Religious beliefs and practices used to be private

Religious beliefs and practices used to be private

The year was 1969; the incident I am going to tell happened that year during the beginning of an election campaign. Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Ali İhsan Göğüş paid a visit to party chair İsmet İnönü at his home and presented the candidate list to him that was to be handed over to the election council. Two journalists were accompanying him.

While İnönü was going through the lists, the journalist was focused on a “God’s will be done” sign hanging on the wall. 

With a journalist’s instinct, he signaled to the photo journalist Hüseyin Ezer right there. He asked him to shoot İnönü, known to be a staunch secularist, under that sign. 

That photograph was in daily Milliyet the next day. 

It was still morning hours when İnönü called the two journalists to the Pembe Köşk (Pink Villa), scolding them, “What right do you have to disclose my privacy; to publicize my inner world?” 

While these two journalists left the mansion with their heads bowed, İnönü’s daughter Özden Toker later explained: “In the large dining table at our house, issues of the country would be discussed. There would also be iftar tables set. Prayers would also be said at home. But we would never publicize any of it.” 

My source of the above is a column written by Can Dündar. The journalist that visited İnönü’s house that evening was Mete Akyol. 

Our senior colleague Mete Akyol died Nov. 3 at the age of 81. 

His last photo that was printed in the papers was taken 11 months ago on Dec. 2, 2015. 

He was at the “democracy watch” in front of the Silivri Prison, near Istanbul, while Can Dündar was under arrest inside the walls. 

That day, he said: “Everybody has an opinion and you evaluate it accordingly. This is the most concrete act you can do. Otherwise, you cannot say, ‘I don’t like this person’ and jail him.” 

Goodbye, our dear senior. We will always remember you and this sentence of yours. 

Same trap for all 

You cannot make a putschist out of journalist Nazlı Ilıcak who, for her entire life, has fought against coups and putschists… You cannot attribute the crime of putschism to writer Şahin Alpay, who has fought against coups and putschists all his life. 

You cannot draw a putschist profile for Ali Bulaç, the sociologist/journalist who has written for the rights and freedoms of pious people all through his life. 

You cannot attach a membership to a terror group to the linguist Necmiye Alpay, who has fought all her life against the violent fractions of the left.  

You cannot find a terror supporter in the writings of Aslı Erdoğan, who has spent her life writing about the most humanistic fields of literature. 

You cannot produce a photograph of “a collaborator of FETÖ” from our colleagues who work at daily Cumhuriyet and who have staged a struggle against the Fethullah group all their lives and have suffered jail sentences for that reason. You can do it politically and arbitrarily, but you cannot do it legally.

Do you know what will happen if you try to do this? All of us, all together, we will fall once more into the well dug by members of FETÖ.


Imagine that you have not left even one person in the country who would annoy you and get on your nerves…

Imagine the “golden submissive generation” that the Fethullah group failed to achieve has become the “platinum submissive generation” that you have in mind.  

Imagine that only a lifestyle suitable to you has prevailed from one end of the country to the other.

Imagine in all places in the country only those songs you like are being played; only your folk songs are sung. Would you like to live in such a country? 

Would you be happy in such a country?