16 April 2019 11:34

The ruling party media’s İstanbul war: Reckless greed for graft

​​​​​​​Mustafa Hoş commented on the ruling party media’s stance on İstanbul: The Erdoğan capital was born and put on weight here. Now they don’t want to lose their main resource.

Mustafa Hoş

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Meltem AKYOL
İstanbul

More than ten days have passed since the local election but there is still no end in sight to the controversy over Istanbul. As to the Kurdish region, certificates of election are yet to be given in many places where the HDP has won. For its part, the “media debate” prompted by the thirteen-hour halt in the flow of election data by the Anadolu Agency continues with ever greater intensity.

The allegation that the Istanbul election was tarnished was first promoted by the ruling party media. It was both alleged by those on various rungs of the ruling party media that the Supreme Election Council had resolved for a recount of all the votes, and that polling station officials had been arrested.

Well, what is the purpose of all these claims and what does the Pelican group, alleged to be the main author of the claims and controversy, want? I spoke to journalist Mustafa Hoş.

THEY HAVE 90% OF THE MEDIA IN THEIR HANDS BUT LOST

We have witnessed a battle for Istanbul in which the media is in the front ranks since the end of the election. We’re going to flesh this out in detail, but first let’s produce a snapshot of the Turkish media during the election. What did we see in this election period?

The biggest casualty of the 31 March 2019 elections was the media. It was blatantly partial and lost. We lived through a period in which the mainstream media demonstrated its total and unconditional allegiance that it had done half-heartedly at the time of the Doğan Group. It presented every operational and manipulative strategy of the Erdoğan consortium as being news. A single manipulative report provides an insight into what they did in the election. Words not spoken by HDP Co-Chair Sezai Temelli were aired simultaneously in them all. It was a lie, it was manipulation, but they ran it as a headline. They had no credibility anyway, but their mendaciousness was recorded. It became clear in the most abundant manner that the Anadolu Agency consortium is a propaganda agency. The Erdoğan consortium, which governs more than 90% of the media, lost the most important metropolitan municipalities.

PELICANS IN PRIDE OF PLACE ON THE PLANE

Let’s return to the aftermath of the election in Istanbul. Hilal Kaplan wrote, “The Supreme Election Council has resolved for a recount of the votes,” and then the allegation about the arrests of polling station officials was broadcast on A Haber. This brought the Pelican group to mind. So how do things really stand?

I say the country is run by a network of consortia. This network is interconnected in a chain-like manner. That is, there is a crime partnership. They are one another’s hostages. Those inside the consortium create parallel structures so as to conduct operations. This Pelican structure is one of them. What is crystal clear? These Pelicans brought down the prime minister. They even set out to manipulate elections. It is by now ludicrous to inquire where they derive their strength from. The photograph Erdoğan posed for on the plane trip to Russia tells all. The Pelicans were given pride of place.

THERE’S MASSIVE GRAFT AS IF RELIGIOUS ORDERS WERE RUNNING AN EXTORTION RACKET AGAINST ISTANBUL.

Why did they go on the assault to this extent over Istanbul?

The Erdoğan capital was born, put on weight and grew up here. Now, they don’t want to give up their main resource. Look, they’re doing this against the “will of the people” which they have always based themselves on. And there is a religious order dimension to it. They are the ones that get the most sustenance from the municipality, too. The consortium’s political Islam wing gets money from the municipality as if this were an extortion racket. The transfer of 847,592,858 lira to foundations has been documented, with the Ensar Foundation numbering among them. They have lost, but they are trampling on the law, statute, traditions and usages, custom and what have you. Their recklessness is going as far as destroying democratic gains that are in any case deeply wounded. They are doing this at the cost of fully losing their own legitimacy.

At this point, there seems to be a need to revisit the issue of media ownership.

It is clear how Sabah-ATV’s interests were taken care of. It was done through loans taken from publicly owned banks. The thing called the pool media is a partnership of interests. They have now added the Demirören Group to this with Ziraat Bank loans. If we add the Ciner Group and the Doğuş Group, the picture is complete. They still put on a mainstream act under the mask of objectivity. They also make the opposition instrumental in this act. The latter still see these places as having value. They attach importance to being there. The actual truth of the matter is that if they had had a grain of credibility and trustworthiness it would have been impossible for them to lose the most important metropolitan cities in this election. This success was achieved despite this media.

NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HABER AND CNN, NTV AND HABERTÜRK

We are confronted by a media that does not even relay comments by Ekrem İmamoğlu, who according to the results is Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor.

First, let an end be put to this mainstream act. There is no difference between A Haber and CNN, NTV and Habertürk. Or, there is no difference between A Haber and Kanal D News, Show News and Star News. They do not relay Ekrem İmamoğlu’s speeches, but they broadcast live every comment by the AKP down to the last sentence. Conversely, millions follow İmamoğlu’s comments on social media platforms. This means he has more viewers than they do. This aspect of the affair and its power to influence needs to be seen more.

The AKP has not only caused harm in Turkey by creating its own media, it has also made the opposition resemble it in this sense. Everyone thinks their own propaganda to be a great thing. But this is not true and does the country no good, either.

“THEY CANNOT KILL JOURNALISM”

In a series of Tweets by journalist Timur Soykan, he criticizes the media from another standpoint with reference to the murder of İlhan Ünğan, who was killed in Kadıköy, and basically a whole host of assassinations. What does this point we have reached speak to?

May journalist Timur Soykan get his just deserts? He pointed to a web of horrific mafia-like relationships that was lost behind the election cloud of dust. What is going on in this period leaves Susurluk in the shade. Timur Soykan made what the media does not see visible. And he did this through social media. This means it is doable. The same was achieved at Ensar. It was at Aladağ. And with the Çorlu train manslaughter. In the same way, journalist Metin Cihan turned the Rabia Naz murder into a Turkey-wide issue through social media. Likewise with the Şule Çet murder. Dozens of murders are committed masquerading as traffic accidents. The families seek media that will make their voices heard. With services of allegiance taking place in plazas, the existence of such things makes journalism shine like a star. I thank each of them on behalf of my profession. They have shown journalism cannot be killed in this country.

(Translated by Tim Drayton)