Get your hands off female journalists

Get your hands off female journalists

Today, I am leaving my column to Amberin Zaman, a colleague and a friend who I have known for more than two decades, and who has recently been targeted by government supporters. 

This is not the first time she has been targeted by the government or its supporters. I recall how she was threatened in the 1990s for the articles she wrote on the Kurdish issue. This time, she was directly targeted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his presidential election campaign, which was followed by a virtual lynch campaign.

Fellow journalist Ceyda Karan also recently joined the list of women who have been attacked by Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters. There is an unprecedented virtual lynch campaign going on against women who are critical of the AKP. As I said, this is not a new experience for Amberin, but sadly what is currently happening is taking place in the “NEW TURKEY” we were promised by this country’s new ruling elites.

This is what Amberin wrote in her article, dated Aug. 22:

“It's not only in this region. In the East and West, in the less developed and more developed, Muslim or Christian [regions], the same rule applies in all societies. First, women are chosen as targets from among those who question the order. They want to render [women’s] brains worthless and break their courage. These lynch campaigns always work based on physical, oral or sexual violence.

“This is just what was done against Ceyda Karan the other night: Talking on CNNTürk, Karan voiced criticism about the presidential elections. The man facing her, a reporter from Yeni Şafak, twisted her words immediately. He said Karan was being condescending toward the electorate by calling them ‘stupid.’

“The pro-government hitters who were waiting for the ambush did not waste any time. They started attacking Karan on Twitter while the program was still ongoing. ‘Idiot blond,’ ‘Transvestite face,’ etc... They did not spare her any insult. But not once did the word ‘stupid’ come out of Karan’s mouth.

“Does it matter? The aim is to conduct a smear campaign against Karan. Because she is dangerous. Because she is not one of the ‘militant secularists’ who have been staunchly hostile to the AKP from day one and who can easily be ridiculed. Therefore, there is an intellectual weight, a moral depth to Karan’s criticism of the government. They want to darken Karan’s life in every way possible because she has started her new job at daily Cumhuriyet. Just as they did the same thing to me on the same program two weeks ago... My words were also twisted, thanks to the contribution of the president-to-be.

“I was declared an ‘enemy of Islam.’ There are people who would be thrilled if the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] were to cut off my head because of this.

“I am talking about the neo-lumpens who are strengthening around Erdoğan’s cult; as said by a conservative friend of mine, ‘those who are just short of being ISIL.’

“This crowd gained its first ‘war experience’ not it Mosul, but in Gezi Park. They targeted, via social media, ‘whores’ like Melis Alphan, Şirin Payzın, Selin Girit, Tuğçe Tatari, Banu Güven, Nuray Mert, Ece Temelkuran and many others who they considered enemies. They declared that they will kill us by ‘f**ing us.’

“However, it is the same crowd that says, without being ashamed, ‘we are the purest, the most pious of all Muslims.’

“In their gray and entertainment-devoid world, a bachelorette without children, though loving and caring for a pet, is a pitiful creature. The most spectacular insult they can come up with is ‘woman on the menopause.’

“There is no difference left between those who in the past, to please the generals, attacked Kurdish and headscarved women and the writers who had no problem leading these crowds.

“The most pitiful side of the situation is that the women with whom we have struggled for the cause of the headscarf have remained silent to what has been done against us. On the contrary, some whose conscience has fallen victim to their ambitions have become the leading commanders of these campaigns.

“All these despicable things were done yesterday in the name of secularism, while today they are done in the name of Islam. But it is all clear. Some of you have just lost your ways, but the main concern of most of you is the money, power and status that you have come to taste only recently.”