Who to blame for animosity against Iran: Gülenists or the government?

Who to blame for animosity against Iran: Gülenists or the government?

TAYFUN ATAY tayfun.atay@radikal.com.tr
It was more than one and a half years ago. On state television station TRT, a serial called “Once Upon a Time, the Ottoman” was aired, but it was canceled shortly after. It was then revised and renamed “Deep State in the Ottoman Empire” and shown on Samanyolu TV. The episodes were full of anti-Shiite dialogue. At the time I wrote about these conversations, the sectarian animosity, referring to social racism and the language of war. This piece also activated Iran’s Ankara Embassy.

However, I was almost the victim of a smear campaign on Twitter. One of the chairs of Samanyolu TV, Hidayet Karaca, joined the campaign with a tweet posted on their website. I had to write a second piece to support my point and counter the wrathful words targeting me. I wrote, “Nobody is trying to restrict anybody’s freedom of thought, fiction or imagination. Anyone can say, write or do whatever they want, as long as their beliefs and conscience permit them.”

Now, Karaca, as you know, was detained with the Dec. 14 operation. He is accused of charges concerning certain TV serials aired on his channel.

I repeat that nobody has the right to restrict anyone’s freedom of thought, fiction and imagination. We can criticize, discuss and reject all things, but it is grave, tragic and horrible to accuse these people and begin an investigation concerning a “coup attempt.” What is happening only reaffirms that the political project that has been presented to us as “New Turkey” is nothing more than a “Republic of Fear.”

One other person was interrogated in this operation. The writer and former supporter of the Gülen movement, Hüseyin Gülerce, spoke to reporters after giving his statement at the prosecutor’s office. He said he was asked questions about the serials on Samanyolu TV and also about “hostility toward Iran.”

Gülerce referred to a “fixation on Iran” within the community. “Is Turkey Iran’s toy? Does Iran rule Turkey? This is too much. Saying that Iran is playing these tricks on Turkey is also belittling Turkey, and likewise the people who are governing Turkey,” he said. 

Why, I wonder, did Gülerce, who was once a member of the “family,” not discuss this topic and open a debate at that time? Where was Gülerce when I was a victim of a smear campaign when I highlighted the hostility toward Iran only one-and-a-half years ago?

This also is not an ethical issue only limited to Gülerce. These motifs in the Samanyolu TV serials did not come from the moon. This blatant hostility toward Iran was at the same frequency as the government's policies of the time. These were the years when the “Neo-Ottoman” line in Turkish foreign policy was starting. 

As you know, Iran took Bashar al-Assad’s side in the Syrian conflict. This has strained Turkey-Iran relations.

One of the bases of this fictional fixation on Iran in STV serials is this Neo-Ottomanist government policy, which unavoidably contains hostility toward Iran. Not only the content, but even the name of the show openly points to such an "Ottoman passion."  

For this reason, the bill of Iran’s animosity should not be sent to the Gülen movement over Samanyolu TV serials. If there is a crime, (though I do not consider it a crime; it's only a dubious political orientation), the searchers for the criminals will also expose themselves in the process.

I don’t know if the series’ anti-Iran stance was asked to Karaca or Gülerce by police, but it seems very probable. In this case, if they answered, “Whatever I did at that time, I did it while serving the great causes of my state and my government,” then nobody should be surprised.

In fact, Dec. 14, in a way, is an attempt to take revenge for the Dec. 17 and 25 corruption cases. But at the same time, extremely surprisingly, Dec. 14 is like the government shooting itself in the foot, and this accident will hasten its fall.