Betray the Republic? Not us.
The sorrow has not lifted from my soul. A cocktail of emotions washed through me as I set out to pen my column. The pain in my heart shrieks out. For the first time in my life, I am finding it hard to write an article. Suddenly, I recall the speech made by Cumhuriyet’s proprietor Orhan Erinç at former proprietor Berin Nadi’s graveside and find comfort. My friend and colleague of fifty years, Orhan
“Our consciences are clear. We are here in the belief that we have not betrayed Yunus Nadi, Nadir Nadi, you and our brother İlhan.” Yes, we have never betrayed the Republic. I do not like speaking of myself, but ...!
I am the one who unmasked Fethullah Gülen in the 1970’s. I saw through those who would brand me with involvement in the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organisation (FETÖ). The questions and allegations are cut and paste jobs. Yes indeed, I stand guilty of journalism.
Those who fell victim to their ambitions saw me as being part of FETÖ. Going to the Journalists and Writers Foundation and speaking to them for an hour made me a Gulenist. What were the crimes of General Publishing Manager Murat Sabuncu, Aydın Engin, Hakan Kara, Güray Öz, Kadri Gürsel, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Attorney-at-Law, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Attorney-at-Law and Önder Çelik?
We did not betray the Republic nor did we live for our ambitions. We are filled with love, peace, hope and humanity. We are Republicans, true to Ataturk’s legacy and patriotic. We defend the secular, democratic, law-based state and fundamental rights and freedoms.
We are revolutionary, socialist, left-wing and communist. We are on the side of enlightenment. We stand by the oppressed, not the oppressor.
You see, we were raised under Mustafa Kemal’s teaching. Nobody can instruct us on Ataturk’s legacy. Not those latter-day would-be Mustafa Kemals. Terrorism, regardless of where it comes from, is a crime against humanity. We oppose terrorism of all kinds. We do not practise religious, linguistic, racial, sectarian or skin-colour discrimination.
Half of our hearts go out to our paper, and half to our colleagues banged up in Silivri. They are honest and honourable. They have no guilt whatsoever.
An expert’s report has emerged into us, the suspects created by these allegations. Certain journalists have raised the allegations. What does our readers’ representative, columnist and foundation management board member, Güray Öz, have to say?
“As time is short, there is one point I have been unable to address. Other papers’ headlines have been included as evidence in this dossier of accusations. These amount, if anything, to criticism.
Others may criticise us. Criticism is criticism. It is odd for this to be evidence in a dossier. Then, allegations by Fuat Avni, whose Tweets found inclusion in all newspapers and web sites, continue to have current application. The press does not only publish reports that are to people’s liking, but also those that are not. Because of this, I do not understand why Cumhuriyet newspaper stands accused. I refute the allegations.”
It pained me to see the accusations levelled against me, Cumhuriyet and my colleagues. What did we do?
Supposedly, we aided the FETÖ/PDY and PKK/KCK terrorist organisations in their deeds. For some reason, there was no mention of ISIL. What does Mustafa Kemal Güngör have to say?
“The election to the Cumhuriyet Foundation Management Board is subject to civil proceedings in a file before the Civil Court of First Instance No 1. What bearing does this file have on a criminal investigation? In that file, we requested a legal opinion from Marmara University to counter the Directorate of Foundation’s report.
It came out in full opposition to the report that had been submitted. It was an opinion to the effect that there had been compliance with foundation regulations. Is this something that can be done to a newspaper of 93 years’ standing? Let the prosecutor on our case, informed by the presumption of innocence, continue to proceed under this presumption. Let us also be afforded with this presumption of innocence.”
Our fresh-faced publications consultant and columnist colleague of mine, Kadri Gürsel, is inside thanks to a humorous article he wrote. Dear Hakan Kara had a heart operation a few years back. Ah, my audacious colleagues Hakan Kara, bookworm Turhan Günay, Bülent Utku, Musa Kart, Önder Çelik, Murat Sabuncu, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Kadri Gürsel. Half of my heart remains with you, half with Cumhuriyet. I cannot sleep at night. I sit up until three in the morning thinking of you. I want you to know this. You will most probably be unable to read this article of mine. So what? I quote for your benefit from some stanzas by Cesare Pavese of which I am very fond: “Oh, beloved hope, in this day we'll know also that you're life and you're nothing.”
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