of the 8 thousand 794 in total appointed by the government in the judiciary, 41% were recruited by Bozdağ during only 4 years. And of these, 1 thousand 228 judges and prosecutors, in other words nearly 34%, were purged for allegedly being part of the FETÖ organization. These figures and percentages show that:

Bekir Bozdağ is one of the main responsible for handing over the judiciary to the Gulenists.

However, while we are in jail accused of being part of the FETÖ conspiracy, Bekir Bozdağ until last week was still the Minister of Justice, and as such was heading the Board of Judges and Prosecutors and was in charge of purging the members of the judiciary he had appointed.

We shall now look at the National Intelligence Organization and at Hakan Fidan, the Undersecretary of the Turkish Intelligence, who on July 15th, was unable to stop the attempted insurgency even though he had been informed several hours earlier.

Emre Taner, a former Undersecretary of the National Intelligence, was one of those who testified at the Investigating Commission on the aborted coup of July 15th.

In his deposition, the retired Undersecretary Taner referred to the period between 2005-2010 when he was in office and made the following statement:

 

“When I was Undersecretary of the MIT (Turkish National Intelligence) the infiltration of MIT by the Gulen Sect was virtually nil. No recruitment took place without careful assessment. I cannot answer for what followed. The administration after my retirement is accountable for all changes. Now when we are told that 70 to 80 members of the Intelligence have been expelled for Gulenist connections, one cannot but find this odd. Looking at the past one could assume that perhaps 2,3, or at most 5 individuals would be Gulenist. To this I have no objection. Although the general impression is that recent recruitments have been negligent, I can confidently say that amongst the state institutions MIT is the least infiltrated by the Gulenists or any other subversive group.

The former Undersecretary of the National Intelligence Taner, is openly accusing the present Undersecretary Hakan Fidan of negligence. But let us examine if his impression with regards to the MIT being “the least infiltrated of all state institutions” by the Gulenists reflects the reality.

The Undersecretary of MIT Hakan Fidan did not even or was not allowed to testify in front of the Parliamentary Investigation Commission of July 15th 2016. Upon request, he submitted a report on MIT personnel connected to the Gulen Sect. The content of this report has been published on the news portal of Odatv by Müyesser Yildiz, my “partner in crime”, accused and imprisoned like me for being part of the Ergenekon organisation, a plot orchestrated by the Gulenists..

According to the MIT report, in the 2.5 years between December 17th, 2013 and July 15th, 2016, proceedings were started against 181 members of this “clean institution” and against a further 377 after the coup attempt. In other words, a Gulenist connection was established regarding 558 members of this administration. Of the 558, about 70 either resigned or were dismissed. 272, which were sent to the army or the security forces on a temporary assignment, were also fired. In total 509 MIT personnel were expelled, proceedings pursued for 49, while 5 were reinstituted. There is no information on how many of these 558 were employed after 2010, the year Hakan Fidan was appointed as MIT Undersecretary. But I will refer here to the accusations of the former Undersecretary Emre Taner’s against Hakan Fidan regarding the infiltration of the Gulenists in the National Intelligence when Fidan was in office.

Prime Minister Binal Yildirim also voiced doubts concerning Undersecretary Hakan Fidan.

Let me recount.

It is now common knowledge that in his deposition at the investigation of the Ankara Chief Prosecutor, informer Major O.K., said that on July 15, 2016 at 14.00 he had notified the National Intelligence that a coup was to take place on that same day. But Undersecretary Hakan Fidan insists that this information did not refer to an uprising. The Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar supported Fidan’s version by confirming that the Undersecretary had come to the Headquarters claiming that a there was a plot to kidnap him and that they would use the Air Force to do so. Although General Akar declared that “We assessed this was part of a larger operation”, tanks appeared in the streets only some 7 hours after the 2 o’clock warning and Jets bombed the Parliament. The coup failed, but 250 citizens were killed by the putschists. All this because it was not understood that the plan to kidnap the Undersecretary of the Intelligence was part of an uprising.

Or this is what we are expected to believe?

And now, because I express these doubts, I am in prison. As for those who admit they had not grasped the magnitude of the planned putsch, they are still at the helm of the army and the National Intelligence.

It is common knowledge that Hakan Fidan was unreachable for several hours. Furthermore, the reason why Undersecretary Fidan did not warn either the Prime Minister or President Erdogan of the likelihood of a putsch remains a mystery. Let us note that in the past President Erdogan described Hakan Fidan as “The guardian of my secrets.”

