December 20, 2014

Outcry over arrest of TV network Samanyolu's manager

Opposition politicians harshly criticized the court decision to arrest Samanyolu TV General Manager Hidayet Karaca along with four of other producers and police officials, describing the decision as an assault on free media.

Samanyolu TV General Manager Hidayet Karaca and former police chiefs Tufan Ergüder, Ertan Erçıktı and Mustafa Kılıçaslan were arrested on charges of forming and leading an armed terrorist organization.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Ankara deputy Özcan Yeniçeri lashed out the court decision to arrest Karaca.

“Arresting a TV manager on suspicion of heading a terrorist group based on a TV series that was broadcast years ago on a television channel is not explainable. If you arrest a TV network's manager, which is targeted openly and directly by the ruling government, there will be no place to search any other reason for arrest ruling” said Yeniçeri.

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) parliamentary group deputy chairman Levent Gök also harshly reacted against Karaca's arrest, and said, “The ruling for an arrest on the basis of a TV series is a scandal. It is the first example in the world. It seems that with the latest [reasonable doubt] bill, the government wants to seize media who are opposed to them. The arraignment is clearly illegal.”

“A person cannot be arrested based upon a TV series. That's an anti-democratic practice,” said the deputy leader of the MHP's parliamentary group, Yusuf Halaçoğlu.

“Ruling damages Turkey’s image”

Expressing that the arrest damaged Turkey’s image, Democratic Progress Party (DGP) leader İdris Bal said “In democratic countries people don’t get arrested because of soap operas. Today will be remembered as a black day of the pressure on the media. They arrested Karaca to continue their smear campaign. The whole world is talking about the arrest of a media manager over a TV series in Turkey. They [government] has just damaged Turkey’s image.”

Stating that the ruling is a shame for Turkey, True Path Party (DYP) Chairman Çetin Özaçıkgöz said “Even if they arrest the 77 million citizens of Turkey; they will not succeed in getting the people to forget the theft, the corruption, the bribery. The December 17-25 operations cannot be forgotten. This ruling is a joke.”

The Democratic Left Party's (DSP) leader Masum Türker described the arrest as a comedy; he said, “The arrest ruling is intimidation. They [government] just want to reach Fethullah Gülen via Ekrem Dumanlı and Hidayet Karaca.”

Expressing that the case lacked any seriousness, the People's Democracy Party (HDP) Diyarbakır deputy Altan Tan said “whoever gets the power in Turkey, leads others into a terrible life. The recent situation is not looking good. Police as well as the ruling party must be following the constitution and move in a legislative framework.”

“Government wants to manufacture a so-called illegal organization”

Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Akif Hamzaçebi stated that there's an understanding in Turkey that journalism is a potential threat to the government. “That is why the media has always been under pressure. Today, the government wants to manufacture a so-called illegal organization out of newspapers, filmmakers, TV series and columnists. But this will not succeed,” Hamzaçelebi said.

“Today is the 36th anniversary of the Kahramanmaraş massacre. But the government is so busy producing fake projects that they cannot even care about the massacre,” Hamzaçelebi added.

Stating that recent Turkey’s situation was a tragedy, MHP Manisa deputy Erkan Akçay said “the December 14 operation against media outlets is a coup against the law. The arrest of Hidayet Karaca is clearly arbitrary. Recently Turkey rules by the arbitrary whim of a single person. The arrest of Karaca is an attempt to cover up last year’s corruption operation. It is clearly a smear campaign against journalists, police officers and members of judiciary, those who revealed the corruption.”

Personal revenge

CHP Konya deputy Atilla Kart stated that arrest of Hidayet Karaca is nothing more than a sign of personal hatred.

“It’s very clear that the detention was ordered by the president. STV network executive Hidayet Karaca was described as a target. There is no legal grounds for the arrest. The setup for a TV show cannot be a legal reason for arrest. It’s more like a sign of personal problems,” he said. Kart added that Turkey’s justice system lives under threat of the ruling party.

CHP Mersin deputy Aytuğ Atıcı stressed that the operation proved that the ruling party can’t digest other views which do not support it. “Those who act with honesty against this entire event will be victorious eventually. We experienced such an ironic situation even during the September coups” he said.

On the other hand the chairman of the Center Party Abdurrahim Karslı claimed that the detentions were well prepared and organized actions. “They wanted to arrest Zaman chief editor Dumanlı as well but they were afraid of harsh reactions,” he said. Karslı added that there could be no legal justification for operation against the media members.

A coup on justice

National Movement Party (MHP) Kütahya deputy Alim Işık noted that the detention of media members exposed how the government acts unjustly and subjectively. “However, the manipulation of justice to show the operation is legal violates principles of law, and victimizes many citizens,” he said.

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Aykut Erdoğdu called the arrest of media members over shooting a TV show “ironic and ridiculous.”

“It indicated that how justice is manipulated, it’s a ridiculous and sad situation. It shows the anger and hunger for revenge from certain people. These arrests are not lawful, but rather like a mafia decision”

Erdoğdu warned that arrests of media members might be a telling sign of fascism.

“It harms Turkey’s prestige”

Independent İzmir deputy Erdal Kalkan slammed the decision, saying Turkey was caught in the plot of a black comedy.

“All these treatments against the media outlets are conducted to change the public perception. If we analyze it in terms of the coup attempts in past, we experience the same practice today.

The main opposition CHP Kocali deputy Hurşit Güneş stressed that there was pressure on justice. “How can people who make TV shows turn out to be terrorists? They don’t have bombs nor arms,” he said. He added that such a groundless claim would destabilize Turkey's justice.

The Anadolu (Anatolia) Party chairman Emine Ülker Tarhan, formerly known as a dissident CHP figure, stressed that questioning without arresting people is essential in code of criminal procedure. It’s extremely unusual to interrogate someone who is imprisoned. As long as the case is not related with citizen’s safety, the questioning process should be conducted freely, without imprisoning people.

Published on BGNNews, 20 December 2014, Saturday