return to HOME

The following article by Can Dündar appeared in the Cumhuriyet newspaper on 3 November 2016. Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton

God punishes in mysterious ways

Can Dündar

The Anatolian Agency published a document yesterday that will go down in history.
It provided details of the accusations against Cumhuriyet.
And we realised that our sole crime was to carry out journalism.
Oh, and also to lay bare the crimes of those in power.
It would appear the learned prosecutor did not much care for our headlines.
“The witch-hunt has begun” we said; this is supposedly not a good headline.
“The shortfall is in democracy” we wrote; he did not care for it.
“The danger on the streets” found absolutely no approval.
And, as to: “Chaos in Turkey”, what is that supposed to mean?
Then, when Ankara was bombed, we came out with the headline: “Bomb at the heart of the state” and trumped Zaman. That was not to the prosecutor’s liking either.
One dislike after another – we, for example, disliked that investigation text he leaked to the press, but we are curious to know how he will justify to the world the throwing into jail of a newspaper’s management on account of these headlines.

***

It was not only the headlines, but the intermediate headings that this particular prosecutor disliked.
We said, with reference to the: “Vigil for democracy” that: “Nobody out there is speaking of democracy.” The learned prosecutor also highlighted that intermediate heading in red.
Then he went on to deal with words:
We called the Gulenists the “Congregation”; why did we not call them a terrorist organisation?
We called the removal of Gulenists from their state posts a “purge.” How did we have the temerity to do this?
I conducted an interview with public prosecutors accused of links with the Gülen organisation. They were in possession of full details from Erdoğan’s 17-25 December corruption file.
Their files contained records of the way businessmen close to the ruling party were pressurised into acquiring media companies on being promised large public tenders, along with details of the way a pseudopious businessman on Interpol’s worldwide wanted list was provided with a bolthole by the intelligence organisation in Turkey. They were not even able to deny it.
Were we not to speak to them?
Were we not to ask?
Were we not to report it?
Had we indeed not reported it, would we not have betrayed our profession?

***

Then, of course, there are the columnists:
Aydın Engin inquired: “Peace in the world – so what about at home?”
He gave the game away:
He gave the coup’s password away in advance.
Kadri Gürsel gave one of the subliminal messages that have been in fashion of late – that is to say, he transmitted to readers’ subconscious minds what lay in store for the government. But, the prosecutor knew what he was up to and nabbed him.
As to Hikmet Çetinkaya, the person who told the whole of Turkey about the threat posed by the Gülen movement, well, it turns out he is a clandestine Gulenist. There is no evidence, but let it stand – this is what the prosecutor thinks.
Akin Atalay said the “placing of Zaman newspaper in the hands of the administrator is illegal.” According to the prosecutor, defending the law, and also the headlines chosen by Murat Sabuncu, who has been in the ranks of democracy all of his professional life, amounts to participation in the Fethullah Gülen terrorist organisation.

***

Oh well, God punishes in mysterious ways.
Just as I was wondering whether to laugh or cry at these accusations destined to go down in press history, the really explosive news broke on OdaTV.
Apparently, the prosecutor who accused us of abetting the Fethullah Gülen terrorist organisation had himself been under prosecution for membership of the Fethullah Gülen terrorist organisation, and that was under conditions pending trial.
This begs the question of whether he was accusing us of abetting him.
Does this not take comedy to the limit?
If meat smells, you put salt on it.
So, if the salt smells, what are you to do?
The answer is clear:
We will resist – until the end.

Archive of Turkish press translations by Tim Drayton