Not even a lie
We have seen many times in the recent past sad examples in the name of democracy of how a submissive justice can turn into a weapon in the hands of political powers. When a physical attack was not enough, the justice weapon has now turned to daily Hürriyet. The target is freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
Unfortunately, those who are preparing the groundwork, provoking and guiding the freedoms of expression and press to come under a heavy threat, are again media organs associated with the government. Obviously they do not have an issue such as freedom of the press or freedom of expression.
The apparent reason why an investigation against daily Hürriyet on charges of “making propaganda of a terror organization” was launched was fabricated news printed on Sept. 10 on the the Sancak Group’s boulevard newspaper Güneş. As a matter of fact, the anti-Hürriyet campaign was not limited to that news only. The campaign by the pro-government media has been ongoing for a while.
One of the accusing stories appeared in daily Sabah, with the title “They united under the Cizre lie,” on Sept. 12. I felt the need to examine this story because there were criticisms from some readers about Cizre stories.
In Sabah’s story, it said, “Parallel media and its supporters ignored the statements of the Interior Ministry and followed the lies of the HDP [Peoples’ Democratic Party] and PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and put Cizre manipulations as their headlines…” It also said, “Newspapers that shared the organization’s lies almost made PKK propaganda on their pages…” This story, which did not have a dateline or byline, appeared with newspaper clippings of Hürriyet with the headline “Cizre locked off…” together with daily Cumhuriyet and daily Meydan clippings.
In order to check whether this accusation was correct or not, I looked at Hürriyet’s Sept. 11 edition. Interior Minister Selami Altınok’s statement was printed on the Gündem (“agenda”) page, with the headline “30 to 32 dead PKK members at Cizre” with the minister’s photo. Thus, it was not ignored. The accusation had no foundation.
Well, what about “sharing the lies of the organization” on that same page where Cizre was covered? The top story on that page, titled “The lock at Cizre,” was about the march of HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and his entourage in their attempt to march to Cizre. In the center of the story, a photo of Demirtaş jumping over a small pond of water was placed.
As a matter of fact, this story was disliked by HDP supporters also. A reader sent an email stating that he found the caption (“He crossed the creek but could not cross into Cizre”) rather frivolous: “It is not responsible journalism to tabloidize the journey of people who were walking for peace in an honorable way.”
I did not see any traces of these accusations in Hürriyet but I did take a look at the Gündem page of Sabah on the same date to understand their approach. Two thirds of the page was covered by the interior minister’s statement. Other small stories were around it. The difference between the two papers was extremely clear: Sabah was content with only the official statement.
Hürriyet, on the other hand, had made a page covering all the dimensions of the developments, including views from all sides. There were four more stories that Sabah did not see on that page of Hürriyet: “Shop of a martyr’s relative torched;” “Yesterday they attacked our business, today the news of our son’s martyrdom came;” “Don’t let brothers shoot each other;” “Message to all parties: let us stop the deaths.” Except for Leyla Zana’s call to stop the deaths, the other three stories had a common aspect: the wrongness of the attacks against Kurds in the west and the emphasis on the continuation of the fraternity of Turks and Kurds.
Actually, the editors who chose to print these stories on the page of Hürriyet should be congratulated instead of being accused for “propaganda of the organization.” Because incidents show the circumstances for cohabitation of Turks and Kurds on the basis of equal citizenship and fraternity are under severe threat. If Turks and Kurds break off from each other in spirit, nobody can even imagine what will happen in this land.
For this reason, I think the first duty of the media during these times should be preventing the spiritual rupture between the Turks and Kurds. While Hürriyet’s Cizre page was being designed, this concern was prioritized and a good job was done. Most probably, they penned these accusations at Sabah without reading this page of Hürriyet…