Hürriyet responds to ‘unlimited slander’ in defense of top story
ISTANBULDaily Hürriyet has released a statement regarding its lead story on Feb. 25 about the Turkish Armed Forces’ answers to various criticisms, responding to a wave of “unlimited slander” against its journalism immediately after the story was published.
Below is the full text of the statement.
“Our daily’s Feb. 25 headline titled ‘Seven Answers to Seven Criticisms’ was a story about how the General Staff evaluated the latest criticisms that have frequently been voiced, as well as the speculation regarding Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar in certain segments of the public and the media. The story provided answers to each criticism one by one.
“We are closely following how the headline story by our Ankara representative, Hande Fırat, is intentionally being dragged in a direction in which it should not be. The allegation that [the piece] was a ‘coup provocation’ was intentionally attached to the story in social media and on some websites, inciting a lynch campaign that went as far as demanding the prosecution of the Hürriyet staff responsible for the story.
“Equally interesting is the fact that a different segment claimed that the same story created a perception plot, interpreting it as support for the ‘yes’ side in the constitutional referendum by delivering a message of ‘close the ranks’ to undecided [voters] within the Justice and Development Party (AKP) base. In the end, the opposite segments come together in attacking Hürriyet by attributing different intentions to the same story.
“All of the accusations are malevolent. When Hürriyet’s story is read carefully, it can be seen that the text included answers to the criticisms against Akar, and it is no secret that those criticisms came from not only the pro-government side but also from the opposition side.
“Hürriyet merely acted with the motivations of journalism on the story. Our Ankara representative, Hande Fırat, asked the Communication Department of the General Staff about the criticisms and accusations regarding Akar for journalistic purposes and reported the answers in line with the principles of journalism.
“Regardless, the only topic here is journalism, and all other comments to be made except this are mere lies.
“This incident itself will leave an imprint in people’s memories as one of the most extreme examples of the unlimited state of slander in Turkey. As acknowledged by everyone, it is the discretion of the Turkish public that will best evaluate the sleaziness of this slander against our Ankara representative, Hande Fırat, who played a vital role in defeating the [July 15, 2016] coup attempt and protecting our democracy with her journalism.
“Hürriyet, whose headquarters in Istanbul were besieged by coup soldiers during the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, displayed a powerful stance in favor of democracy. [No one has the right] to question Hürriyet’s commitment to democracy.”