Orhan Kemal Cengiz
Last Wednesday, my Twitter followers attracted my attention to a “news piece.” The “news” was in Aksam daily, one of the semi-official newspapers of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). When I looked at it, I immediately saw my name and other words, such as “Zirve murder,” “parallel structure” and so on in its headline at the top of the paper.
Since the publication occurred in these days in which Turkey has been shaken with Kobani protests across the country, I thought there might be something serious, even in this propaganda paper. They had put aside all the news about social unrest, conflict, killing of a couple of dozens of people and instead they made a headline from a court case. So, this must be something serious, I thought.
But instead, I saw very cheap, childish lies. A guy, who is accused of provoking and aiding five youngsters who killed three Christians in Malatya in 2007, was blaming me, who represented the victims as a lawyer in the murder case, of making false allegations about the accused, of being a bridge between Turkish Christians and the Fethullah Gülen movement.
I have difficulty in explaining all this nonsense. And if you are not aware of the government-sponsored hysteria of accusing the Gülen movement of everything in Turkey, from the Gezi protests to Kobani conflict, you would probably have serious difficulty in understanding what I am trying to explain to you. Regarding the Kobani protests in Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a few days ago that “some international media groups are also behind these events. And also that Pennsylvania would never miss any opportunity for treason in Turkey.” Pennsylvania is a reference to where Gülen resides in the US.
The accused in the Malatya murder trial who talked to Aksam daily accused me of something like this: In 2007, after three Christians were killed, a Christian said to him that if he brought accusations against soldiers, I, as Orhan Kemal, would save him. And I was doing this because I was a part of “parallel structure” as I was writing a column in Today’s Zaman. It is such a pathetic lie; I just started writing columns in TZ in 2009, and in 2007 I was writing for Hurriyet Daily News, which back then was called the Turkish Daily News. Not only this, he said Orhan is a Christian, that he is acting on behalf of Americans and so on. I would proudly declare if I was a Christian, but I am not. And I would not write anything about this guy’s pathetic lies if they had not hit the headlines of one of the national newspapers.
What is additionally painful for me is this: After being involved in the Malatya murder case, I received threats and conspiracy letters, using the exact same language that this guy uses in Aksam, which were sent to the court where the case of the Zirve murders was being tried. Back then, Amnesty International took very seriously all these threats against me and they launched urgent action globally. Not only them but also all main human rights NGOs made a declaration to pressure the government to provide me with a bodyguard. This bodyguard was provided and for a long time I lived under 24 hours police protection. After a while, when the court case intensified, it is understood that some members of the gendarmerie were behind these conspiracy letters, threats and the murder itself. They were arrested and put on trial not only for conspiring these murders but also threatening me, illegally tapping my telephones, creating false accusations against me and so on.
After so many years, we are back where we started. The government, which wants to prove that the graft probe targeting some ministers was false and based on fabricated evidence, is trying to discredit all cases in which military and coup attempts are being tried. They want to tell Turkish society that the graft probe was a fabrication as were the trials in which military personnel were tried. And unfortunately this black propaganda has reached even the Malatya murder trials. That’s a huge pity for Turkey, for democracy and for all hope of having a bright future in this country.
Published on Sunday's Zaman, 12 October 2014, Sunday