Details of attack on Hürriyet in 11 points
Hürriyet's editor-in-chief Sedat ErginRadikal, one of Turkey’s most popular news websites, shares offices with Turkish newspaper Hürriyet and its English-language sister the Hürriyet Daily News. It published the following account as an editorial on Sept. 7, hours after the violent attack carried out on the office building by pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) protesters:
At the moment, around 15 gendarmerie special teams are posted in the garden of our newspaper offices. Why are they here? They are here to protect us, the journalists, because you came to our home carrying stones and sticks.
Newspaper offices are the homes of journalists. You came to our home, broke down our door, and went inside. You chased our security officer with sticks. You took down the Doğan group flag that was flying alongside the Turkish flag in our yard and burned it.
You raided our home at midnight with stones and sticks. You stayed there for hours. You chanted, “You dog Doğan, do not test our patience.” You chanted “Re-cep Tayyip Er-do-ğan” slogans and “God is great.”
There are some people who push a button. There are groups who are ready to act when the button is pushed. How did this happen? Let’s track it step by step.
1) President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was in a live broadcast interview on A Haber TV station. During the interview he mentioned elections, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) Dağlıca raid which was ongoing at the time. He also made statements on many other matters.
2) Erdoğan’s first statement was on the Dağlıca raid. “First of all, we are very saddened,” he said. “Right now, our armed forces and the office of the chief of general staff are meeting, as well as our governor and the commander of the army corps in Dağlıca. Results could be achieved any moment. My prime minister will hold a security meeting as soon as he returns to Ankara. A definite result will be achieved by then, and they will make a statement about this. The weather conditions in Dağlıca were very, very bad, and a struggle is ongoing under these difficult conditions. An incident occurred in Dağlıca; a trap was set using mines for armored vehicles and this incident happened. The news that our chief of general staff told us is very sad.”
3) Upon these words, the moderator of the broadcast, Melih Altınok, asked this question: “Your words [before the June general election] saying ‘Give me 400 deputies and let this matter be solved in peace’ are being associated with today’s environment of clashes. What do you think about this?”
Erdoğan’s answer to this question was this: “It is not possible to understand this. Showing 400 as a target, in reality, is for making a new constitution, so that it can be made, built – so that we can easily step toward the New Turkey on the basis of this new constitution. This is such a target. On the other hand, we should also see something. How can we explain the fact that the destruction of those who have 80 seats in parliament has caused more destruction [now] than when they were trying to enter? We experienced the Oct. 6-8 protests; we experienced the Suruç incident; we experienced the Diyarbakır incident. All of these were nothing but imposing the evil of terror on our country after a period of solidarity and cooperation. They gain extra profit here. They gain extra credit through terror. This is what they do. If one political party had been able to reach 400 seats or enough seats to write the constitution, the situation would have been very different today. More than anything else, such a thing would have been very, very good to take a step toward the New Turkey. You say that you are against terror, but those saying they are against terror never shoulder responsibility. There cannot be such a national stance. I have adopted a stance to take the country to elections swiftly, with the authority granted to me by the constitution.”
4) Hürriyet, conveying Erdoğan’s statements to its readers right away, posted the following tweet via its Twitter account: “President Erdoğan’s #Dağlıca statement: ‘These things would not have happened if 400 deputies had been given.’” After posting this tweet a systematic attack took place. On its website, Hürriyet posted the story with the title “Statements from Erdoğan on live broadcast.” Because it contained words about Dağlıca, it shared the report on Twitter with the “Dağlıca” hashtag. The confusion stemmed from the addition of this hashtag to the tweet, at a time when this hashtag was being used intensively on Twitter.
7) Following Hürriyet’s tweet, prominent media figures close to the government called for a protest against Hürriyet at around 9:50 p.m.
Hilal Kaplan: “Why don’t you show your democratic reaction against these media groups who act like disinformation centers?”
