The collar…

The collar…

My initial reaction to the uproar of Turkey’s Worshipful Master Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was an insouciant “Eehh, perhaps he should be little bit more creative!” But, something was different this time. Erdoğan was not cursing only at some other people. On the one hand he was cursing at opposition Kurdish deputies, calling them “necrophiles,” while implying that Turkish newsmen were “dogs” liberated of their “collars” by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) governance. Why? Because the remaining non-allegiant journalists in the Turkish media have been insisting on writing about the mass murder, the incredible intelligence flop that led to the massacre, or who might be responsible for the lethal intelligence misguidance: the Americans, the Turkish military or the intelligence organization.

Obviously, the murder of 34 Turkish citizens in the Uludere district of Şırnak with bombs from Turkish jets on the night of Dec. 28 cannot and should not be forgotten by the Turkish media as long as the administrative and criminal investigations into the case remain inconclusive and no one accepts responsibility, like hot potatoes, for the sham… or perhaps an excellently executed electronic warfare event aimed at testing the capabilities of some not-so-friendly allies of Turkey. Whatever, the remaining few non-obedient and non-allegiant newspapers, TV stations, news portals and journalists would not end their demand for transparency and a satisfactory answer to “How did the Uludere massacre happen?” and “Who ordered the killings?”

Would it make a difference if the murder order was given by a three or four-star general or by a political authority, be it the premier or the defense minister? Erdoğan is angry at Turkish newspapers. He is angry at The Wall Street Journal and other foreign media that reports on the issue. He sees an American domestic plot; a Jewish plot… Why? He is looking for an alibi to cover up and make people forget the question “Who ordered the murder?” It was not the first time he attacked the media, asking media bosses to sack journalists who refuse to come in line. Talking with some tough words was nothing new for the prime minister. As has been witnessed many times, he could curse at mothers and sisters and still could defend his position without a bit of blush in his cheeks. I called my lawyer. Never, ever in my life have I opened a libel case against anyone. This time, however, I was very much hurt over the words of the prime minister (who has been fond of opening libel cases against newsmen, cartoonists and virtually all critics). How could a man with some brains talk of “liberating journalists of their collars” and thus expect their loyalty?

My lawyer, an experienced man of law, burst into laughter hearing my complaint on the phone. “You are joking, are you not?” he quipped. Of course I was joking. I would respect the prime minister’s right to criticize me and other writers, though I was very much annoyed with his rather disgustful “collar” remark. What could I do other than recognize the bitter reality of my country anyhow? Some are just more equal than others, even as regards exercise of fundamental rights.

“You are right,” I said “I just wondered what might happen to me if I ever dare to write ‘I am grateful that the AKP has liberated me of the collar... Unfortunately, the premier still has a collar on his neck’?”
“You’d better not,” the lawyer said, laughing. Of course, I gave up the idea to pen down my strong fears that the Turkish government might have a collar pulled around by its contractor.