The truth hidden behind the whip of 'betrayal'
When the betrayal whip has been used to make it impossible to defend the truth, each and every detained journalist’s defiance is a badge of pride.
The struggle to say, defend and write the truth on this land is as long as the existence of the republic. In fact, it is far longer than that.
The court case against those academics that took a firm stance in favour of peace to end the decades of spilled blood in this country, commenced yesterday in İstanbul. President Erdoğan’s speech targeted the academics by stating that these so called academics claim that the state has committed crimes. “You so called academics, you are all in the dark. You are not intellectuals. You are too ignorant and in the dark to even know the address of these places.” With these words Erdoğan has targeted academics for peace, who have lost their jobs and some even pushed to suicide. Ironically, it should be remembered that Erdoğan’s words are recognised as freedom of speech within the Turkish courts.
At a time when the betrayal whip has been used to make it impossible to defend the truth, each and every detained journalist’s defiance is a badge of pride.
It is a common practice in the history of Turkey that those journalists which go against the state’s official political position or who question those in powerful positions are accused of betraying the ‘national interest’. This has led to an increase in the type of journalist focusing on headlines to do with placing a Turkish Flag in Imia (Greece) and the shooting of Serbian on the front line, or who target and report fellow journalists.
When journalists are classified and labelled in this way, foreign press agencies and the journalists that work for them are also referred to by these labels.
It will be 300 days since the imprisonment of Deniz Yücel, the Die Welt journalist accused of being a spy but against whom no evidence has been produced to support this claim. No indictment has been produced to this day.
The tendency to manipulate the truth based on ‘patriotism’ also showed itself in the responses to the leader of CHP, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s revelation that documents showed Erdoğan’s family members had sent millions of dollars to a company set up on the Isle of Man. Pro-government media approached these documents with caution and tried to discredit ‘the Black Sea’ (the journalist platform that originally ran the news story on the relationships shown in the documents).
Notably, the participants of a news program on CNN Turk accused ‘the Black Sea’ and the journalists working for this platform of working with foreign spies and dark forces trying to destroy the Turkish state. They also alleged that these journalists had manipulated the CHP and are in alliance with Gülenists.
When these types of allegations are made the only principle that applies is that ‘allegations made against the enemy need not be proved’. Because proving these ridiculous allegations is impossible anyway. And so this is exactly what is done, allegations are not backed up with any concrete evidence.
In fact, the basic principles of journalism require that the journalists from ‘the Black Sea’ be afforded a chance to defend themselves against these allegations. However even this most basic principle of journalism was ignored in favour of supporting the state.
On top of this, Craig Shaw the journalist who had written about ‘the Erdoğan family’s secret offshore agreement’ (who I had previously written about and whose work made the news in other sources also) responded to the allegations trying to discredit him through his twitter account. The responses provided by Shaw, who himself is careful not to make unfounded allegations and provide evidence to back up his news, were predictably ignored by the people who made the allegations against him.
Those who seek to protect their comfortable careers and status in the eyes of the state by attacking their journalist colleagues who are seeking to publish the truth, must remember that history will note this vile zealotry.