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An open letter to Murat Sabuncu

An open letter to Murat Sabuncu
Yayınlanma tarihi: 11 Kasım 2016 Cuma, 13:12

Dear Murat,


You are not allowed to write and receive letters. How different things are from the time Erdem and I were in the very same jail and were writing and receiving vast numbers of letters this month last year.
That being the case, I will send my letter here.

Nobody knows better than the prisoners in Silivri that human communications can never be blocked.
You saw your wife the day before yesterday. I can picture your smiling face from behind the window of yearning.

You have moved from one side of that window to the other in the space of a year. It is like passing on the baton.

You were expecting it – that is what you told me in letters.

You knew the history of the paper, you knew the tyranny of those in power and you knew your own stubbornness.

The grounds cited in the remand order were, “The defences and behaviour observed during interrogation and the attitude of denial.”

Well, this is why we love you.

This resistance gives solace to us, our paper, our family and our readers.

You immediately inquired after the paper. Do not worry. Everybody is working with even greater enthusiasm and commitment.

Cumhuriyet appears every day bringing tidings of hope. It ripens with resistance. It is turning into a historic shout in the vast silence.

And – if you see Önder, pass on the good news – the readers are rallying around the paper with great determination in the hour of need. It is selling out everywhere.

The front of the building is like Gezi Park every day and every night: Poems, speeches, concerts. Young people keeping watch at the entry level. An endless stream of visitors.

We tell everyone about you. About the hatred for the Republic of those in power, the ludicrous nature of the accusations and your defences that fill us all with pride.

And about those who, just like those who with every coup ready themselves to move into ministerial office, view the Cumhuriyet coup as an opportunity to turn informer and eye up the posts they expect to be vacated saying “this is the mother of all opportunities.”

***
I have become the paper’s “Foreign affairs volunteer” for the time being.
I am crying out to the world about the assault on the press in Turkey. I speak of you, the remanded writers, the closed newspapers and TV and radio stations, the proprietors forced into submission and our colleagues who have been left unemployed.

The world sees, Murat!

It sees both tyranny and resistance.

Our colleagues in all countries ask about you and write about you.

Not only they, but Western governments, complicit in this tyranny with their support or silence, are beginning to see this despotism more clearly and are raising their voices.

I spoke with German President Joachim Gauck on Monday. He himself stems from an oppressive regime; he is no stranger to tyranny. He asked me to convey special greetings to my colleagues. I hope for the opportunity to do so.

Our struggle was given a standing ovation at the Association of German Magazine Publishers award ceremony and in the historic chambers of Paris Municipality.

In the space of the past three days, I have spoken with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French European Affairs Minister Harlem Desir, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and the mayors of Paris and Strasbourg.  I spoke about you. And about the disappointment inflicted on us by the dirty negotiations conducted over refugees.

You are giving a lesson in courage to a Europe that has succumbed to fear. You are showing them how human rights, press freedom and the supremacy of the law are to be defended.

Your cell mates are Bülent and Mustafa Kemal. You have more or less enrolled on a course in legal studies. Count yourself lucky. If you were in the next cell, you would be doing gymnastics every morning along with Güray and Önder with Hakan as trainer.

If Musa were your cell mate you would be in stitches together over the whole affair. I bet there is more fun in that cell. You would have had entertaining conversations with Turhan about the way he has joined the ranks of the imprisoned writers whose names adorned the book supplement cover. You would have chattered away with Kadri about those who find there to be something coup-provoking in an article about giving up smoking.

Look, Akın is coming. May he make them swallow their false words, friend and enemy alike.
They will be sorry they brought you in, Murat. For, as you say, “We hold our heads high. We have engaged in nothing but journalism.”

So that we might look our children in the eye without shame.

***
Did you get Muratcan’s letter?

He addresses those “who would stay in power for ever.”

He says:

“Those you have tried to sully with false accusations and lies will most probably not make amends with you in the next world. Even so, I swear on my behalf and that of like-minded people among us that, should the injustice we have suffered as a country one day come to trial, we will not impose the same unfair treatment on the authors of this injustice. Come what may, we will uphold their rights with our honour.”

While they strive to raise hate-filled generations, the offspring we have raised are free from hate. We will not buckle under any pressure.

Keep yourself warm.

Pass on my greetings to the friends.

Rest assured this will not last long.

Can Dündar

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