Sorry, but now you are left outside

Sorry, but now you are left outside

Dear Colleague,

Actually, I want to write this piece in all the languages of the world. But then I thought it over and said to myself, “In our profession, the best column is written in the language of the heart.” Now, I’m writing it as such, this is how I am making this call to you:

As independent journalists, let’s give the world a lesson on human rights. Let’s erect a statue of liberty in the history of media. How? Let me explain.

Early in the morning, a colleague working at a local radio station in the state of Berlin called me. “I want to give up my place in favor of Hürriyet. Come, and you cover this court case in my place.” Another phone call came from Bild, the largest circulation daily of Germany. Nicalous spoke with extreme enthusiasm. “Fatih, we want to give up our seats in that court for you [to attend].” Just a moment later, our European news coordinator Celal Özcan’s phone rang. The caller was a radio reporter from Cologne. “We thought it over and decided to give our seats in the court to you.”

Celal’s phone was not silent even for a moment. Journalists from almost all the states of Germany were calling to offer their seats at the court hall to Hürriyet. The same voice, the same emotion,

“We are giving our seat at the court to you.” Such a wave of solidarity approached us; such kind support was poured on us from newspapers, radios and television stations.

Celal was tired of answering phones. Europe’s most influential media organizations were calling:

ZDF, Sueddeutscher, Taz, Die Welt, Focus, Munchner merkur, Tz, agencies, RTL, ARD, Hessen Radio, Westdeutscher Radio, Deutschlandfunk Radio, the list goes on.

In the meantime, we were traveling from Munich to Stuttgart by train. We – our Hamburg representative Kemal Doğan, Distribution and Sales Manager Halil Dölek, Tuncay Yıldırım from Cologne and Ali Mercimek from Munich – were a bit exhausted. We were exhausted but we were happy after a news marathon that lasted 24 hours.

At that point, Sevda Boduroğlu called from Frankfurt. She had a high tone of excitement in her voice, “Fatih, what we did was outstanding journalism.” At one point, I told Celal, “What humanity we pulled out of a case of racist murders. What a common spirit of freedom we have reached.” Yes, all together as journalists, writing and broadcasting in all languages. In such perfect solidarity we have explained that humanity and news do not have a race. Now, with the empowerment of this support, I am crying out loud with my loudest voice and with the largest of letters:

“So what if you do not let us inside that court anymore? Because now, even though some of them have remained inside the hall as jurors of the court, with this first decision they made, they have actually fallen outside of all consciences. In other words, now, even though they may take up positions as judges in the court, they have been left outside of collective human conscience.”

Dear Colleague,

Believe me, our eyes watered with every supportive call you made. Now, we know much better, love and tears do not have a language or a race. Through this journalistic solidarity, we have seen the master jury rising above the human conscience made up of common feelings.

Dear Colleague,

Let me reiterate that this issue is not merely an issue of the Turkish press not allowed inside the court. This is a human rights issue. Here, for this reason, I am making this call to you and I am saying:

“We may or may not be inside that court, but we want from all of our colleagues covering the case a paragraph of their comments and observations. We will place those comments of yours on the special front page of the Hürriyet that day as if [they were] flowers coming from your hearts, and we will rest that front page in our media history as a statue of liberty.”

Fatih Çekirge is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published on March 29. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.