On the evening of August 2, 2016, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim was interviewed both on the television channels of CNNTurk and Kanal D where he said: “I have asked the Undersecretary of MIT why I was not informed. How come that both the Prime Minister and the President were not made aware of a possible coup? Informing the Chief of Staff is normal, but you should have notified the Prime Minister as well. Fidan could not reply.” In other words, the Prime Minister implied that the argument whereby the National Intelligence lacked accurate information was not a convincing one.

A year later, Prime Minister Yildirim gave another interview which increased our suspicions. This interview with Fikret Bila was published in a supplement of the daily Hurriyet with the heading “One year after the coup of July 15th”. In this interview Yildirim relates how he realized they were faced with a coup attempt following talks with the Security in Ankara and Istanbul. After stressing the fact that he was able to communicate with Undersecretary Fidan only 2 hours after the beginning of the aborted coup attempt, that is between 10.30-11.00, the Prime Minister added:

“No information was given either to the President or to me. The Undersecretary did not inform me and did not mention anything related to the coup. I did ask him: a coup is under way, what measures have you taken? He answered: ‘Nothing is going on, everything is normal. We are working on it’. But something unusual was happening.

Let us now look at what happened during the hours when Undersecretary Fidan told the Prime Minister that “everything was normal”.

21.00: The putschists take control of the Headquarters of the Army, they capture the Commanding officers, start fighting with those who resist. Shots are heard.

22.00: More shots are heard coming from the Army Headquarters, and firing from a combat helicopter directed at the personnel on the ground.

22.05: In spite of the no-fly order given by the Chief of Staff, jets zoom over Ankara breaking through the sonic barrier.

22.28: Tanks in Istanbul close the bridges on the Bosphorus.

22.35: The putschists occupy the Istanbul Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen airports.

All this built up was first shared on social media, then shortly after broadcasted on national TV channels. Just after the conversation between Prime Minister Yildirim and Undersecretary Fidan, combat helicopters attacked MIT headquarters in Ankara at 00.02. But, as Hakan Fidan told the Prime Minister, “everything was normal!”

As the Prime Minister said, something unusual was happening. And it was indeed. So, we will continue to investigate this “unusual” business. Everyone has the right to know where lies the truth, not the least the bereaved parents of those who risked and lost their lives in order to prevent the coup attempt.

There is no doubt that one of the strongholds of the Gulen Sect within the State is the Police Department. A major proof of this statement is the emerging role that the members of the police affiliated to this organization played in the investigations and the trials of the conspiracy plots known as Ergenekon, Balyoz, Devrimci Karargah (Revolutionary headquarters), KCK,(Kurdish) Şike( match-fixing), Oda TV and similar.

 

After the failed coup attempt of July 15th more than 13 thousand police officers were dismissed due to alleged connections with the Gulen Sect. Most of them were arrested. However, we need to underline the fact that the number of officers who are part of the Gulen Sect is much higher than the one mentioned here.

 

The infiltration of the police force by the Gulen Sect started in the 1980s. Therefore, AKP is not the only political party responsible for this development. Nevertheless, the AKP government did close their eyes on the Gulenists leaked exam questions to the candidates in their preparatory schools. Furthermore no rigorous investigation of these misgivings was undertaken, and criticisms were ignored. This makes AKP solely accountable for this unrelenting infiltration.

 

Let me give some examples:

On August 26th 2007, the police officer admission tests were stolen before the exam. More than 71 thousand candidates from all over Turkey sat for the exam. When the leak was discovered there were repercussion in the media and allegations that the key to the tests were given before the exam to some of the applicants, implying the followers of the Gulen Sect. Beşir Atalay, the Interior Minister of that time argued that it was not possible to know the exam questions in advance or that they were given to some of the candidates.

-8 months later, Beşir Atalay’s assertive statement was refuted. The exam questions of the Police Academy was leaked to the FEM preparatory schools owned by the Gulen Sect and serviced to some students with key answers, on September 13th, 2009. This scandal was uncovered by the media, and the exam, where more than 60 thousand candidates had taken part, was cancelled.

