February 12, 2015

The Guardian features arrested Turkish TV chief Karaca's letter

Arrested journalist Hidayet Karaca's letter detailing the threats that the media in Turkey face published by The Guardian, one of the leading British dailies.

Karaca, the chairman of the Samanyolu Broadcasting Group, has been imprisoned for almost two months following a media crackdown on Dec. 14 due to a fictitious TV series that aired on his TV channel.

In an open letter written from his jail cell, Karaca expressed that press freedom in Turkey is under threat and democracy is suspended.

The letter written from behind bars was published both as audio recording and as text on its website.

In the letter under the title “Letter to a free world,” Karaca stated, “My name is Hidayet Karaca. I’m writing this letter from a jail cell, trying to reach out to the free world.”

Karaca expressed that he was a victim of a witch hunt that has been waged on the free, independent and critical media in Turkey .“I am the victim of a witch hunt because the increasingly authoritarian government does not like criticism as well as the exposure of major wrongdoings within government agencies.”

Karaca said his media group, along with the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement and inspired by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, has been the latest victims of the “witch hunt” by the government. He added that any dissident in Turkey are proclaimed as being a “traitor” and his media group has become a target for not supporting the worsening conditions in Turkey.

“It is clear that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his allies in the government have declared a total war on the independent media against the background of massive corruption investigations that incriminated senior government officials between 17-25 December, 2013,” he added in the letter.

Karaca was detained along with dozens of individuals, including Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı, script writers, producers and directors, on Dec.14 during a government-backed operation against independent media outlets. Although Dumanlı was released pending trial, Karaca was arrested and is being held at Silivri Prison.

Published on BGNNews, 12 February 2015, Thursday