I think the situation I found myself in after the last week’s sensational news about July the 15th worth commenting.
Once again I realized that journalism is really difficult in Turkey.
Because in Turkey, independent media has never been appreciated.
Because press freedom has never been a priority for the public.
There are ‘tribes’ in Turkey who are in an infinite battle and there is no place for rights and law in this war.
It is sad but these tribes have never bothered themselves about the ‘truth’ or ‘hearing the truth’.
Simply because they’ve already found the ‘eternal truth’. They’ve already reached ‘the best, the truest, the most righteous, and the most inerrable one’. The only problem is that the others have not yet accepted the ‘truth’ they found. That is why it is necessary for them to engage in a struggle to “convince” others by using all means.
No matter from which angle you look, it was a ‘newsworthy’ document and it had to be published. That’s really the problem. I’m not sure if I’m the first journalist to see this document.
I don’t know how many reporters, who are from pro-government media and who are afraid of the wrath of the government in Turkey, have seen this document.
More importantly, even if they did, would they publish it?
There would be those who would keep the lid on by saying “This document could be useful to so-and-so”.
There would be those who could not dare to publish it by thinking “If I write this, I will get in trouble”.
There would be those to impose self-censorship by saying “It would not be published even if I write”.
Because I’ve experienced the same.
It was not just a problem of Zaman Daily I used to work for. It was a fact of Turkey. A serious problem prevalent in all newspapers…
If we go back to that document…
The pro-government media naturally remained silent. Ignored it. Those who step into the matter accused me of ‘trying to acquit the coup plotters’, ‘lying or trying to create a perception’.
There is nothing surprising.
A few journalists, who I suspect acted with a particular motivation, such as Nedim Şener and Zihni Çakır, were in a hurry to refute the document. But in the meantime, they have also confirmed the authenticity of the document. However, Nedim Şener showed again how far he is away from performing his profession by not asking the
prosecutor the questions a journalist should have asked.
There were different reactions on the ‘Gulen Movement’ side. A broad audience approached the news positively and applauded.
Some of them supported it objectively because it had a value as a piece of news.
Some of them gave enthusiastic reactions and said, “Well, it turns out we’re innocent”. However, this document alone did not yield such a result.
It was just raising question marks, that is it! After all, someone bombed some places on that night. Someone opened fire on civilians. Who were those people, who organized them? The picture is still blurred, that’s why it needs to be clarified. There are some people among coup plotters who define themselves as ‘members of the
Movement’. Or those to be understood as members… There are also some people killed by snipers or by some shadowy civilians… This indicates the presence of a certain conspiracy. In fact, everyone can see that there are two pictures, except for the fanatics or the naive of the both sides.
On the other hand, just because of such ‘enthusiastic’ reactions from the Gulen movement, some of those who criticized the Group from within, were rather cautious saying “Let’s hope this would not play into the hands of the status quo within the movement who keep denying any involvement and will not be a document that vindicates their stance.”
However, the “supporters of the status quo” was also complaining about my article.
On the one hand, they attach importance to the document and support the news but on the other they were furious about the lines that pointed at the Movement in my first article on this issue.
Those lines were as follows:
“Most of the events that took place that night were known beforehand by the state.
So it was a controlled coup.
But how was the state informed about the possible developments? There are two possibilities:
1 – It was planned by the Palace, MIT (National Intelligence Service), Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar, and Ergenekon extensions. They made these plans and implemented them with the help of their supporters within the movement. Some of them thought they were really carrying out a coup, but actually, they were just pawns.
They had been entrapped into an incredible setup.
2 – The planners were members of the Movement, like Adil Öksüz, but there were some informants leaking information to ‘Up’, namely the Palace. The ‘Up’ was being informed about the plans around the clock and even directing the plan. Taking all necessary measures, they let the coup plan unfold and turned a blind eye to all incidents.”
There were some who wanted me to clarify my words by expressing that I have gone beyond my purpose.
For them, the Movement has nothing to do with the coup. Maybe a few people could have joined, but they were either trapped, or they were traitors who had already been infiltrated to the Movement. Therefore, it was wrong to say, ‘the Movement participated in this coup’. One should have repented immediately.
Another group from the Movement chose to remain silent because it was me who wrote the document. Because this group, who had been angry with me since my news about “24th of June prison conspiracy” and even directed charges to me at various doses, stood at a distance not to contradict themselves. They were probably thinking that I was not a guy to be trusted and nobody could predict what I would write next so thinking went like: “If we support him now, we will give him some credit, which he could use against us soon. Then we will have only one option: to shut up!