 

There was also proof that widespread cheating took place during the exam held on March 5th, 2012. This exam was originally held by the General Directorate of Security in order to meet the shortage of intermediate officers. More than 50 thousand police officers took this exam. 68 of the candidates who passed were related to each other As for the 485 who held positions in the section of the police where the Gulen Sect was the strongest – like the departments for Personnel recruitment, Intelligence, Anti-smuggling, the Directorate for the Protection of the Prime Minister and the Office of the Private Secretaries of various Ministries, had scored between 85-9O points at the exam. It became apparent that in same exam of 2011 the participants who passed with high scores had given all the wrong answers except for 19 questions and this was established by a court ruling.

In the 1980s the Gulen Sect was recruiting its adherents amongst the students of the Police Academy. And during the AKP government, they would give their followers the exam questions beforehand thus facilitating their entrance in the police force.

 

These wrongful activities were subject to complaints and reported in the media but the AKP government chose to disregard the objections.

 

It is only after December 17/25, 2013 and the corruption charges launched by the Gulenists against the government that the AKP government started judiciary and administrative investigations on the contested exams.

 

We have witnessed an attempted coup where the perpetrators were shooting at their own people, we have looked at the Army, the Judiciary, the Police Department, the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) and at the responsibility of the AKP government. We have summarized a situation, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

 

This much is clear: during the 14 years of the AKP governance the Gulen Sect advanced towards its ultimate goal without difficulty. Moreover, despite the MIT investigation of February 7, 2012, which brought to light their intentions towards AKP and the investigations on the corruption charges of December 17/25 2013, the Gulenists retained and increased their gains within the system without having to face any real obstacle. One single quotation summarizes the government’s response to criticisms and warnings of the growing danger. On February 2012 in an interview on NTV Channel, the then AKP Deputy Chairman, Hüseyin Çelik, reacted to criticism of the Gulen Sect’s power inside the state institutions as follows: ”They say that the Gulenists infiltrated and seized the State. This is a joke. Let us put an end to this paranoia.”

 

There is one last story I would like to mention. In 2011 the Gulen Sect was at the height of its power. The members of the AKP government, the majority of the media, and the vast majority of the judiciary – who today are imprisoning vast numbers in order to prove they are active enemies of the Gulenists – none of them dared to mention Fethullah Gulen or his Sect. They saw their benefit in deference to the State’s powerful force, the Gulen Sect. Just as they surrender today to Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP. Back then, I was amongst those arrested because of a Gulenist conspiracy. There again the reason was my professional activity as it is today. I was working on a book investigating the organization of the Gulen Sect in the police and the judiciary during the Ergenekon investigation and on the extended role played by the Sect during this trial.

 

At a time when everybody was afraid, when you could not mention Gulen’s name and compliance to the Sect was prevailing, the name of my book was ” “The Imam’s Army”. (Imamin Ordusu”)

 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was then Prime Minister and he used to say ”Some books are more dangerous than bombs”. Referring to the journalists in prison he declared like he often does even now: “They are not journalists, they are terrorists.” Not that we have any expectations, but had Erdogan gone beyond his perception of books, writers and journalists as criminals, and instead read, listened, tried to understand most of us would probably not be here today. Moreover, had Erdogan been someone that reads, he would be aware of what Salvator Allende told the fascists Junta in Chile: “History is on our side and it is those who are right that write history.”

 

Yes, once again history is on our side. So you will not be able to create an illegal organisation from the Cumhuriyet newspaper or make terrorists out of us.

 

At this stage you must have understood this from what I’ve told you so far. Mine is neither a defense nor a deposition. On the contrary, it is an accusation. Because;

 

The fact that the Indictment is stated in the heading of what is a political operation does not go beyond a shameful joke. And bearing the title of “judge or prosecutor” does not make jurists out of the members of this political operation

 

This operation engaged against us is nothing but a pogrom targeting freedom of thought and expression and freedom of the press. And some members of the judiciary have assumed the task of being the lynch mob of this pogrom.

 

In advanced democracies, the norms of the rule of law prevail and justice is regulated accordingly. In Turkey, some members of the judiciary have become the gravediggers of justice. We witness a dictatorial aspiration to institutionalize a system that undermines the rule of law, where the intellectual and political squalor of the judiciary is not surprising.

The Turkish judiciary has been presently stripped of all principles of human rights, justice, conscience and merit. We are therefore aware that you are deaf to calls for humanity, rights, justice or legality. Therefore, I have no requests. I will limit myself by saying that the gowns you are wearing as a protective shield are held together by human lives and freedom.

