The newspaper with the motto 'Turkey belongs to Turks'

The newspaper with the motto 'Turkey belongs to Turks'

A young man approached me the other day at a bar in the Aegean town of Bodrum and said:
“I was a security officer 15 years ago fighting in the mountains. When we used to lose our friends there, we used to look to those having fun in Bodrum and swear at them. Look at the fate. I am now in Bodrum and having fun and other people are dying in the mountains.”

Last Saturday, Aug. 15, was the anniversary of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) first attack. On Aug. 15, 1984, at 9:30p.m., the PKK conducted its first attack in Eruh. I was an academic in Ankara’s Hacettepe University at the time. I heard of the PKK for the first time that year. That’s the year I became an enemy of the PKK. 

It has been 31 years and I have lived as an enemy of the PKK during that whole time.

I have been working for the past 28 years for a newspaper with “Turkey belongs to Turks” written next to its logo. I am proud to work for this newspaper. 

I am coming from a leftist and internationalist tradition. It is my boss, Aydın Doğan, who taught me over the course of 20 years what nationalism means.

When the prime ministers and presidents of the Turkish Republic asked something from him as a media boss for the continuity (survival) of this country, he gave that support because he himself believed it.

He has been criticized by liberals for the support he provided. He never gave up and sided with the state.
This is the biggest lesson Aydın Doğan taught me: Being a Turkish nationalist does not contradict wanting a solution. 

It is with that sentiment that he supported the solution process that President Tayyip Erdoğan started when he was prime minister.

He did not just say it; he made it known to his employees through a written message. 

“Turkey belongs to Turks” is still written next to the logo of this paper. You might agree with this expression or not. But there is a truth we should not forget: 350,000 people read this paper on weekdays while this number reaches 400,000 on the weekend. Each day, 3.3 million people visit the website of this paper. 

This is an incredible success which confirms the big space it holds in the people’s hearts and lives.
I have no authority to talk on behalf of my paper. But I have the right to reflect the sentiment that dominates the paper and its boss. This paper has been standing next to the state for the past 31 years. When the state’s survival was at stake, whatever late President Turgut Özal wanted in the fight against terror, this paper fulfilled that task. 

It gave the support asked by (former prime minister) Tansu Çiller, despite its big disagreements with her. When Erdoğan asked for support for both the fight against terror and the peace processes, he became a volunteer on both fronts, saying this is a duty of the country.

Nine of our children became martyrs the other day.  Damn you PKK! 

I am ready to do whatever is expected of me in the fight against these treachers.

But it has been 31 years. We had some successes in the fight against this gang. In fact, Çiller gave the most successful fight against them.

If you say, “I will finish it by striking at it,” many before you have tried it. But it was never over. 

The military success did not lead to a political reward for Çiller. She lost elections; she went back to her corner.

What I mean to say is that we were always there in the fight against terrorism. From now on as well we will always be there without any political expectations.

But I would like to ask you this question:

“Are you in this fight for peace?”

My answer and my answer exactly this day is:

“Yes, I am in.”

If you ask me why, I would say the man who works for this paper that writes “Turkey belongs to Turks” has seen too much blood during the course of his life.

And now I have a blood phobia.