Hurriyet daily’s editor-in-chief Sedat Ergin was dismissed by Doğan Media Group in wake of reactions and controversies over the daily’s headline reporting “The [military] headquarters is restless”, according to a report in Birgün daily.
Earlier in Monday, the Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the Hürriyet daily over a report published in the daily on Saturday in which anonymous military sources responded to criticisms suggesting that the Turkish General Staff is too close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
The report, which was written by Hürriyet’s Ankara Representative Hande Fırat, was titled, “The [military] headquarters is restless,” which meant to say that the General Staff was disturbed about such criticism and found them baseless.
The prosecutor’s office also reportedly summoned Fırat to testify.
The investigation against the daily was triggered by a criminal complaint from an academic from the İstanbul University, Mehmet Hakan Sağlam, according to Turkish media reports.
In his complaint, the academic claimed that the news report shows the junta group within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is still active, they should be found out and be punished on charges of attempting to destroy the Turkish government by the use of force.
Some government figures criticized the Hürriyet daily for its report, claiming that the daily’s headline was reminiscent of the “Young Officers Are Restless” headline that appeared in the Cumhuriyet daily in May 2003 shortly after the AKP came to power as a single party government. The Cumhuriyet’s news report hinted at a military intervention because military officers were uneasy with the practices of the AKP government.
Speaking in Ankara on Sunday, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım did not mention the name of Hürriyet but said there were efforts to intimidate the government from headlines and such efforts were result of a perception management operation.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ also criticized the Hürriyet on Sunday due to its report. Writing from his Twitter account, Bozdağ said: “It has been years since the era of getting results and intimidating Turkish governments from headlines has been closed. But there are still some whose old habits have rekindled and who dream of an old Turkey. Turkey is not the old Turkey. Have you still not understood this?”
According to a report released by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) on Jan. 26, 2017, 191 journalists are either convicted and serving time in prison or jailed in pre-trial, and the most of the journalists have not even seen an indictment against them. The report also stated that 92 journalists are wanted for arrest but remain at large either in Turkey or abroad. SCF has also said that the number of media organizations seized and shut down by the government has reached 189.
Feb. 27, 2017