The last refuge of losers: deporting a journalist

Dr. Ihsan Yilmaz
Dr. Ihsan Yilmaz


Date posted: February 7, 2014

İHSAN YILMAZ

I am sure most of our readers know my Today’s Zaman colleague Mahir Zeynalov better than they know me. He is a very accomplished Twitter user. His Turkish twitter account has 57,000 followers and the English one has 87,000 followers. Last year, he was chosen as one of the 10 most effective twitter users in Turkey. His Today’s Zaman blog posts are well-read and widely shared.

Mahir, who is of Azerbaijani origin, is a very bright journalist. Before coming to Turkey to accept a job offer from Today’s Zaman, he was settled in the US and worked for the Los Angeles Times for a while. What Mahir did by leaving the US and coming to Turkey was actually a sacrifice that he made for a country that he loves in addition to his own Azerbaijan. He was educated in Hizmet schools in Azerbaijan and is now married to a Turkish woman. All of these connect him to Turkey.

Yet, despite all this, the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that is becoming increasingly authoritarian and even totalitarian, decided to deport him because of critical tweets. Erdoğan has already filed a criminal complaint against him. Yet, instead of waiting for the outcome of the judicial proceedings, Erdoğan gave his own verdict and has denied Mahir the ability to live in what has now become his own country.

Among so many other things, this one is telling enough, in the sense that Erdoğan does not respect the judiciary anymore and wants to punish his critics with his own bare hands. As I have written in previous columns here, Erdoğan and his oligarchic clique continue to label independent civil society groups such as the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSIAD) and the Hizmet movement as traitors and puppets of international dark forces. Mahir is a newcomer to this group of traitors. Though as a matter of fact, being originally from another country automatically makes him a member of an international dark force in the eyes of the corrupt politicians who have resorted to all sorts of help to get away with their alleged crimes. In the last week, they have tried to get support from several crazy conspiracy theories, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leaders such as Abdullah Öcalan and Cemil Bayık, and Ergenekon and Balyoz convicts. What a group!

Mahir is actually lucky, since at least he will not be jailed. Now, it is becoming clearer that Erdoğan wants a spying-terrorism-coup lawsuit to be opened against Hizmet volunteers. It has been alleged that last summer he told Turkey’s ambassadors that if the Hizmet movement continued to upset him he would arrange for a prosecutor, two police officers and fake report to present the Hizmet movement as a terrorist organization. Since August 2013, the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) has repeatedly mentioned this allegation without naming Erdoğan, but so far, no one has denied or condemned this allegation. Events, Erdoğan’s speeches and the writings of columnists who are very close to both Erdoğan and Erdoğan’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), such as the Yeni Şafak daily’s Cem Küçük, suggest that a lawsuit is already underway. For instance, Küçük wrote last week that academics such as myself and Savaş Genç are part of a coup plot against the Erdoğan government and that these academics deserve what happened to a colonel, Talat Aydemir, who failed in a coup attempt in early 1960s and was hanged.

Make no mistake, all of these are part of a psychological warfare campaign designed to consolidate Erdoğan’s votes. Make no mistake, this is not against the Hizmet movement, which is only a figurehead that is being used and abused by corrupt scenario writers. All that they seek is to make sure that the public does not talk about the alleged government corruption and that the executive is able to subdue the judiciary. They threaten everyone who questions and criticizes their moves.

Make no mistake either that Mahir’s deportation is a clear signal to other foreign journalists. Nevertheless, what Erdoğan did not anticipate is the fact that Mahir has already become a hero journalist. You may call it wishful thinking, but those of us who survive will see in the very near future that Mahir will be awarded several international journalism prizes.

Let me finish with what I said in my last piece: I am afraid and very concerned that their ethical and moral standards will allow them to rig the local elections, since this is, as confessed by Erdoğan last week in Berlin, an existential referendum for the AK Party.

Source: Todays Zaman , February 7, 2014


Related News

Bal asks whether Erdoğan is trying to suppress religious communities

Former Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy İdris Bal submitted a parliamentary question to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday, asking whether Erdoğan regards himself the Caliph of the Muslim world and whether the prime minister is trying to suppress religious communities in Turkey.

Medialog calls for law against hate speech and crime [in Turkey]

In a two-day conference on hate speech and hate crime organized by Medialog (a platform under Journalist and Writers Foundation) in İstanbul, leading journalists and academics urged the government to draft a law against defamation, blasphemy and discrimination while protecting the freedom of expression.

The Muslim Martin Luther? Fethullah Gulen Attempts an Islamic Reformation

Erdogan is clearly intent on marginalizing the Gulenist movement, even at the expense of the rule of law in Turkey. Turkey would clearly be harmed if Gulenist teachings on tolerance and individual rights were successfully quieted. But the loss for Islamic culture would be an even greater tragedy.

Report: Erdoğan’s anti-Turkish school rhetoric damages Turkish-African ties

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s unrelenting denunciation of schools affiliated with the Gülen community and calls for the closure of the schools over the past two years have been harshly criticized in the central African country of Cameroon.

Turkish PM tightens grip on judiciary in parliament vote

CHP had said on Thursday it would appeal the bill in the Constitutional Court if it was approved in parliament. “If you accept this law, soon you will be repealing the constitution,” CHP MP Akif Hamzacebi said during the debate. “This cover-up of the allegations of corruption and bribery today has dealt a big blow to democracy and freedom.”

Can Erdoğan finish off the Gülen movement?

In other words, this is not a power struggle but a one-sided attack by an increasingly authoritarian leader on a civil society movement critical of the way government rules the nation.
In this asymmetrical fight, the Hizmet movement has nothing to lose. It is composed of individuals who are dedicated to doing something that they believe is for the good of humanity.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Romania hosts 12th International Language and Culture Festival finals

Smear campaign websites cleared while targeted journalists accused

Turkish asylum claims in Greece rise 40-fold in three years

Fethullah Gülen lawsuit [in the US] thrown out in setback for Turkey’s Erdoğan

Kurdish intellectuals denounce attack on Şırnak educational institution

‘Parallel state’ and ‘theft of national will’

Turkish academics exiled to Germany remain in fear

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News