Neither a crime nor true

By Çiğdem Toker

25 Temmuz 2017 Salı, 18:01
Abone Ol google-news

It was like a film scene.
No way was this the product of an error.
That instant at which Akın Atalay proved to the courtroom that intentional and ostensible falsification had been made in the expert’s report, deemed to be one of the critical building blocks of the indictment, produced a truly cinematographic sensation.
Expert Ünal Aldemir, in transferring the image of the 19 July 2016 edition of Cumhuriyet to his report, quite simply cut off the main headline of ‘The coupists’ treasonous talk’ and thus made it appear that the paper had actually led that day with the report below of ‘The witch hunt begins.’ Akın Atalay displayed the page that the expert had cut and placed in his report side by side with the uncut original image of the page on the screen. It was not only the spectators in the courtroom who experienced shock mixed with astonishment. The expressions on the faces of the court bench betrayed the same astonishment.
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The person spoken of as an expert is a person who posts about his admiration for President Erdoğan, whom he calls ‘Chief’, on his Twitter account.
Atalay, commenting as to why Aldemir did this, said, ‘He must probably have thought that it would have deprived his own views of value.’
Let me flesh that out a bit.
The article that expert Aldemir cut out as if Cumhuriyet had not run that headline in the report he submitted to the case file begins with the following sentences:
‘WhatsApp communications that the coupists made on the evening of 15 July have revealed full details of the bloody attempt. The junta members, who never stopped communicating with one another, made all their communications through this group from opening fire on the people to the orders to attack the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. The communications have brought out the horror of the coup in all its nakedness.’
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-The court had asked to hear Murat Sabuncu first in his capacity as editor-in-chief. But, this was not possible. Sabuncu said that on coming to the morning hearing he was not permitted by the prison administration to bring the copies from newspapers that he made ready for his defence.
-Akın Atalay has been a lawyer for 31 years and appeared for the first time in ages at a hearing without a tie and he explained that the reason for this was that the ties he had wished to wear were taken from him as he was coming in the morning.
-Kadri Gürsel, in his defence that could be described as a free lesson in journalism for all sections of society, tried for many minutes to explain that he had no influence or authority in the management of the paper.
In response to a question from the bench, he explained the difference between a press consultant and an editorial consultant, that communication is an interactive business and SMSs sent to him unilaterally did not suffice for him to be accused of having FETO connections, and that the article constituting grounds for the essentially non-existent crime of ‘openly accusing the president’ was Erdoğan requesting a packet of cigarettes from a Bulgarian Minister, and asking him to stop smoking, three days before the article.
-In the course of identity checks, Ahmet Şık said when asked if he had children that he had a daughter he was proud of but had no property to his name, while lawyer Bülent Utku said he had a motorbike when asked about the property recorded in his name.
Akın Atalay was continuing with his defence as this article was being penned.
If only it were just possible to shrug off as ‘black humour’ the accusations levelled as charges at the hearing set to drag on over the entire day that could be sorted out and proven by consulting plain and simple documents and will perhaps not even end up in the case file.
The most powerful reply forthcoming to those who say this operation and investigation of nine months’ duration has nothing to do with journalism was the sentence, also from Atalay’s defence, while Atalay was submitting Cumhuriyet’s 25-year financial tables in dossier form to the court:
‘If only the regime media machine revealed its financial statements for one year, never mind 25 years, and it were seen which funds came from where.’