400 intellectuals show support for daily Cumhuriyet, journalist

400 intellectuals show support for daily Cumhuriyet, journalist

400 intellectuals show support for daily Cumhuriyet, journalist

Hürriyet Photo

Some 400 academics and artists have expressed in a signed statement their support to daily Cumhuriyet and its editor-in-chief, Can Dündar, as both were subjected to an investigation after the daily picked up a story of trucks belonging to Turkey’s top intelligence body which were stopped while allegedly attempting to carry weapons to Syria.

Leading intellectuals, who signed their name as “We Citizens,” demanded that the “dark developments” surrounding the MİT trucks be brought out into the open. 

“We remind state and government officials what was on those trucks, where they were carried from and to, to whom they were carried and whether or not the shipment complied with international law should be communicated properly to the public... The true mission of newspapers and television channels is to keep people informed on the matters directly related to their lives. All pressures and threats against daily Cumhuriyet and its editor-in-chief Can Dündar are constitutional crimes. It violates our right to receive information. We call on the president to stop pressures and threats against press freedom, which is defined in the constitution,” they said.

Many academics, law professors, authors, artists and human rights activists, including academics Ali Nesin and Gençay Gürsoy, economics professor Ayşe Buğra, politician Sezgin Tanrıkulu, politics professor Binnaz Toprak, actor Levent Üzümcü, businessman Osman Kavala and actress Serra Yılmaz, were among those who signed the statement.

Speaking at a rally later in the day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized “some so-called intellectuals,” referring to the 400 academics and artists who signed a petition on June 5 in support of daily Cumhuriyet and Can Dündar, who are both under fire for coverage of the story related to the halted intelligence trucks.

“They are not enlightened, but in the darkness,” Erdoğan added, referring to the Turkish word for “intellectual” that can be rendered as “enlightened.” 

Meanwhile, a number of rights groups and non-governmental organizations were reported to be set to march to Cumhuriyet’s headquarters to express their support for the daily and its editor-in-chief.