Turkuaz Media Board of Directors’ Deputy Chair Serhat Albayrak is suing Evrensel for 200 thousand TL (almost 35.4 thousand dollars) in damages.
Serhat Albayrak has brought this claim for the column titled “Who cost the AKP votes?” that our columnist Ceren Sözeri penned on 7 April 2019 following the 31 March local elections.
In the column in question, Sözeri criticized the Anadolu Agency which failed to update election result data for fourteen hours and the pool media which created mendacious news for the duration of the election.
Serhat Albayrak claims to have suffered commercial loss as a result of Ceren Sözeri’s column.
This is most certainly not the first time the Albayraks have sued Evrensel.
Our newspaper was hit with the whopping fine of 41 thousand TL in proceedings brought by Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak that concluded two weeks ago with the claim that the denial they sent to Evrensel and which our paper then published was not published in accordance with due procedure.
And now Serhat Albayrak wants 200 thousand TL from Evrensel even though the butt of the criticism in Ceren Sözeri’s article was unrelated to him.
NEITHER EVRENSEL NOR TRUE JOURNALISTS WILL BE SILENT!
Our columnist Ceren Sözeri, having said, “The article was basically a criticism of Anadolu Agency. Serhat Albayrak was mentioned in passing in two sentences. But he brought the claim at the commercial court, not deigning to bring the debate within the ambit of freedom of thought. Two of my sentences caused Serhat Albayrak to suffer loss,” added, “It is attempted by this means to silence journalists and columnists!”
Let me first state that Ceren Sözeri numbers among those communications academics who devote labour to journalism and is a democratic, bold intellectual who takes a consistent stance in relation to events.
Our colleague Sözeri is a columnist read by hundreds of students and true journalists to advance their journalistic knowledge (in our country in which journalism has been turned into an ordeal by fire by the power holders the Albayraks are chummy with). There must thus be a sordid aim that is either ignorant of journalism or harbours gross bad faith or is of the kind, “Let us drag even a journalist-academic like Sözeri before the courts so (we see to it) she gets punished and the fraternity of journalists who are keen to criticise us will thus think a thousand times before mentioning our name” that seeks to find superficial allegations relating to the journalistic principles in Ceren Sözeri’s articles that exceed the bounds of freedom of speech and portray the truth other than it is. And, looking at the claims the Albayraks have brought, one could well say that these three goals have found manifestation in those individuals at one time.
When Metin Göktepe was murdered, our paper came out with the headline “We will not be silent.”
Our reply today to those who wish to intimidate and silence Evrensel and true journalists under financial siege is the same: WE WILL NOT BE SILENT!
The holders of power in that period saw that we were not silent. And this is what the Albayraks will see today!
EVRENSEL HAS UNSWERVINGLY DEFENDED THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND OF THE PEOPLE TO OBTAIN NEWS
Coming to Evrensel, it is a truth-seeking newspaper that has appeared for 25 years. It is a newspaper that champions workers and wage earners’ demands for jobs and a livelihood and the struggle against capitalist exploitation, women in struggle for equality, youth desirous of a secure future and peoples demanding freedom in the struggle against imperialism and reaction. Over these 25 years it has undergone closure and has unswervingly defended the freedom of the press and the people to obtain news by combatting pressures that go as far as the dragging of its reporters, columnists and editors into court, the imposition of heavy custodial sentences and fines and the murder of our newspaper’s reporter Metin Göktepe.
For 25 years, each edition of Evrensel has been the product of staff who work with self-sacrifice unmindful of personal gain, from the editor-in-chief to the sweat of the brow of its readers who are both its readers and its reporters as well as its distributors.
In short, Evrensel has not got where it is today from being patted on the back by the highest authorities and sent off on its merry way and being fed from billion-lira pools created by conglomerates and banks.
Today, likewise, Evrensel will be made to bend by neither pressure applied via the power holders’ public prosecutors nor lawsuits brought for “financial siege” purposes emanating from media-capital circles that are chummy with the holders of power.
IT IS NOW TIME FOR SOLIDARITY WITH EVRENSEL
Evrensel’s sole guarantee in this struggle is the solidarity with Evrensel of workers and wage earners and women and youth circles, aware that a huge void will emerge in the absence of Evrensel, and everyone who believes that the struggle will lose an important force without it.
This solidarity involves everyone doing what they can by:
Buying one Evrensel every day,
Promoting the reading and circulating of Evrensel in their own circles,
Seeing to it that the debates Evrensel fosters spread at local level,
Striving for Evrensel to enter every possible house, workplace, trade union, office, coffee shop, and
Those who for various reasons are unable to buy a paper every day subscribing to the e-newspaper.
Join hands in struggle with Evrensel, strength and resistance reinvigorated, for the freedom of the press and the people to obtain news!
Now is the time for solidarity with Evrensel!