Last May a court decided to issue arrest warrants for Burak Akbay, the proprietor of the Sözcü newspaper, which is known for its opposition to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), its managing director Mediha Olgun and correspondent Gökmen Ulu on charges of aiding the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). While Olgun and Ulu were subsequently arrested, nothing could be done about Akbay who was abroad.
In the meantime, Sözcü and the opposition made a number of statements saying that these arrests were incorrect and requested the release of the two journalists. Two weeks ago, a release decision was given for Olgun, who had been in prison for five months.
She called me about a week after she had been released. I expected that she would react to the judiciary and the government and say that she was grateful to her newspaper and lawyers because it was argued that they stood trial for their political views.
I am also a journalist who thinks that FETÖ cases are crucial, and sometimes criticize the judiciary for making some incorrect decisions that harm these cases. However, Olgun told me such striking things that had broad repercussions in Turkey.
First of all, she believed that she was wrongly defended by the newspaper and its lawyers and they used her to hold a political show. She thought that the petition of objection was intentionally written differently from what it should have been.
As the newspaper's video editor and managing director, she told me that she did not have information about many news reports, but that there were two personnel who were aware of all the news on the website and who even personally wanted those news reports to be published.
She continued, "I repeatedly called on the lawyers that the two should come and testify. I did it during every lawyer interview for four months. I sent messages many times. Look, I am not saying that they should be arrested. Please do not get me wrong, they just did not come when there was a case about the website they are bothered to manage."
"They have screamed bloody murder for such a long time and supposedly opposed our detention, but if they had been sincere, they should have gone to the prosecutor and said that the woman does not know about this news and that they gave the instructions and had them done, but these are not crimes after all. They did not do so. They did not even call my son and console him for such a long time. But my son called them and asked, ‘Why do you present my mother like the editor-in-chief?' They answered, ‘We have to,'" she said.
"The lawyers caused trouble for us to save their own companions. Gökmen [Ulu] is still in jail because of them. He has nothing to do with this. They told him to do the news that day and he did. He is not the one who decided how a deadline would be given and how the news would be presented. I am not saying that the news is a crime, but I do not find it right to be presented in that way. ‘Sözcü found the President.' Is the president a fugitive or guilty?" she added.
Although Olgun found the accusations against the newspaper wrong, she was disturbed by its political line and the publications made in the name of opposition. She said she was disturbed that everything has turned into a political weapon and that she was used. She thought that many of those who objected her imprisonment were not interested in her release, but used her story to strengthen their political position. She rejected the lawyers that came to her in the past one-and-a-half months and was released as a result of 120 petitions of objection that she wrote herself.
What Olgun said points to great hypocrisy and a scary picture in which everything has been made meaningless, human value has been lost and lives have been turned into political weapons. It also tells that there is a tendency to put one's own friends into trouble to prove that the government is oppressive and the judiciary is doing wrong. I think all this must be known while assessing the developments in Turkey from the outside.
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