The audacity to win
No, Turkey is not going through the same election and campaign days that U.S. President Barack Obama went through.
And no, even his presidency would have been a joke had he ran for office in Turkey. But yes, unfortunately President Obama will be coming to a country that has physically shut down a TV station by force. Live. On TV. And that is a shame.
An old Turkish saying is extremely popular among media members these days: “Let your tyranny grow bigger, so your exit will be quicker.” On Oct. 28 two mainstream TV channels that are owned by a businessman who sympathizes with Fethullah Gülen were shut down by the police and only the leftists dared to call it a coup d’état. Tarık Toros, the editor-in-chief of Bugün TV, is an old colleague who has worked with veterans and pioneers like Ufuk Güldemir. His tears and his heartbreaking words echoed what many felt in their hearts. “I could not protect the channel. When your screen hits black, you go home,” he said, “But we are not out of words yet.”
As the country heads for another vital election, Turkey’s troubles are far from over. Toros’ desperation should be a sign for the intelligentsia, media, academia and judiciary to go back into themselves and reflect again on why there is no unity in anything against the unjust.
The Gezi Park protests remain as the uncontested solidarity movement this land has seen in the past 50 years. So why then, again, do the pieces fall apart every time one of the opposition gets hit? Are we not even as smart as the birds that create a flock to scare the vultures?
Look at the latest drama. Secularists are mad at Bugün TV and Kanaltürk because of their pro-government stance during the Ergenekon trials. Liberals, who were die-hard supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government for more than a decade, now call him a dictator. With such twisting and twirling opposition, Erdoğan should be very happy indeed. Without principled intellectual challenge, the (Justice and Development Party) AK Party and Erdoğan can continue for another decade.
The vital question remains the same: Where is the audacity to win? To win the public view, the middle class vote, the pious citizens’ hearts; where is the energy, the humor, the belief and the strength?
Bugün TV and Kanaltürk are going through the same ordeal that has hit leftist papers and Kurdish media for decades. Not too long ago, Kanaltürk and Bugün TV were the heroes of democracy that was defending the AK Party against military tutelage. In three years, they became the voice of the opposition and an alleged “terrorist finance organization.”
Turkey launched a PR offensive in the U.S. against the Gülen Movement this week. The Amsterdam Law Offices was bold enough to hold a press conference in the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Two days after this, two TV channels are shut down and the U.S. State Department is expressing “concern” as usual.
Turks are very confused and disillusioned about what is going on in media. They cannot care less unless it touches their pockets. Kurds on the other hand, are ready to take the challenge. And it shall come indeed. By Nov. 2, we will probably wake up to a new reality.
The question has its answer hidden in it. Who has the audacity to win?