The organisation you are attempting to find in the Cumhuriyet newspaper is the one ruling the country disguised as a political party. The media that is “His master’s voice” is serving lies as truth to the public. They spread the organization’s propaganda by covering up and making crimes commonplace.

We are faced with a well-known truth: crime is the most powerful glue in the world.

This glue is binding the political power, the bureaucracy, the judiciary, the plundering financial capital and “His master’s voice” the media.

Those who assume that this dynasty of crime, this dirty system will last forever are mistaken. All dictatorships darken the pages of history with greed and hate, while preparing their own end. They pave roads that lead to their own damnation and at the end nothing will remain of their arrogance or their conceit.

There is no doubt that the siege established by this organization will collapse. Because in this country:

  • Despite the enemies of democracy, there are those who fight for a sustainable and expansive democracy.
  • Despite those who crush justice, there are those who defend the supremacy of law.
  • Despite those who glorify war and death to preserve their profits, there are those who struggle to make peace and life indispensable.
  • Despite child murderers and protectors of pedophilia, there are those who work to turn children’s dreams into reality.

 

  • And despite those who want to stifle the truth, there are those who still work as journalists.

I have nothing more to say with regards to an organization which aims to criminalize my journalistic activities. I will repeat that in no way this is to be considered a defense. I would think this assumption to be an insult to the ethics of my profession.

Journalism is not a crime. Totalitarian regimes have in common the criminalization of journalistic activities. Thus, in every period and under every government I managed to be the offender of the law. I am proud to leave this legacy to my daughter.

I am aware that this government and its judiciary have issues with me. The reason is that unlike what is now prevailing in Turkey, as a journalist I believe in the power of reporting the truth and acting independently.

In countries like Turkey where the ties to democracy are weak, and where the government is increasingly moving towards a totalitarian regime, to be a journalist is to cross the line. But journalism cannot be exercised by following orders. And those who do cannot be called journalists.

So as a journalist yesterday, I am still one today and will remain as such even tomorrow. Therefore, the uncompromising conflict between us and those who want to suppress the truth will continue.

This is why in these days of darkness what we need is more truth, not less. And I will continue to work resolutely for that purpose.

A price to pay is inevitable. But do not assume that this frightens us. Neither my admirable colleagues of “Journalists Outside (Dışardaki Gazeteciler) nor are afraid of any one of you. Because we know that what frightens tyrants the most is courage.

 

Oppressors should be aware that no brutality can prevent the progress of history.

 

Down with tyranny long live liberty!

 

Applause…

 

PJ (Presiding Judge) – What are you doing? This is no place for a show.

SPECTATOR- Who is shouting?

PJ- I am shouting, the Presiding Judge is. You are disturbing the order of the court. Everything went well up to now, there is no need for this.

PJ- My first question to you is this: you spoke of journalism. This of course is the subject of the trial here, an important part of the suspects are journalists. Does journalism include unlimited freedom?

Ahmet Şık- There are of course universal rules defining the limits of journalism. But journalism is not determined within the framework of professional rules. To a great extent …. All Professional organizations determine a series of rules in their own field and make these known to their professionals, they advise them to abide by these rules. But unfortunately as concerns Professional organizations in Turkey, legal sanctions are quite insufficient. What determines the limits of journalism is this: is there a problem with the journalist’s relating the truth? That is to say, is he telling the truth or is he telling lies? And is he upholding public interest? That’s all. Everything that upholds public interest and tells the truth without twisting and turning its objectivity is news.

PJ- You interpret the only limit as being public interest and objectivity (Ahmet Şık interrupts the PJ at this point)

Ahmet Şık – But here it is important to stress something else. A journalist does not champion war. I am giving you personal examples but there are very hierarchical rules at play here. A journalist does not allow for sexism in his work, he draws a line between himself and fascism, he keeps a distance with power elites. His relations are limited to his sources etc. etc. I mean we can speak here of a whole lot of ethical values which are universally accepted but the limits drawn here are confined to certain preventive measures against pinpointing certain people in society as targets or turning them into hate objects. These are the limits but the most important one is being against war. (Journalism) has to adopt the language of peace not that of war. It is about making news pieces which side with democracy and which uphold the virtues of democracy, in defiance to those who want to strangle it. It involves keeping away from sexism with regard to different individuals, to different sexual identities, taking care not to turn them into hate objects, etc.

PJ – Now you have stressed something in what you have just said. You said that it is important to revere peace and life.

