Afternoon was approaching when I set out for the paper. I read what my colleagues had written while we were under arrest. The storm unleashed within me by the words of my journalist friends, some of them of my generation and some of them much younger than me, turned into the summer breeze on the Izmir sea front.
It filled me with hope to see that the spirit of solidarity among journalists had not died. My thanks go out to everyone from Yılmaz Özdil to Nedim Şener, from Uğur Dündar to Hasan Cemal, from Ertuğrul Özkök to Necati Doğru, from Soner Yalçın to Mehmet Yılmaz, from İsmet Berkan to Kanat Atkaya, from Güneri Civaoğlu to Yalçın Doğan, from Oral Çalışlar to Ahmet Hakan and Doğan Akın (if I have forgotten anybody put it down to confusion on my part), on behalf of my colleagues remanded in Silivri, too.
None of my journalist colleagues believed the accusations that I and my colleagues had served the FETÖ (Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organisation)/PDY and PKK/KCK terrorist organisations.
My colleagues occupy different parts of the ideological spectrum, to boot.
One part of Kanat Atkaya’s article, somebody I always follow with pleasure, read:
“... For example, Hikmet Çetinkaya, who has probably been targeted by more FETÖ lawsuits than anybody else and whose serialised article about the Gulenists led to them having publication of Cumhuriyet halted ...
It is no joking matter, though, but if they ask, ‘How do you know there’s been a coup?’ I could say that if they have arrested Aydın Engin then there has been a coup.”
Aydın Engin and I have grown accustomed to arrest and the inside of cells. We have no issue with this. While making statement to the prosecutor as a suspect, not a single question was asked about what I had written anyhow. What was the point of arresting me, Aydın Engin and my colleagues now remanded in Silivri, accused of involvement with a terrorist organisation, between 6 and 7 in the morning, and who benefitted from this?
Ahmet Hakan’s column on 1 November 2016 bore the headline:
“FETÖ’s happiest day.”
For forty years, I have written about the way FETÖ was infiltrating the judiciary, education system, police and, setting out from the military academies, the Turkish Armed Forces.
I have opposed coups of all varieties.
I have written that both the PKK and ISIL are terrorist organisations, and that terrorism has no right or left wing. Terrorism is terrorism.
My detained colleagues in Silivri think as I do. We are Republicans, we defend the secular, democratic, law-based state and fundamental rights and freedoms.
I at Cumhuriyet together with Orhan Erinç, Hasan Cemal and Yalçın Doğan experienced the oppression unleashed by 12 September.
I will never forget Emine Uşaklıgil. She put such great effort into my children’s education.
I aspire to friendship. I do not aspire to enmity.
We were scattered asunder like grapeshot for no good reason in 1991. The years went by.
İlhan Selçuk was taken to hospital and underwent heart surgery after the 2010 Ergenekon plot. I once inquired, “Are you open to Hasan Cemal paying a visit on you?” with his sister Ülfet Ertel at his side. With Ülfet saying, “Why wouldn’t he?,” İlhan quipped in reply, “Tell the rascal to come and I’ll give his ears a tug.” İlhan went into a coma a few days later. And this meeting never happened. I know for sure that Hasan greatly missed İlhan, as did İlhan Hasan. I am writing about this for the first time.
Leaving our ambitions to one side, our first duty is to keep Cumhuriyet alive. We are not going to achieve this with feelings of rancour and revenge. Yesterday’s lead story in Cumhuriyet sets everything out clearly. This is the short of it.
All of my colleagues’ articles moved me and filled me with joy. Our colleagues in Silivri have been unable to read these articles. I have no idea if they will be able to read what I am writing now.
Friends, Hakan Kara has undergone serious heart surgery. Murat Sabuncu has asthma.
Aydın Engin underwent surgery yesterday.
I repeat once again that I apologise to those of my colleagues whose names I have forgotten. Our archive service provided me with these articles.
For a second time, I thank all of my fellow columnists on behalf of my close friends remanded in Silivri, my comrades. I will continue to quote from your articles.
On Friday, I will share with you an important part of Yılmaz Özdil’s article.
It is 78 years since the death of the blue-eyed giant Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
We remember our Father, the architect of salvation and state-building and continue our fight to keep alive the torch of his enlightenment.