All the way to the man on the street

All the way to the man on the street

An architect steps up and says that building a mosque at Taksim is not suitable for urban planning. “Rude man, you are participating in politics. If you want, you can register with a party. Are you going to give architectural lessons to people elected by the nation?”

An environmental engineer says that the third bridge would make it very difficult for Istanbul to breathe. “This is a coup attempt against us. If you want to do politics, go and join a party.”

Medical doctor treats the injured at Gezi. “You and those who disregard the nation’s will are joining against us. What kind of a doctor are you? Go and be a politician.”

An ordinary citizen on the street voices a complaint and wants it to be corrected. “Somebody must have sent you. You go and take your mother with you also.”

The German President criticizes restrictions on freedom of expression. “He was a priest before. You better keep that wisdom to yourself.”

A French parliamentarian from the Council of Europe says the election threshold in Turkey is high and that it should be lowered according to democratic norms. “You are French. It is not up to you to decide this; it is up to my nation to decide.”

It happens that Metin Feyzioğlu delivered a long speech. It happens to be that he mentioned the Van earthquake. Or that he has gone into politics. These are all empty words.

Domestically or internationally, Turkish or foreigner, whichever profession, whatever his or her position is, whoever stages the slightest bit of a criticism, then hell breaks loose. This is the real problem. And it is a major problem.

250 journalists in and out of jail

They are all appalled. All of them, including the Italian, British, French, even the Ukrainian, the Azeri and the Moldavian; they are all appalled while listening to Füsun Erdoğan who was only released a few days ago.

She said, “I do not do any other activity but journalism. With false evidence, I served eight years in jail. There are others who have served nine years because of chanting a slogan.”

Mustafa Balbay took the floor: “I am only a journalist. I have been charged with being a member of an organization that has planted a bomb in the newspaper I am work at.”

It was the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Media and Information Society of the Council of Europe. The two-day meeting turned into a platform where issues in the Turkish media were discussed.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Gülsün Bilgehan took the floor:

“Whether or not there is democracy, the benchmark is the media. Is there an intervention on the press? Journalists who write things that the government does not like lose their jobs, sometimes they lose their freedom. Is social media under pressure? All of these are now perceived as if they were all normal and natural.”

It was Turkish Journalists’ Union (TGS) former chair Ercan İpekçi who gave the scary balance sheet: “In Turkey, 250 journalists have been in and out of jail.”

Ruling Justice and development Party (AKP) deputy Reha Denemeç seemed as if he had forgotten we were living in an “advanced democracy:”

“We know our democracy is not perfect. Our shortcomings are being overcome. The fact that such criticism can be voiced shows that the country is becoming democratic.”

The foreigners upgraded their astonishment to another level. Also, this is a country that is a “member of the Council of Europe.”