And also there were people like Ergun Babahan.
While I was trying to convince the pro-government circles, I also had to work hard to convert the critics of AKP.
This fraction, whose reactions to the Movement are not less than the ones to the AKP, has apparently put their feelings before their profession and tried to ignore the authenticity of the document.
Well, this is the reality of Turkey…
They try to keep a distance to almost anything that has the potential to be useful for the Gulen Movement. Ergun Babahan was saying, “This document is a mere photocopy. It seems the date on the document was corrected by correction fluid. There is no source for the document etc.” and argued “The Movement
will not have any credibility with documents and information without confronting and accounting for July the 15th. This is the truth.”
Even the prosecutor Serdar Coşkun accepted the authenticity of the document, Babahan still used belittling expressions such as ‘correction fluid’, ‘photocopy’, ‘piece of paper’. Besides, it was not a document discovered by the Movement, as such. It was a document revealed by a journalist who was trying to do journalism on his own. Moreover, almost all of the media platforms close to the Movement had ignored this news in the first three days after it was published. But Babahan was still trying to discredit this news with old clichés. But when the German journalist Frank Nordhausen asked his opinion on the document, he spoke differently and said: “The minute confirms what many people think: It was a coup that the government knew beforehand. However, it is unfortunate that it is published by the Gulenists.”
That’s why it’s hard to carry on your job as a journalist in Turkey. It seems impossible to break these chains in the minds. According to Babahan, it’s not the document itself which counts but who wrote it.
He did not stop there and ironically tweeted that: “It’s also nice to be free from all the sins and responsibilities with a controversial UYAP document. I wish I could do the same”. Maybe he could have been right in some respects.
Previously he admitted that he could not be cleared of all his shames and sins for 28th of February military memorandum, thanks to just two interviews. He was the one who signed the most embarrassing media sins of 28th of February, especially in the memorandum scandal, as the Editor-In-Chief of Sabah daily of the time. He didn’t hesitate to admit
it openly. He did his self-criticism. He went to the Parliamentary Coup Research Commission and said, “I had responsibility for the Memorandum news”. Now he should be believing that he’s free from all of his responsibilities.
But he missed a point: I never claimed or event hinted that ‘someone’ has now been cleared of his responsibilities with the document I published. Quite the contrary, I made many critical evaluations about the participation of the movement in the coup both in the disputed article and in my many previous articles.
Ergun Babahan is a dissident journalist. He is our professional elder who had to leave Turkey and has to continue his profession abroad. He was the editor-in-chief of a newspaper like Sabah. He was a columnist worked in Today’s Zaman, known as an affiliated newspaper to the Movement. But even he can’t see and accept the document as a newsworthy piece of paper. He just cannot do it.
Because it never happened in Turkey.
None of us have been like this. We’re all “sick”.
There was always ‘something’. There was always ‘something bigger’ behind the scene. Because it was a ‘war’…
Is it over?
It’s not over.
Someone from AKP side says: “Ahmet Dönmez was first polished with the news of the June 24 th prison revolt. He was established as an independent, reliable journalist. Now he started to execute his original mission by publishing fake documents.”
Some people from the Movement say the exact opposite. According to them, I was made a hero in the eyes of the members of the Movement, especially by being allowed to ask questions to Erdogan. Now I broke the shell of my egg by saying “It’s time” and I started to fulfill my ‘real task’.
As you can see, there is no end for this.
Do not get me wrong; this is not only about me.
Probably, I won’t be the last one. I can’t even add myself into that category.
It’s hard to do journalism in this country. The true journalism…
It was always the case.
This is the country of everlasting vengeances.
A piece of land where feelings, beliefs, belongings, ideologies usually stay ahead of the truth…
A community of rudimentary neighborhoods who cannot imagine living equally and fairly under the umbrella of a constitution because of constant fighting.
The reason is that we could not establish a democratic, fair, equitable, law-based state in real terms at the beginning. We have brought the Republic to this day by accumulating the vengeances. I wish, ironically, every group that has an eye on the state come to power once and take whatever they desire, so we can get rid of these vengeances.
Maybe then we can gather around a table and sign a decent community agreement.
Then, maybe, journalists can do real journalism at least.