Should the TV host be happy women and children are dying?

Should the TV host be happy women and children are dying?

During the “Beyaz Show” on Kanal D, a woman claiming to be a teacher called in and said: “Are you aware of what is going on in the east, in the southeast of Turkey?” (Applause from the audience) “Here, unborn children, mothers and people are being killed. There are pathetic people who rejoice at children dying. We are unable to say anything to these people, only ‘Shame on you.’” (The audience applauded again). 

The caller, who said her name was Ayşe Çelik, went on: “I’m sorry; I want to say one more thing. I am a teacher. I want to address those teachers who abandoned their students. How will they be able to return to these places again? How will they look into the faces, into the eyes of these beautiful, innocent, absolutely pure-hearted children? What is being experienced here is conveyed very differently. Do not keep silent. As human beings, approach the issue with more sensitivity. See it, hear it, and give a hand to us now. This is a pity, people should not die. Children should not die, mothers should not die.”

At this point the host of the show, Beyazıt “Beyaz” Öztürk, asked for applause from the audience for Ms. Ayşe and the audience clapped with enthusiasm. 

Following the airing of the show, a massive propaganda machine started to roll. 

On one hand, there were paid trolls on social media; on the other hand, the media, fed by government ads, started attacking. 

The aim was to lynch Beyaz, Kanal D and the woman who uttered these words on live TV.

They created such a furor that in the end Kanal D and Beyaz had to apologize for a mistake and admit guilt for a crime they never committed.

It does not end there. Because the signal flare is in the air, prosecutors are acting also. Investigations, the ones dealing with “making propaganda for a terrorist organization,” have been launched.

During the curfews declared in southeastern Turkey over ditches dug by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party trying to institute self-administration through force of arms, almost 190 civilians have lost their lives. Between Dec. 11, 2015, and Jan. 8, 29 women and 32 children died. 

Because of the ongoing, strong propaganda war and armed clashes, I cannot say we know exactly how these casualties occurred. We do not know how many died in the crossfire, or how many were the targets of militants or security forces. But there is one reality there: Civilians are dying. They are forced to abandon their homes. They cannot bury their dead.

The number of martyrs who fell during that period was also high. There have been funerals held in many different cities around the country. Children have been orphaned, woman widowed. 

We do not know the exact number of terrorists killed either. They also have mothers and fathers. 

All of these people are citizens of this country. Of course we can blame the warlords at Kandil for all these losses. 

They have sacrificed the people living in these neighborhoods; they have killed police and soldiers. They have murdered premeditatedly. 

However, we should not forget that the duty of the state is to protect the lives of its citizens before anything else. The right to live is the most fundamental human right. States cannot regard the deaths of its citizens as “inevitable war casualties.” 

Nobody is saying “do not fight the crime and the criminal.” Nobody is saying the state should step aside and watch quietly. 

But, please, let us feel sorry for our own people dying out there. 

Where is the praising of terror in the words of Ayşe Çelik? Where is the dignifying of violence? What should Beyaz have done? 

Should he have rejoiced that women and children are being killed?