Ahmet Şık – Yes

PJ – That they must be revered

Ahmet Şık – Absolutely

PJ – Your other writings are not of interest to us in the indictment. The ones taken up in the indictment are limited to a total of five articles published first on March 14, 2015, continued on March 31, 2015 and completed on April 1st, 2015. Do you believe that these articles revere peace and life?

 

Ahmet Şık- You see, you cannot say the same thing for every news piece. How could that be possible? For example if your are doing a piece on the rising price of smoking, how can you find a link between that and revering peace and life? That is not possible, no.

PJ – What I am talking about here are specific articles.

Ahmet Şık – But it is not possible to pose such questions with regard to specific articles. But if you ask me, what we can do is this. I do not remember the articles for which I am accused here. Unfortunately I did read that indictment. I read it countless times. And I did not know what to do. To be frank, I had no intention of pronouncing a single word until I came here today. Because, you see. I’ve been in journalism for the last 27 years, I’ve been put on trial many times and do believe me, I’m saying this sincerely, I am sick and tired of having to explain to the Turkish judiciary what freedom of opinion and expression is, what freedom of the press is. Excuse me but those who are going to join the Turkish judiciary and work there, do obtain law degrees.

PJ – With regard to explaining this to the Turkish judiciary … (unintelligible)

Ahmet Şık – They know what the articles in national and international treaties and conventions are about but regarding what freedom of the press is, what freedom of opinion and expression is, what the limits defined by the European Convention of Human Rights – which you have signed – are, there is a shortcoming which is insistently not done away with. If you wish you can ask your question based on each of those articles, by pointing out what expression in them have caught your attention and then I can try to answer you.

PJ – I am not the only one whose attention was caught, it is because they caught the attention of those who prepared the indictment as well.

Ahmet Şık – You shouldn’t -and I’m saying this in all sincerity- take that indictment too seriously (Laughter in the hall)

PJ – Your are free not to answer. Your article dated February 14, 2015 and titled “Either Apo goes to Kandil, or we go to Imrali” where there is an interview of Cemil Bayık, let’s start with that. Does this come into the scope of your publishing principles, of the concept of revering peace and life, as well as of the answer to the question ‘is journalism about unlimited freedom’?

Ahmet Şık – My answer to all of this is Yes. That article was penned within the ethical limits defined by journalism. The interview was carried out without twisting and thwarting the truth, by emphasizing that the words attributed to the subject of the interview were noted as he expressed them, with nothing added nor taken out, except for a few grammatical corrections. This is a news piece which points out to the truth without distorting objective reality in any manner. But if you have found an expression or a term in that piece which has to do with your question, do ask me about that and we can look into it, but I claim that this is not the case.

PJ – Alright. Now the article dated July 8, 2015, titled “Ours is journalism, yours is treason”

Ahmet Şık- Do excuse me, I’d like to come back to the previous question first. Now do allow me to say this: the reason why that interview you referred to was brought up in the indictment to accuse me was not the interview itself. In fact there is another piece of news in that interview which was meticulously omitted in the indictment. During that interview Cemil Bayık said something, inadvertently I believe. You will remember that a woman, claimed to be a high rank leader of the PKK, was assassinated in Paris. (Bayık) said that Hakan Fidan had informed them -this was during the period when a series of negotiations were going on- that the assassination was carried out by a group within the MIT (Turkish National Intelligence Organization-tr. note). This caught my attention but I did not insist on probing it. If I had he would have tried to correct that information he had blurted out. When I came back I transcribed the tapes, I wanted to be sure I had heard right and yes, these were his exact words. I did this news piece and the real news which made the headlines was this. Our lawyers can find that edition of the newspaper for you. That news piece was based on that information and the government was greatly annoyed by it. The intention in including that article in the indictment is to accuse me of having ties with an organization of some kind, which I reject, and of doing propaganda. There is nothing in the interview which recalls violence, which exalts or exhorts violence whatsoever and I claim that this cannot be found in any piece I have published up to this day.

I have been a journalist for 27 years and I am proud to say that not a single piece I have written has been refuted up to now. In a period when so many lies are all the rage, this stands out as a monument of pride. As I said, what brought that interview up in the indictment is the fact that a group of people within the MIT, that is within the State, were involved in an assassination in Paris while the State was carrying out negotiations. The said group of MIT people, a group of some wrong people, together with, as you know, some other people, members of a violent organization, was involved in this assassination, I believe with a view to undermine that (negotiation) process. One flank of the State comes up with a political solution proposal to what has become a gangrened issue in Turkey and holds peace negotiations, while another flank organizes an assassination against three people of the organization. Now that makes news wherever you are in the World, and it is a noteworthy piece of news and that’s what I did.

