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RIGHTS >We are not afraid of attacks, says Hürriyet chairwoman Vuslat Doğan Sabancı

Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, the chairwoman of daily Hürriyet, vows that the newspaper will continue its independent journalism despite two physical attacks on its headquarters in less than 48 hours. ‘We are not afraid, because you can’t do journalism by being afraid,’ Doğan Sabancı said in a public statement in front of the attacked gate of the newspaper on Sept 10, joined by Doğan Media workers. Here is the full text of the speech:

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Our country is going through difficult times.

We are hurt. Our hearts are tormented.

Every day, dozens of people are being martyred.

Every day we are losing our brothers, our sons, our dear ones.

Violence is hitting the street, knocking our door, reminding us of the darkest days of our history.

Unfortunately, a language that divides, targets and encourages violence has started to rule our country.

Today, as the Doğan Group and daily Hürriyet employees, with millions of our readers and viewers, we are here to stand against this terror and this language of violence.

As you all know, this building that we are standing in front of now was attacked on Sunday night.

Our door was broken and there was an attempt to break inside the building.

A crowd, among them the former head of a political party’s youth organization and its current member of parliament, attacked our building.

We were insulted and threatened.

After the attack, they told us we should get used to such attacks.

As individuals who simply try to their job and publish properly, we learned what we should get used to the next night.

We were openly attacked again, for a second time.

Why did it happen? There is one answer: Because we are being indicated as a target.

My father, Aydın Doğan, and a number of journalists, writers and managers in our group, have been targeted for a long time with lies and slanders.

Horrible slanders include claims that we “support terror.” As a newspaper whose editor-in-chief was killed by terrorists and a newspaper that was targeted by terror attacks in the past, there is no need to explain where we have stood on this issue for the past 67 years. We always stand against PKK terrorism and we will continue to oppose it in any form, whatever its name is.

What’s more, nobody has a right to question our love for our country.

Two separate attacks were organized against this newspaper within 48 hours.

These attacks were a part of a systematic slander and intimidation campaign that has been ongoing against the Doğan family for a long time.

As the Doğan Group, we have been in a great struggle for the past eight years.

First, we faced an unprecedented tax penalty conspiracy. 

There are currently efforts to re-open legal cases that we have already won. They made a special effort to convict us with fictitious and fabricated allegations. 

Our family, which is among the top taxpayers in Turkey, is being targeted with fictitious and fabricated allegations such as “oil smuggler,” “tax dodger,” and “terrorist.” This is neither reasonable nor conscionable.

We know the reason for these systematic attacks very well. 

The reason is our independent publishing stance, under very hard conditions.

Our readers and viewers should know something well: Being targeted in attacks of intimidation by club-swinging and stone-throwing groups cannot and will not scare us.

We are an independent publisher and we want to remain one.

We have only one goal: To make every effort to provide our readers and viewers with the correct information in the quickest time. Nobody should doubt that we will continue our duty with the same decisiveness.

For a democracy, a responsible, independent media with ethical values is like bread, like water.

It is a light in the darkness.

Everyone should protect it.

We invite all citizens, politicians, the business world, artists and NGOs who love our country and have a claim on democracy, to also claim our nation’s right to be informed.

We thank all our citizens, readers, politicians, artists, writers, representatives of the business world and NGOs who have condemned the attacks and stood behind us with their messages.

This is not an issue only about the Doğan Group and daily Hürriyet. 

This is an issue about the freedom and welfare of our nation, and the future of our democracy.

This is not an issue about three glass windows and a door being broken in an attack on a building.

This is an issue about an attempt to revoke the people’s right to be informed by silencing journalists.

As Hürriyet, our duty is journalism.

I am standing here with my friends who wake up each day to do good journalism despite all the pressure, all attempts to target us, and all the violence.

We are not afraid, because you can’t do journalism by being afraid. 

If we can’t do journalism, it means that we would take away your “Hürriyet” [“freedom” in English], which has been here for the past 67 years.

Nobody has a right to take your “Hürriyet” away in these days when terrorism and violence are worsening, when children are being orphaned, and when many of us feel alone, tired and hopeless.

If a journalist’s duty is to provide the public with the correct information, then the state’s duty is to protect the lives, property and honor of its citizens.

Our sole guarantee is justice and democracy.

As the Doğan family, the Doğan Group, Hürriyet employees and with the support of our millions of readers and viewers, we are standing in front of this gate that was shattered to pieces with violence.

I strongly condemn this violence that shattered the door that opens to our peace and freedoms, attacking our unity and fraternity.

I once again repeat decisively that we will continue our journalism correctly and objectively, by not giving any concession over our principles.

Terrorism is a crime against humanity. We must all stand against the problem of terror as one single heart. We shouldn’t be trapped by chaos and the fight between brothers and sisters that terrorism seeks to create.

I pray for God’s grace for all our martyrs and citizens who lost their lives in violence and terrorist acts that have increased recently. I wish for patience and extend my condolences to their relatives and orphaned children, and our entire nation.

September/10/2015

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