Can Dündar dismissed from daily Milliyet for critical Gezi stance

Can Dündar dismissed from daily Milliyet for critical Gezi stance

Can Dündar dismissed from daily Milliyet for critical Gezi stance

Along with his journalism, Dündar is also known for producing some of the most important political documentaries in Turkey. Hürriyet photo

Renowned columnist Can Dündar has been dismissed from daily Milliyet, adding a new casualty to the list of journalists who left their media outlets in the aftermath of the Gezi Park unrest.

The owner of the newspaper, Erdoğan Demirören, informed Dündar of the decision in a phone call, ending three weeks of uncertainty during which his columns were not published. 

“I was waiting it for a long time, it wasn’t a surprise … I’m not the first, and I won’t be the last,” Dündar wrote in a piece posted on his personal blog on Aug. 1.

His dismissal came two days after the newspapers’ veteran Ankara representative Fikret Bila, was appointed as the new editor-in-chief, replacing Derya Sazak.

Dündar’s columns on Gezi Park were said to have caused much unease in Ankara, but he had been on the government’s target board since defending Milliyet’s editorial line when it leaked a document purportedly written during a critical Feb. 23 meeting between jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and a parliamentary delegation as part as the Kurdish peace talks. 

Milliyet had then refused to publish the column of prominent journalist Hasan Cemal following government pressure. Cemal resigned after a row with the daily’s administration and many observers expected Dündar to be next in line due to his critical stance at the time.

The Turkish Journalists Union (TGC) had said in a statement that a total of 59 journalists had either been dismissed or had resigned during the Gezi protests.

Another respected name of Turkish journalism, Yavuz Baydar was dismissed last week from daily Sabah. Baydar had raised eyebrows inside the newspaper after he reflected the readers’ complaints about the editorial stance adopted during the Gezi unrest in line with his role of ombudsman. A column where he explained that an ombudsman was not the newspaper’s defense attorney had been censored. 

His opinion piece published in the New York Times, in which he took a critical view of the Turkish media outlets’ attitudes during the nationwide protests, was seen as the final straw for the newspaper’s direction which chose to adopt a pro-government stance in the assessment of the unrest.