Hilal Kaplan: “If tents were erected and protests were staged in front of the Doğan Group for days, then they would not have been able to say ‘take your lesson’ about the killing of Prosecutor Kiraz or ‘the PKK has retaliated.’”
Cemile Bayraktar: “A protest should be staged in front of Hürriyet tomorrow… Enough of false news and terror-supporting.”
Cemile Bayraktar: “It is difficult to show patience for the Doğan and the parallel media [Gülenists] that do not mention the PKK, that do not condemn terrorism, and that immediately attack the government when terrorism has killed children.”
9) For a long time, security forces watched the incidents with only one police team. The crowd took down the flag of the Doğan Group and burnt it. After repeated demands, extra police forces were dispatched.
10) AKP Istanbul deputy and the head of the AKP youth branch, Abdürrahim Boynukalın, was in the crowd. He announced this on his Twitter account, saying “We are protesting false news in front of Hürriyet and we are reciting the Quran for our martyrs.” Boynukalın was elected to parliament in the recent June general election.
The statement that Boynukalın delivered in front of Hürriyet is as follows: “They claim that the palace gladio is in charge of everything. But we are saying this: Whatever the result of the election on Nov. 1, we will make you [Erdoğan] the executive president; we will make you the president; we will make you the president.”
11) While the group’s wait in front of the Hürriyet building continued until the early hours of the morning, messages of support from pro-government media figures kept coming.
Fadime Özkan: “The Hürriyet staff are crying ‘where is the police. :((’ The police were killed by your beloved PKK. Call the PKK for your security.” (Retweet)
Fadime Özkan: “This is not Hürriyet’s first love affair with terror. But when they distort even a live broadcast in a night filled with such sorrow then it is normal for it to be protested (in peace).”
Yıldıray Oğur: “Is this also a coincidence.” Oğur retweeted a screenshot of a tweet that came from Doğan News Agency’s Twitter account when it was hacked on June 6, calling for people to vote for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
Kurtuluş Tayiz: Shared a story headlined “Ugly attack on Hürriyet” along with the words: “This is a nice thriller to watch.”
Taha Ün: “Citizens are staging a protest in front of the Hürriyet building in Bağcılar. Please share and those who have the means to should absolutely participate.”
Taha Ün: “The crowd in front of the Hürriyet building is constantly growing. Let’s bring terrorism and the terrorist to account. Come on, join.”
Taha Ün: “These protests should never stop. Tents should be set up in front of the Doğan Group and the struggle must go on till the end. (Retweet)
Taha Ün: “So when it is done by looters, assassins and the PKK it is considered a protest, but when it is done by Muslims, patriots and believing sons, then it is an attack? You will get used to it.”
Taha Ün: “Rascals and cowards who think they can design the state with a few terror organizations, a cooperative gang and a few newspapers. You will pay the price.”
(Important note: At the wedding of Taha Ün, who is one of the most prominent social media advocates of the AKP, President Erdoğan was a witness, while former president Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu sent flowers.)
When the Gezi Park protests started, Erdoğan, then Turkey’s prime minister, had said: “Right now we are barely able to hold back 50 percent of the country. We call on them to be patient and to not become a pawn in this game.”
Last night you showed what “those who could be barely held back” can actually do if they are sent onto the streets systematically.
This was a midnight action targeting a newspaper building with the participation of a political party’s representatives.
This attack, which should be condemned in a democratic state of law, was encouraged even when it was still going on. We experienced a night where the limits of protests, understanding and goodwill were violated, arriving at a point that is considered a crime according to criminal law.
You came to our newspaper, our home. You threatened us and attacked us with clubs.
But you can’t beat us.
Because we are not enemy. We are journalists. History has seen wars waged upon journalism but none of them was won. Because there can be no such scale, no such confrontation.
We are not even on the side where you put us.
We are not a part of your war.
We are journalists and we will continue to be. We know that there is a democratic state of law in this country. At least that is what the constitution says.