PJ – What do you mean by ‘violent organization’?

Ahmet Şık – I am speaking about the PKK.

Prosecutor – Another interview on July 8, 2015, titled “Ours is journalism, yours is treason” . Prosecutor Özcan Şişman’s text figures in the indictment: but did not share that information”. Özcan Şişman shared this information with you and this is in the form of an interview through letters.

Ahmet Şık- This is an interview carried out through letters. I transmitted my questions to him through his lawyer, he answered them and sent them to me. It was then that the news appeared in the paper.

PJ – In fact we know that journalists always confirm certain things. Did you have chance to confirm (that information)? I am not asking you about your source. Just to revise

Ahmet Şık – What did I have to confirm?

PJ – The shared information: “The MIT knew about the massacre in Reyhanlı”.

Ahmet Şık – I am trying to understand you when I ask this question: According to you, who could have been the instance to confirm such information?

Prosecutor – But you just said you had sources.

Ahmet Şık- There is no interlocutor there. What can they say? Do you believe that they can say something like “Yes, I took part in an operation which killed my own citizens”?

PJ – If you were curious enough, you would have asked them directly.

Ahmet Şık – Look, I started investigating ISIS. And it was directly linked to the news piece I mentioned to you. I got together some files and some news pieces to write a book. There is no harm in my telling this story here and it will be a bit funny but up to then, that is up to 2014, I had no contact with the MIT. I have no idea how to get in touch with them anyway. Naturally, I first looked into MIT’s web page, there was no phone number. So I called some journalist colleagues in Ankara. When I told one of them that I wanted to meet with Hakan Fidan, that I needed his phone number, he started laughing. “Hey, what do you know, Ahmet Şık is looking fort he MIT’s phone number, and he is asking me, of all people, for it.” Anyway, he gave me the number of the press counsel, the official number and that’s how I put in a call to the MIT. Can I make myself understood? There are some news which require no confirmation or when there is a piece of news which requires confirmation, the people to confirm it will not tell you the truth anyway. The person interviewed there was also a member of the judiciary, wearing the same frock as yourselves. Later on he was prosecuted. The reason for the prosecution is related to the period he served as prosecutor. It was a period when some tricky and terrible events were taking place and he was the prosecutor for those cases. He made some allegations about that (the news piece). Now, it is clear who made the allegations, I am only transmitting them. That’s all.

PJ – You have another news piece on February 13,2015, with the heading “The TIR mystery resolved”. You wrote that those arms were not destined to the Turkmens, but to the jihadist organization Ansar Al Islam. This news piece of yours was also included in the indictment. If you wish to say anything on this, you may.

Ahmet Şık – I would rather you ask your question because what can I say? What I can say is this: I am proud of this piece of news because it was true. That is what I have to say, but if you ask me a question, I’ll try to answer it.

PJ – I am reiterating the previous question. In fact this point is debated in some other court cases as well and it also comes up in our indictment. Did you confirm this piece of news with your sources? This is my exact question to you.

Ahmet Şık – I am asking you in all sincerity, have you read that news piece? Don’t misunderstand me, I’m really curious to know if you have read it, because the source is clearly stated in the news piece. This is a news piece based on legal intercepted call recordings which figure in the files of a court case concerning an investigation carried out by the State regarding a certain massacre.

PJ- What I am asking your is whether you only took into consideration the recordings? Or did you have the information confirmed by other sources? That’s what I am asking you.

Ahmet Şık – I got in touch with every single person who was mentioned in that news piece. I asked every person whose phone number I was able to find and whom I was able to reach…

PJ – That is precisely what I am asking you.

Ahmet Şık – …About the allegations made against them. I told them that some of their utterances in this sense figured in the intercepted calls and asked them whether they had anything to say on this. There were people who did answer, I do not know whether they were included in the file but we published all of them in the paper anyway. There was only one person who did not reply, and then he tried to bring up a ridiculous court case (against us?) which resulted in a decision of non-prosecution.

