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RIGHTS > Can Dündar dismissed from daily Milliyet for critical Gezi stance

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Along with his journalism, Dündar is also known for producing some of the most important political documentaries in Turkey. Hürriyet photo

Along with his journalism, Dündar is also known for producing some of the most important political documentaries in Turkey. Hürriyet photo

Renowned columnist Can Dündar has been dismissed from daily Milliyet, adding a new casualty to the list of journalists who left their media outlets in the aftermath of the Gezi Park unrest.

The owner of the newspaper, Erdoğan Demirören, informed Dündar of the decision in a phone call, ending three weeks of uncertainty during which his columns were not published. 

“I was waiting it for a long time, it wasn’t a surprise … I’m not the first, and I won’t be the last,” Dündar wrote in a piece posted on his personal blog on Aug. 1.

His dismissal came two days after the newspapers’ veteran Ankara representative Fikret Bila, was appointed as the new editor-in-chief, replacing Derya Sazak.

Dündar’s columns on Gezi Park were said to have caused much unease in Ankara, but he had been on the government’s target board since defending Milliyet’s editorial line when it leaked a document purportedly written during a critical Feb. 23 meeting between jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and a parliamentary delegation as part as the Kurdish peace talks. 

Milliyet had then refused to publish the column of prominent journalist Hasan Cemal following government pressure. Cemal resigned after a row with the daily’s administration and many observers expected Dündar to be next in line due to his critical stance at the time.

The Turkish Journalists Union (TGC) had said in a statement that a total of 59 journalists had either been dismissed or had resigned during the Gezi protests.

Another respected name of Turkish journalism, Yavuz Baydar was dismissed last week from daily Sabah. Baydar had raised eyebrows inside the newspaper after he reflected the readers’ complaints about the editorial stance adopted during the Gezi unrest in line with his role of ombudsman. A column where he explained that an ombudsman was not the newspaper’s defense attorney had been censored. 

His opinion piece published in the New York Times, in which he took a critical view of the Turkish media outlets’ attitudes during the nationwide protests, was seen as the final straw for the newspaper’s direction which chose to adopt a pro-government stance in the assessment of the unrest.

August/01/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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Çılgın Kanarya

8/3/2013 8:19:01 AM

BLACKBEARD, it seems to have gone completely over your head that the only journalists being fired or resigning are those who CRITICIZE the AKP government! Aren't the journalists who SUPPORT Erdoǧan and his dictatorship also "politically involved", as you put it? Why aren't they losing their jobs too? I can't believe I'm having to point something so simple out to you. How old are you Blackbeard?

Agnes Smith

8/2/2013 1:05:37 PM

Is it not possible for sacked journalists to go to the Euro court for unfair dismissal. I agree with DOGAN - everyone should boycott the papers who treat their journalists in this way. Al Monitor should expect some additions to their ranks. And lets face it anyone under the age of 30 (half the population or close) get all their media online anyway. They can follow their trusted journalists wherever they write from - as long as it isn't prison of course.

Timothy BlackBeard

8/2/2013 12:58:56 PM

I'd be interested in ratio of 'resigned' to 'dismissed' in the statement "The Turkish Journalists Union (TGC) had said in a statement that a total of 59 journalists had either been dismissed or had resigned during the Gezi protests." This shows that those journalists who resigned were so politically involved that it effected their profession, publications and even their loyalty to their employers/jobs. And they say Journalists are being arrested for merely writing unbiased articles. Hah!!

Agnes Smith

8/2/2013 12:12:18 PM

Lets hope all these sacked journalists can stay out of prison and their faithful readers still have access to their words - somehow.

B Medic

8/2/2013 12:00:38 PM

This is weird! Can Dündar and Yavuz Baydar are two of Turkey's most professional journalists and columnists, very far from the opinionated hacks that dominate Turkish newspapers. Their criticism of the government has always been very careful and nuanced. Dündar did a documentary about Atatürk a few years ago which angered many hardcore Kemalists and he has written many critical articles about CHP too. If he has been fired, Turkish media has a very serious problem

Sultan Davut

8/2/2013 9:21:34 AM

There's allot of good journalists out there now looking for a job. Iooks like all the HR is in place for a great new newspaper....

K M

8/2/2013 8:58:20 AM

I will say that the timing of Tahahahaha Ozhan's column couldn't have been better.

Richard Wyatt

8/2/2013 8:11:48 AM

Let's hope Can Dündar is offered a job at Cumhuriyet. Apart from HDN, that seems to be about the only paper not toeing the AK party line.

young genius

8/2/2013 1:40:32 AM

@Rimon Tree haha I agree! it's so sad that this is actually happening.

Falk Bernard

8/2/2013 1:39:50 AM

Al those fired people can now start their own daily.
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