Date posted: February 13, 2015
A LETTER TO THE FREE WORLD
I am Hidayet Karaca…I write the following words from a jail cell, addressing the free world.
Our viewers across the globe, particularly the ones in Turkey, know well that Samanyolu Media Group, which I manage, is fully committed to the rule of law, principles of democracy and the necessity of free media.
Our media group has been under a fierce financial assault driving us toward bankruptcy. One on hand, our advertisers have been consistently threatened. On the other hand, the current government has been repressive, abusing its review board like the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.
As Turkey sinks into the muddy waters of totalitarianism against the universal and EU criteria, the newly designed judiciary structures, have become weapons in the hands of the government to control free expression. Children are detained; and citizens’ homes are raided because of their tweets.
This systemic politics of repression reached a new low on December 14th, 2014 with Turkish authorities carrying out raids against media outlets. Citing a drama series that aired on one of our channels five years ago, several media personnel ranging from upper-level management to screenwriters and producers, have been detained for days without an interrogation, not being asked a single question. I was among the detained. The accusation leveled against us: Establishing, managing and being members of a terrorist organization.
Based upon the content an episode of a drama series, we have been accused of establishing an armed terrorist organization. What’s more; the alleged victim is an organization that has openly declared its love and respect for Osama Bin Ladin. This has been a jaw-dropping and surreal experience.
You could easily sense that we were already sentenced before the trial. We did not have to present a defense at all! This was clearly an adjudication without a trial! But most people already knew that this was an agenda-driven operation designed to distract the public attention from observing the anniversary of the exposure of one of the largest corruption allegations against the Turkish government.
No one expected justice to be served in a pseudo court of law. And that’s exactly what happened. I cried out loud the breach of justice taken place in the court, and asked the judge: “You accuse me of establishing an armed terrorist organization. Where is this organization? Where are the weapons?” The judge gave no response.
I then declared that the authorities who have made this decision without presenting a single piece of evidence, will one day sit in my chair and be tried in a free, unbiased and an unobstructed court.
Immediately afterwards, I was taken to jail.
I’ve been in prison for about a month now. In Turkey, today, without a doubt, a new era of McCarthyism has risen up from its damned grave.
But, what has given me hope and happiness throughout this ordeal is that our viewers, the free press, and NGO’s have stood by us, showing their support.
I am Hidayet Karaca… I address the free world from my prison cell… Freedom of the press is under serious threat in Turkey. Democracy is suspended; an atmosphere of fear, that becomes gloomier with every passing day, is wide spread. “The few media outlets” that have managed to stay safe from the government’s control are condemned to a deafening silence, waiting for their turn to come.
In spite of it all, I have not lost my trust in freedom and democracy. Rather, I feel we are paying a price; a price for believing in freedom and democracy and upholding the universal values of peace and mutual understanding.
It is not a crime to think, or to write or to dream.
If our crime is to imagine a free Turkey and a peaceful world, then your conscience will remind you of the eternal truth: Dreams cannot be imprisoned.
from Silivri Prison, Cell Number 6 – A5
Democracy can not be abandoned. Free Media Can Not Be Silenced
A Letter To The Free World | Hidayet Karaca