May 18, 2015

Blackmailing opposition politicians only benefits AK Party, GYV head says

Mustafa Yeşil, the president of the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), has said blackmailing people who do not share the government's outlook as a method in politics has only benefited the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

Lashing out at a pro-government commentator, Latif Erdoğan, who recently claimed that prominent Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Meral Akşener can be seen in an inappropriate video and that Yeşil attempted to make him watch it, Yeşil stressed that allegations of such videos existing has only hurt the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the MHP and the Gülen movement, and never the AK Party.

"The AK Party is the only party which has yet to suffer from such allegations, namely, the existence of inappropriate videos involving politicians. Such slander forced eight to 10 politicians from among the MHP and CHP ranks to abandon politics. When these rivals are removed from power via such methods -- blackmail -- it gives rise to a single party [the AK Party] remaining in power. If you follow the footsteps of where claims of such videos come from, you quickly realize the source from which the allegations stem," Yeşil noted.

Complaining about a criminal complaint launched against him after Erdoğan made the claim about Akşener, Yeşil stated that the investigation should have started with the one who made the claim about Akşener and not himself, adding: "I am being asked to prove that such a video does not exist. However, there is a rule in law and it requires the one who makes a claim to prove his or her allegation. I am not the one who claimed that there is an inappropriate video of someone. Why then am I being obliged to prove that there is no such recording?"

Like Akşener, who launched a criminal complaint against Erdoğan, another pro-government journalist, Cemil Barlas, and A Haber editor-in-chief, accusing them of libel, blackmail and insult after she was targeted by a smear campaign in a program that recently aired on A Haber TV, Yeşil also took legal action against the people in question.

Underlining that Turkey had never before faced such a period, one marked by discrimination against anti-government elements, Yeşil went on to state: "The country never suffered from such polarization in its past. Each day a new lie dominates the agenda because there are masses that are ready to believe in these lies. A process of demonization, marginalization and polarization is in place despite our attempts to not lose time by focusing on such matters. The period that we face might be compared to the McCarthy era, in which people were targeted on the basis of their political views."

A Haber commentators Barlas and Erdoğan, in a controversial program recently aired by the pro-government TV station, discussed Akşener's recent appearance on a program broadcast on Samanyolu TV in which she talked about her party's election manifesto ahead of the June general election. Erdoğan claimed that she had been blackmailed with an inappropriate video in order to appear on Samanyolu TV.

Published on Today's Zaman, 18 May 2015, Monday