YUSUF KANLI > Freedom of the press

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How Turkey lost its F-4 reconnaissance plane on June 22 is of course important. Was it shot down by Syria’s Russian-made advance air defense missile systems? Was it shot down by anti-aircraft fire by Syrians? Did a loyal Syrian woman miss her spoiled son and hit the Turkish jet with a slipper she threw at the boy? Or did a spoiled kid shoot down the Turkish fighter with a slingshot?

How the Turkish military reconnaissance plane was lost and where it was lost are important questions the answers of which the state will never, ever provide, very much like how indeed the Turkish state bombarded its own civilian citizens the night of Dec. 28, killing 34 people, many of them children, assuming that they were terrorists.

By definition, journalists ought to be “opposition” to virtually everything at the expense of being declared unwanted or even banished to concentration camps like the one in the Silivri area of Turkey. Even though at times media bosses engage in lucrative business deals with the government and direct criticism of the government becomes all the more costly, through cartoons or articles of witty and veteran journalists, the media continues to be the eyes and ears of the public. Why do you think at one point in our recent political history we had a cartoon magazine, “Gır Gır,” selling almost 1.5 million copies a week? Or, unfortunately, not all of them live up to their reason d’être, but why do we have so many columnists in the Turkish media?

A journalist friend, Leyla Kemal, wrote an article in daily Taraf yesterday. I do not like Taraf newspaper. It appears to me that it is a newspaper created by some outside elements to serve a certain aim they want to achieve in Turkey. But, everyone should salute good journalism irrespective of where the story appeared. In her story Leyla wrote about emerging details that Turkey’s allies had gathered through their bases on Cyprus, satellites and other means that underline the high probability that the Turkish jet was downed or fell “INSIDE” Syrian territory – unlike Turkish assertions that it was downed in international airspace.

Well, what difference would it make where the plane was downed (or fell) as long as we lost a plane and the two young officers piloting it?

For an answer to the question let us return to the headline: Freedom of press! What’s the connection between what happened and how it happened to the reconnaissance jet and the freedom of media?

Leyla’s story was to appear in daily Sabah… The paper of “our Çalık,” who also owns ATV and the A Haber channels – lately the prime minister appears on only those two channels to answer the questions of a select group of breast-fed journalists. This week Sabah had announced that it would report an earth-shattering story on the reconnaissance plane… According to “rumors” after it was censored – pardon, ordered not to run such stories – and probably considering the many lucrative deals between the government and its boss, the paper forgot to publish its “earth-shattering report.”

Well done Leyla… We still don’t have a reliable report on what in fact happened to the jet. We don’t know how it fell, or whether it was downed by Syrians. Now, we know, however, that the Turkish government lied to the Turkish public and the world when it categorically asserted that the jet was downed in international airspace. The latest evidence apparently showed it was in Syrian airspace when it encountered its fate…

And of course, Sabah lost, along with masters of censorship.


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Notice on comments

Spyros Savvas

8/10/2012 7:02:51 PM

Murat, all the data about TAF flights over Greek islands are available through NATO, as the Greek radars transmit also to NATO headquarters. I dont think that HAF needs any help from TAF, but i'm sure we can give you all the help that you want to search for Nail Erdogan's F16...

mara mcglothin

8/10/2012 5:09:54 PM

REDTAIL The main purpose of the press is too "inform and protect" the public, not just from the government, but from all sides! There is a huge difference in "biased" reporting and inciting the public to riot. YOu can report that people were in front of the White House preparing to throw molotov cocktails, BUT you cannot suggest that the people meet up in front of the White House to throw bombs! The truth is always somewhere in the middle. Read all sources and then think for yourselves.


8/10/2012 4:07:12 PM

Turkish air force produced radar data and maps showing in great detail where the jet was at every instant. If that is all they have, that is all they have, plus it is naive to expect full disclosure and gory detail about sensitive military matters. Meanwhile we are still waiting for the picture and radar plots of Turkish planes flying over Greek islands. So far juts hot air, or Greeks have no clue what goes on over there. Maybe they can ask for help from Turkish air force?

Shah Hamdan

8/10/2012 3:57:42 PM

Turkey has locked up more journalist then PRC. Freedom of speech is just for ruling party. They are ruining the basic structure of state founded by Great father of nation.

Aryeh Rapaport

8/10/2012 3:24:37 PM

Yes, Turkey has a lack of freedom of press. Its horrible to think/know something and not be able to express it especially important issues which can introduce Turkey to a war. At the end truth comes out. Kanli, though we can assume Turkish jet was in Syrian waters, yet cant credibly confirm it; at least you can raise this issue of freedom in press. Turkey should and can be more free.


8/10/2012 1:43:05 PM

Here's my 2nd try at posting this: Despite the emphasis on objectivity, nearly everything written is not free from some degree of bias. This does not make censorship alright, but what's ridiculous is Hurriyet calling other news agencies out on it. Hurriyet's certainly among the most hiddenly biased sources. Proof: all the articles sound like they're written by the same "breast-fed" person, in the interests of the same master. Oftentimes what's cited is completely selective. In many cases the con

Ioannis F.

8/10/2012 10:24:13 AM

Do you believe us now when we say that TAF jets fly OVER greek islands?

Rimon Tree

8/10/2012 9:01:10 AM

Brave, witty and much to the facts! You are on the right lane, Mr. Kanli! Go ahead!

Red Tail

8/10/2012 7:58:38 AM

I aggree with Mr Kanli, the main purpose of the press is to NOT TRUST ITS GOVERNMENT and to constanly look for mistakes and errors. The press is the most important watch dog for democracy. When reading comments from readers, many seem to believe that the main goal of the press is to spread nationlistic propaganda to appear as united against everything foreign. That is totally wrong. We need more journalists who do serious investigations and who follow up past events like the light house affair.

Tevfik Alp

8/10/2012 4:27:03 AM

Censorship is not only enforced by government authorities, it is enforced by the media as well. Try to write a letter to a news media about an issue. Practically, every media have their own gudelines about what to say or not. Cances are they do not publish your letter, at all. Freedom of speech and impression?
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