February 9, 2015

Arrested journalist Hidayet Karaca’s letter published in Le Monde

Arrested journalist Hidayet Karaca's letter detailing the threats that the media in Turkey face was published by Le Monde, one of the leading newspapers in France, on Monday.

Karaca, the chairman of the Samanyolu Broadcasting Group, has been imprisoned for 57 days following a media crackdown on Dec. 14 due to a fictitious TV series that aired on his TV channel.

In his letter to Le Monde, a daily with a circulation of 312,000 and which receives 64 million visitors to its web site monthly, Karaca said the independent media in Turkey is under an unprecedented threat.

In the letter that was published under the title “I am Hidayet Karaca, an arrested journalist in [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan's Turkey,” Karaca said he is not the first journalist to be arrested in Turkey, but given the authoritarian practices of the government, he will not be the last journalist to be arrested either. Karaca stated that the pressure on the media in Turkey goes far beyond what is visible.

Referring to the march of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Paris following the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in January, Karaca said Davutoğlu's participation is both pleasing and ironic since the Turkish government argues that many journalists are imprisoned because of their terrorist involvement.

“The writer of this letter is among those terrorist-journalists ” Karaca pointed out, noting he has been a journalist for 22 years and is an executive of one of the five major media groups in Turkey with 14 TV channels broadcasting in different languages including Turkish, English, Arabic and Kurdish.

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.

Published on Today's Zaman, 09 February 2015, Monday