Award praises media role in beating coup attempt

Award praises media role in beating coup attempt

Ali Kayalar - ANKARA
Award praises media role in beating coup attempt

Hürriyet Ankara Bureau Chief Hande Fırat (C), who put President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on TV during the coup attempt, receives her award from Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım (2R).

RATEM, a civil sector organization bringing together Turkish media outlets, has praised the role of the media in defeating the July 15, 2016, coup attempt at a Media and Democracy Awards ceremony in parliament on Feb. 14. 

Tijen Karas, a state-run TRT anchorwoman who was forced to read a statement by the putschist soldiers on the night of the attempted takeover, announced the award recipients. 

TRT General Manager Şenol Günay, who tried to prevent the coup soldiers from entering the broadcast on state television, was among the awarded figures. 

CNN Türk anchorwoman Hande Fırat, who put President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on TV during the coup attempt, helping him make a call to the nation to resist the plotters after TRT was occupied, was also presented with an award, along with CNN Türk News Coordinator Ali Güven.

Fırat is now the Ankara bureau chief of daily Hürriyet.

“I had to join a meeting of attendees with such power and influence,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım joked as he addressed the ceremony.

The award meeting praised the media’s role against the coup attempt, he said. 

“You woke the nation up and set an example to the world,” Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Ahmet Aydın told attendees.  

“You dished out disappointment to those that attempted the coup,” he said, praising the broadcasters which opposed the coup despite differences of opinion with the government.  

“July 15 was the last coup attempt on these lands; it will not happen again,” he said. 

Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister Hüseyin Yayman said the Turkish media repaired a bad reputation on the night of the coup attempt, taking a stance against the plot, unlike previous occurrences.

RATEM President Yusuf Gürsoy also said almost all media outlets took a strong stance against the plot.  

More than 410 representatives from nationwide and local media organizations paid a visit to the damaged parts of the parliament building, which was targeted by coup pilots during the coup attempt.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, meanwhile, called on nationwide and local media to lend “objective support” to the “yes” bid in the upcoming referendum on major constitutional changes so as to ensure sustainability in the politics and economy.

“I request you support these processes in an objective and open way during this constitution referendum period in a path to found a new Turkey,” said Kurtulmuş, addressing members of RATEM on Feb. 13 in Ankara. 

“We have witnessed how important the polyphonic media is during the July 15 coup attempt,” the deputy prime minister said, referring to last year’s foiled bid.

“This is not an offer that will lower the standards of democracy,” the deputy prime minister said regarding the amendments. 

Kurtulmuş praised the suggested change, saying it would put an end to a “tutelage” system, prevent double-headedness in the governance of the country and introduce economic and political stability.