A staunchly Erdoğanist Sar daily columnist Cem Küçük targeted journalists at the Hürriyet newspaper as well as the Doğan media group on Friday, saying that he can instruct Aydın Doğan, the founder of the Doğan media group, which also owns Hürriyet, to fire all journalists who are critical of the government.
Speaking during a program on the pro-government Beyaz TV on Friday, Küçük threatened Hürriyet columnist Ertuğrul Özkök with dismissal and imprisonment, giving examples of other former Doğan media journalists.
“If you combine all the Hürriyet [journalists], your power is just like my little finger. I will instruct Aydın Doğan, and he will do the necessary [to fire them]. Who are you [Ertuğrul Özkök]? Look. Where are Tolga Tanış, Nazlı Ilıcak, Bülent Mumay, Eyüp Can, I am asking. Is ByLock İsmail [Saymaz] able to appear on TV programs? Just go and write something critical against the government like in the old days. They are not able to write a single critical story,” he said.
Underlining that Hürriyet journalists cannot say a single critical word against the government now, Küçük said he would instruct Doğan to fire those who dare to do that.
“I have them wrapped around my little finger. I play with them like a cat plays with a mouse,” he said.
Cem Küçük, a staunchly pro-government journalist and supporter of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and also known for his attacks on government critics on social media, has also targeted critical journalists.
During a TV show in March Küçük attacked Korkusuz daily columnist Can Ataklı for comments criticizing Erdoğan and said he could finish off his career in five minutes.
Turkey is ranked 155th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2017 World Press Freedom Index. The situation of media in Turkey has become critical under the state of emergency proclaimed after the coup attempt.
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 282 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of August 18, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 257 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.
Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. Turkey’s Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) recently announced that more than 900 press cards were cancelled. (SCF with turkishminute.com)