  1. J. – On March 31, 2015, you made an interview with those involved in the killing of a prosecutor by two militants in Istanbul and published it in the cumhuriyet.com.tr site under the title of “Striking statements.” My first question on this subject is the following: Now do you believe this contributes in any way to the revering of peace and life?

Ahmet – If you read the questions in the interview, you shall see for yourself that this is what I am striving at. I can read them one by one if you like.

  1. J. – We do not believe there was such an effort.

Ahmet – I beg of you, please read the questions I asked. Don’t take the answers into consideration. Read those questions and let’s decide all together.

  1. J. – Secondly… Let’s change places if you please.

Ahmet – This seems to me to be linked to the political atmosphere. That won’t do. I mean, as I said, not in this political climate.

  1. J. – This is my second question: Do you think this news piece serves any social purpose?

Ahmet – I am quite convinced it does. Look, I stand behind every piece of news I have published until today. just as I stand behind every word I have uttered. Whatever I say, whatever I talk about reflects the way I live. I therefore stand by that news piece. I hope such a thing never happens, but if it did I would want to give the news the same way. For one of the questions I was trying to find an answer to during this short telephone conversation was why, for what motif, should a person in a world metropolis like Istanbul want to stick a gun to a prosecutor’s head and then kill him. If we do not get to understand this by questioning and establishing the cause and effect relation involved, but resort instead to some provocative titles or writings or drawings that exploit nationalistic feelings, we will never solve the problem and these acts will continue to take place. This is my whole concern.

This is true anywhere in the world but I want to make something clear. Neither do I have any crime to hide behind any flag, nor do I have any sin to hide behind any sacred book. This news was one of them. Let no one find himself a mission and try to invent a crime. I repeat, please read the questions I asked again. We can then talk again. As you wish.

  1. J. – Well I asked my question and got an answer, the rest is of little importance…. Concerning the content of the news piece you published on April 4, 2015, in the Cumhuriyet newspaper, this time in the paper version…

Ahmet – I’m sorry to interrupt you but… You are now pointing out to something. You talk about a news piece that appeared on the Cumhuriyet.com.tr site… I feel the need to explain and clarify something. I am a journalist working for the printed version of the Cumhuriyet newspaper. My job is to write news pieces, take photographs, make interviews and pursue my professional activities. The news pieces are published in the printed version, as is the case for all those who work at Cumhuriyet.

  1. J. – I will most probably be getting to this point…

Ahmet – No, no. I want to make something clear. We can continue afterwards. After the news has been published in the newspaper, the news published that day in the newspaper and their related editorials are taken over and discussed and interpreted on the site of the same name. I do not work for cumhuriyet.com.tr, I work for the Cumhuriyet newspaper.

… to me (unintelligible)

If this news piece includes an offence, the deadline for the launching of an investigation or trial is of 4 months. That’s all. I’m sorry to say this, but a prosecutor who will insist on reintroducing a case which does not include any cause of offence in the first place and which moreover would have passed its period of limitation if it did include such offence should go back to law school.

  1. J. – Yes, I continue with my question. On April 1, 2015, this news piece appeared on the newspaper’s first page with the following large type size heading: “We did this act because we were obliged to” and was picked up in page 6 with the heading: “The BERKİN ATTACK.” You are the journalist who brought this news piece. My question here has two parts: You have answered the question I have just asked you. There is news value involved. You said for the rest that the news piece fitted the criteria of revering peace and life and benefited the nation.

What I will ask you now will therefore relate to the second stage of my question. Do you have a say in the way a news piece will be selected, published, the type size used, the choice of including a photograph or not, or its captioning? Is this the job of the editorial board or the chief editor? Give us an answer on this point and then we’ll continue.

In a newspaper everyone’s job is defined: Photographer journalists take their photographs, journalists write their news pieces, editors write their editorials etc. etc. And all of these are gathered in a kitchen, the editorial board… how these pieces of news will be evaluated will depend on the knowledge and experience of our colleagues working in the editorial board… As a rule, those who come up with the news piece don’t like others to interfere. This is not considered a fair practice. Because everyone’s job is defined. Now if I were to go and … to some news… There is no such job definition, no such task. But I want to underline the following: If any accusation was to come out of this, let me tell you that the whole responsibility for everything mentioned there is mine. I have to say this. I am explaining all this in case you are asking your question in order to understand, but I repeat, if you are to make any accusations, all responsibility lies on me.

 

 

For further information, please contact Sarah Clarke, Advocacy Manager, sarah.clarke@pen-international.org