Taraf editor-in-chief, other staff leave posts
Altan was the editor-in-chief of Taraf since it was founded six years ago.Daily Taraf, the source of the many agenda-setting reports in recent Turkish history, was shaken Dec. 14 after resignations by the top editorial staff.
Editor-in-Chief Ahmet Altan, his deputy, Yasemin Çongar, prominent reporter Neşe Düzel and columnist Murat Belge all stepped down from their positions, raising speculation that the daily might soon fold.
However, the daily’s owner, Başar Arslan, said Taraf would continue on its road, news portal T24 reported.
“Altan and his team put a stamp on the history of democracy in Turkey. They made a big contribution to Taraf,” he said.
Arslan said the move was a surprise for him and that “they had some disputed issues at the current juncture.”
Taraf, “Side” in Turkish, has changed Turkey’s agenda many times with reports related to the Turkish military’s “interference in politics” since its foundation on Nov. 15, 2007.
The daily published a series of highly controversial stories that revealed the involvement of the Turkish military in daily political affairs. The revealed documents, such as coup plans that involved the bombing of historical mosques in Turkey, paved the road to the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) case which ended Sept. 21 with the sentencing of 331 of 365 suspects to long prison terms.
Taraf also became the first Turkish partner of the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, joining internationally known publications in signing a contract to publish the site’s leaked documents firsthand.