Journalism on trial, says freed Turkish journalist Yalçın
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Soner Yalçın, who was relesed pending trial in the OdaTV case last week, says he and his friends are on trial solely for journalistic activities. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL
Soner Yalçın, who was last week released pending trial in the OdaTV case said yesterday he has not been accused of falsifying news but ‘making news,’ expostulating about journalists who did not back him and other scribes being tried.
“We have to take the OdaTV case in a legal perspective, then we will see that it’s an ‘enemy’s law.’
Journalists are arrested for making news. There are only columns and reports in the additional indictment of this case; that’s the ground of the indictment. No guns, no bombs,” Yalçın told the Hürriyet Daily News in his home, where he has been since gaining his freedom after 682 days in Silivri Prison.
“We have 170 years of journalism history in this land,” he said, noting assassinated colleagues in recent Turkish history and calling journalism at present in Turkey “vile.”
Yalçın praised supportive journalists and unions but reproachfully said it was his “way of journalism” that was put on the table by some colleagues.
“Journalists should have said ‘stop there’ to the courts; what has saddened me is that I was charged for reporting, not for anything else,” he said.
During the two-year-long proceedings, Yalçın argued that the documents that were found on their computers had been sent from outside with the help of a computer virus.
“You can test me only with the truth, but they accused me with columns I wrote 20 years ago,” he said. “How can you stand idly by such a case? How can you not protect the values of journalism, how you succeed not to hit the streets?” he asked.
Yalçın also said he was a victim of the same conspiracy that had bugged Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office.
The Cemaat, he said, could be the new deep state in Turkey, but no one else.
Some believe that Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic cleric living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, is secretly directing a movement consisting of bureaucrats, politicians, journalists and security forces.
The plotters are the same people behind the release of sex tapes of former Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and many executives of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Yalçın said, calling on Erdoğan to “make Turkey pellucid,” in that sense.
“Democracy, fighting against the deep state organizations, we have not seen it yet. If you are willing to fight we will be on your side,” he said.
“The political power will have to be brave or it will shoot itself in the foot. Imagine a prime minister, one of the best-protected ones due to regional reasons, they sneak to his office and put a bug: What sort of power could dare to do it? If the government is ready to fight against them we are with them. Look, I always highlighted here that we can differ about our political stances; we can argue about them, but as journalists we have to fight back against Cemaat, which darkens people’s lives, just like we fought against the counterinsurgency and Susurluk gang.”
“There is one president and one prime minister in this country; we refuse to have a shadow prime minister,” Yalçın said.