September 2, 2015

Dailies from İpek Media Group say they will not stay silent

The Bugün and Millet dailies of the İpek Media Group, which was raided by Turkish police on Tuesday as a part of a government-backed operation, in their Wednesday headlines proclaimed “We will not stay silent.”

The media group, which is a part of Koza İpek Holding, was raided by police a few days after Twitter whistleblower Fuat Avni said the government was planning to conduct operations against media outlets that are critical of the government and by extension the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in an attempt to silence them before the Nov. 1 snap election.

The Wednesday edition of Millet carried a statement saying that the media group understood the message of the carrying out of the unlawful operation, but said despite this, they will not stay silent. “Knowing that the real purpose of the slanderous operation against the İpek Media Group and Koza İpek Holding was to suppress opposition, we declare our stance: You cannot make us stay silent,” the daily said.

The Bugün daily also stated that it would not stay silent in the face of the operations.

The Cumhuriyet daily, whose Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar was also said by Fuat Avni to be a target of an operation, in an editorial published on Wednesday called for solidarity in the media sector against the operations. The piece, titled “Let's stand united against the oppression,” pointed out that the government is trying to prolong its political life by oppressing the media. The recent election saw the AK Party fail to garner enough votes to form a single party government. The piece also said the government is trying to intimidate people into obeying it, especially those who believe that keeping silent will protect them from being targeted.

Referring to the raid on the İpek Media Group, Cumhuriyet's piece said, “These raids are explicit attacks on democracy, media freedom and the public's right to information.”

Saying that they are struggling for a free society, Cumhuriyet reminded those who conducted and supported the operation that they too will need justice in the future.

In their Wednesday edition, the Sözcü daily, which was also identified by Fuat Avni as another target of the government-backed attacks and which published blank columns to protest claims of a government crackdown on media organizations on Tuesday, has said it will not stay silent and that keeping silent is treason. Addressing the presidential palace, the daily said, “We will see, we will listen and we will write.”

Published on Today's Zaman, 2 September 2015, Wednesday