We are not intelligence officers
The prime minister’s parliamentary group meeting yesterday was fierce. He gave us a good dressing-down, all of those writers, including me, who had said, “If only there was no ban… If there were no bans on Nevruz celebrations, then the celebrations would have been held without conflict, as happened in previous years.”
I don’t know about others, but those who approached this subject from that angle did not deserve such harsh criticism.
The prime minister said this, in a nutshell: Our intelligence officers determined that the Nevruz celebrations were to be transformed into demonstrations against the arrests of members of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). That’s why we put the ban in place.
That’s possible. However, we are not from the intelligence agency. We do not receive this kind of information. Government agencies did not provide any information either. Then the prime minister went on to say, “It is those columnists who are waiting for an invitation from Kandil or İmralı who are criticizing us.”
No one deserved this.
We could discuss the ban. The prime minister may be right. But journalists -- however wrong they may be -- have a right to express their opinions. These opinions may be based on insufficient information, but there is one thing that must known: Journalists are not civil servants, and they do not have to harmonize with government policies.
Let public opinion assess journalists. If a journalist writes something wrong, let the public dole out his punishment. I watched Ayşenur Arslan’s show Medya Mahallesi (Media Neighborhood) with astonishment last Wednesday. The consensus was as though it is a journalist’s responsibility to closely monitor the state’s opinions and write accordingly.
Not even close.
The state should inform journalists, but it should not interfere with their evaluations after that. Just the opposite happens here in our country. You have to side with the state.
I have always rejected state journalism. You are now seeing the state journalists of the Feb. 28 era. Unfortunately, now, the government journalists of the present era have begun to emerge. With all due respect to the prime minister, I have never been a “state” or “government” journalist and I never will be.
Who are we playing with?
Let me introduce them first and foremost: The UEFA is The Union of European Football Associations, and it organizes the UEFA European Football Championship. This organization provides huge income and prestige to football clubs. This body decides who participates in championship competitions, under what conditions. The UEFA is an independent body. No country, prime minister or president can interfere with its affairs. No one can influence it.
Michel Platini is the current UEFA president, and he is responsible for implementing the organization’s rules and resolutions. He has an exceptionally principled character; he does not compromise his principles. He has no prejudice against Turkey; on the contrary, he has a lot of sympathy.
The UEFA and the International Federation Association Football (FIFA) decided to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on three issues: match-fixing and illegal betting, racism and fair play. On these three topics, no one is concerned about a court decision or any concrete evidence. If it is suspected that a club or its administrators are involved in match-fixing or racist behavior, and if that suspicion is held to be sufficient, then the football federation of that team’s country must act immediately and assign its disciplinary council to investigate the incident and impose the necessary penalties.