Journalist Gültaşlı: European institutions are ‘cherry-picking’ imprisoned journalists in Turkey


Date posted: March 7, 2018

“It is getting increasingly clear that European institutions are ‘cherry-picking’ the imprisoned journalists in Turkey for whom they want to protest,” wrote journalist Selçuk Gültaşlı, who was Brussels bureau chief for the Turkish Zaman newspaper, on the Brussels-based online news website euobserver.com on Tuesday.

“There are several groups of jailed journalists – and European reaction differs depending on which category you fall in,” Gültaşlı said in his article and continued: “If you are European or Turkish-origin European journalist, the reaction is of epic proportions, followed by open (or secret) meetings with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to ensure their release. Foreign ministers and even former prime ministers are involved in these dirty deals. This form of ‘hostage-taking’ has generally paid off.”

Stating that “The reaction for leftist, liberal or secular journalists is at a lower pitch, but still noteworthy. There are no European ministers’ visits to Turkey to get them freed but, nevertheless, European institutions make a lot noise,” Gültaşlı wrote that “The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the last resort for justice in Turkey, take their cases as a matter of priority.”

Pointing to Deniz Yücel and French journalist Loup Bureau as good examples of the first category, Gültaşlı stated that “Yücel should have never been imprisoned in the first place and it is very good that he is free at last. However, German media reported that it took two secret meetings between German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel and Erdogan to set him free. We do not yet exactly know what the final ‘price tag’ was for his freedom.”

Classifying the Altan brothers and Şahin Alpay in the second category, Gültaşlı reminded that “The Turkish Constitutional Court recently ruled that Mehmet Altan and Alpay should be released. However, in an unprecedented disrespect for the highest judicial authority and blatant breach of the constitution, local courts refused to implement the ruling. Altan and Alpay are respected, left-leaning liberals. Their cases were taken by the ECtHR as a matter of priority.”

“There is a third group nobody cares about and they are my colleagues from Zaman, the so-called ‘Gulenist’ journalists,” said Gültaşlı. The Zaman daily was seized by the Erdoğan government on March 4, 2016 and later closed by government decree in July of the same year.

“The other group in this class is the Kurdish reporters,” Gültaşlı said, and added: “Erdoğan squarely blames the Gülen movement as the sole perpetrator for the failed coup attempt of 2016 without convincing proof (most in Brussels believe that Gülenists were involved, but it was not Gülen who ordered the coup). Despite the lack of compelling evidence, the European institutions are careful not to anger Erdoğan, meticulously omitting references to the movement in their reports and statements.”

“At the beginning of February, the ECtHR refused the application of Mustafa Ünal, Zaman’s former Ankara bureau chief,” Gültaşlı reminded and added that “Ünal has been in jail for the past 19 months and the evidence presented in the indictment comprises nothing but his articles. Ünal is being tried in the same case with Alpay, and exactly with the same indictment, full of the same charges. Yet the court decided to take up Alpay’s application while rejecting Ünal’s.”

Gültaşlı wrote that “Vincent Berger, Ünal’s French lawyer in Paris, told me recently he was shocked and the court decision was ‘a real shame and a clear discrimination.’ Most disturbing of all, Berger said, the decision was a dangerous message to Ankara – implying that the government could do whatever it wants with this group of journalists.”

“The ECtHR has still not responded my question about why the court took two different decisions in the same case,” said Gültaşlı, underlining the fact that the ECtHR also rejected an application from Zaman, which was seeking compensation for damages suffered.

“The European Parliament, the most outspoken critic among the EU institutions, adopted a resolution in early February condemning Erdoğan’s despotic drift. While being quite vocal on media freedom, the report mentioned only Cumhuriyet daily whose four reporters are still behind bars,” Gültaşlı wrote, and continued: “According to the Stockholm Centre for Freedom, an NGO created by exiled Turkish journalists, out of 205 imprisoned journalists, 124 of them are either from Zaman or Gülen-affiliated media outlets. Yet, there was not a single reference to this in the European parliament’s report.”

Gültaşlı concluded his article on euobersver.com by saying that “My colleagues are discriminated against badly enough by Turkish authorities. They do not deserve to be further discriminated against by the European institutions.”

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 240 journalists and media workers were in jail as of February 22, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison, 205 were under arrest pending trial, while only 35 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 140 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

 

Source: Turkey Purge , March 7, 2018


Related News

Bosnian Schools Feel Heat From War on ‘Gulenists’

However, Vibor Handzic, head of the smaller Nasa Stranka party in the Sarajevo municipality of Stari Grad, said, “We must not accept the logic by which Erdogan’s regime can be both prosecutor and judge and may persecute people [in Bosnia] with no evidence,” Handzic said. Bosna Sema concedes that Gulen’s ideas inspired its founders but dismisses claims that it is linked to terrorism or to the failed coup.

AKP politician Akdoğan: Gülen’s support for peace talks of vital importance

Emphasizing the importance of Gülen’s remarks, Akdoğan said: “Political and social support to this peace process is of high importance. The government cannot take a step in spite of the public and nation. It is easier for the [government] to get a result when there is strong support from the public.

Escape from Turkey’s parallel reality

As a law-abiding citizen, I knew I had done nothing wrong to be stopped at the border. But in Turkey being a journalist from Zaman media group was enough for me to be considered an “enemy of the state.” And I was the editor-in-chief of Today’s Zaman which had been brutally taken over a few days earlier, earning me a suspended jail sentence for my tweets criticizing then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Zaman Editor-in-Chief Dumanlı faces probe over ‘insult’ to Erdoğan in news report

An investigation has reportedly been launched into Zaman daily Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a news report that appeared on the website of the daily.

Hira magazine changes perception of Turkey in Arab world

The Arab world is impressed and touched by Fethullah Gülen’s recommendation that the name of the magazine would be Hira. In regards to the name, Savaş says: “Hira was born strong and mature; every issue features pieces from the Arab world. Every writer is renowned and is popular in his country.

Gülen’s letter to Gül

Koru told Gülen to express his feelings in a letter. The scholar wrote this letter on Dec. 22. Koru took the letter to its addressee, the president. He met with the prime minister the same day in Ankara and told him about his impressions from his contact with Gülen. I mean to say, there is not “bargaining” or “mediation.” There is only a “goodwill initiative” here.

Latest News

Crimes Against Humanity in Erdogan’s Turkey

Exiled journalist warns of a genocide in the making in newly released book

Vague terrorism charge used to target supporters of the Gülen movement: UN special rapporteurs

ECtHR urges Albania not to deport Gülen follower to Turkey

Woman detained over links to Gülen movement after giving birth

Formerly Gülen-linked schools in Albania face growing gov’t pressure

Exclusive: Turkey, Kosovo violated fundamental rights of expelled teachers, UN body says

Sacked policeman’s grim death sparks debate on COVID-19 data in Turkish prisons

Dissidents of the Turkish government are living in fear in Canada

In Case You Missed It

The Future of Islamic Civilization in A Globalizing World

Sultan of Zing: Erdogan’s power trip makes African pit stop

Turkish scholar Fethullah Gulen awarded in South Korea

Kyrgyz President Atambayev: Turkish schools will not be closed

NY Times: 3 Turkish Ministers Resign Amid Corruption Scandal

Gülen speaks to Kurdish paper, renews his support for education in mother tongue

‘Pak Turk Businessmen Association actively working to enhance trade with Turkey’

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News