December 22, 2014

Threat to media

Nazlı Ilıcak

To save himself, after police operations into corruption that were revealed on Dec. 17 and 25 of last year President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan decided to target the Gülen movement. In other words, he relied on the same methods and tactics seen in the days of Ergenekon and Balyoz.

By suppressing the media, Erdoğan tried to prevent the spread of reports that his government was corrupt. Some media outlets were intimidated by these threats; some papers and television channels did not publish or broadcast the views of police officers and lawyers who were involved. On the other hand, the pro-government journalists are talking all the time and their views are published; they are holding the Gülen movement responsible for what has gone wrong. Samanyolu Broadcasting Group and the Zaman daily are rare exceptions in not submitting to this suppression, and this makes Erdoğan particularly uncomfortable. For this reason, he uses various methods to silence them. The government even took measures against Bank Asya. Erdoğan curses and insults [the movement] on a daily basis. But these media outlets do not stop speaking up and instead, focus on realities. I believe the reason for the Dec. 14 operation is as follows: to intimidate and silence and to cover up the Dec. 17 and 25 corruption allegations and charges.

The president is determined to do anything to cover up the corruption. The EU is struggling with Erdoğan's illegal methods; the president tells them that he does not care about what they have to say. But of course, he does not have the authority to support these statements. Turkey has a strong and established EU policy, which was in place before the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came to power. Obviously, Erdoğan is uncomfortable with the EU's stance on freedoms and the need to implement the law. Sadly, Turkey is in a difficult position.

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 21 December 2014, Sunday