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Where making FETO accusations gets you

By Kadri Gürsel
Yayınlanma tarihi: 07 Kasım 2017 Salı, 18:14

It is obvious from an initial glance that the Twitter account is run by Gulenists. An image was attached to the Tweet sent from this account on 4 November.
The portrait photographs of fifteen people appear in the image.
Previously, eleven of these had for years written on newspapers and made programmes on TV stations of the Gülen movement, and some of them had managed these outlets. One of their number used to be a prosecutor and then became a columnist. The twelfth person was the hatchet man named “Suitcase Toter” of the newspaper especially set up to facilitate the execution of the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer operations.
The photographs are arranged in three rows of five each, one above the other.
That of “Suitcase Toter” is at the foot of the middle row.
All of those in the first two rows are convicts today.
I will mention the names of four of the five people in the bottom row. I will start with the fifth person from the end of the row:
Ahmet Şık.
The fourth person is Cumhuriyet’s Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu.
The third face is that of yours truly.
In second place is journalist Murat Aksoy, who was released after remaining in detention for fourteen months in the “FETO’s media formation” trial.
The following, then, is written in the Tweet:
“This image was put together when @KadriGursel & @murataksoy were inside. Like it or not, you know they are in prison for the same reason.”
Really?
Were we in prison for the same reason?
Before making the necessary reply to this, three points need to be underlined:
First, the criterion is not whether we like it or not, but the law and human rights.
Second, everyone who has been thrown in jail on charges relating to journalistic activity should be released immediately, because even if journalism troubles the rulership it is not a crime.
The third is that even if network members turn journalism into a tool for a brotherhood’s criminal activities, this does not deprive these people of the right to a fair trial.
Moving to the propaganda lie that we were in prison for the same reason as the likes of “Suitcase Toter”.
I will speak on my own behalf. I was detained and put in Silivri Prison because I persisted in being an independent, critical and inquiring journalist.
There is no similarity between the reason I was detained and that of “Suitcase Toter”, the media operator of the Sledgehammer conspiracy, and none can be created. I am a journalist and “Suitcase Toter”, conversely, is not.
So, what circumstance is this Gulenist account exploiting to place the photographs of me and my two colleagues Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Şık, currently detained in Silivri, in the said image and Tweet it?
The answer is simple. Because it was possible for such a nonsensical charge to be filed against us as, “While not being a member, knowingly and willingly aiding the Fettullahist Terrorist Organisation (FETO).”
The Gulenists are using this charge filed against us to transfer legitimacy from us to its own people and say, “They are in prison for the same reason.” Because we are journalists, they are trying to appear to be journalists on our back.
Had one single sensible mortal at home or abroad believed us to be FETOists, the Gulenists would not have resorted to this baseless, irrational and illogical accusation in the endeavour to exonerate their own people.
We are actually a known quantity, and some columnists also caution the rulership when this is called for and comment along the lines of, “You cannot persuade anyone that these journalists, whose attainments are well known in the world, are FETOists, and such claims will weaken external support for and harm the fight against FETO.”
It is doubtful whether the rulership pays heed.
There is hence a need not to drop the matter here and take the analysis a step forward.
The rulership is not particularly troubled by the fact that throwing journalists behind bars on charges of “FETOism” is detracting from its credibility abroad and weakening its hand.
On the contrary, it is making cunning use of this situation.
For one thing, it is using the pretext of the “fight against FETO” to silence true journalists and the independent media. This situation makes it even harder for it to garner the necessary support and understanding from the West to counter FETO. The rulership’s reaction to this, in turn, is to foment anti-Westernism reinforced with the discourse that, “The West supports FETO” to consolidate its conservative, nationalistic base.
As is evident, in both cases it is we journalists caught in the middle who bear the brunt.

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