A Gülen Movement-affiliated journalist from Bugün daily, Nuh Gönültaş, harshly criticized the editor-in-chief of the Gülen Movement-owned Zaman daily, Ekrem Dumanlı, and the movement on March 25 through his personal Twitter account. His criticism was regarding the Gülen Movement members' claims of a lack of press freedom. Gönültaş emphasized that neither the Gülen Movement nor Dumanlı have embraced the concept of democracy and press freedom and added that they use these claims as a cover. While the controversial movement rallied against the government due to claims of restrictions of press freedoms, a former member of the Gülen Movement, columnist Hüseyin Gülerce, also said during the Dec. 14 operation that the movement manipulated offenses that targeted them and turned them into a means to hit the government and accuse the government of restricting press freedoms, thus turning those detained in the operation into heroes.
In his Twitter posts on Wednesday, Gönültaş, who had a detention warrant issued for him as part of an investigation launched by the Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office, received strong support from those who claim to know Dumanlı. Gönültaş was also one of the media members who wrote about the Tahşiye group supporting the existence of a plot against the Gülen Movement.
"The Gülen Movement should first free its own press and then speak of press freedoms. Everyone seeks democracy for their own sake, especially those who chant for press freedoms," Gönültaş said. In addition, he further criticized Dumanlı and referred to him as a "voiceless devil." He said: "You think the country would be freer, if Ekrem Dumanlı became the president of Turkey. The voiceless devils are not only on one side, they are everywhere."
Although Western media outlets and governments criticize Turkey for allegedly restricting press freedoms, there are only 15 national newspapers in Germany and 20 in the U.K., while Turkey has 38 national newspapers. Additionally, out of those 38 newspapers, 21 are opposed to the government and to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Furthermore, there are 7,500 media outlets, 280 television channels and newspaper circulation is at nearly 5 million copies. In this regard, not only government officials, but also many notable figures have criticized the EU for their misjudgment regarding press freedoms in Turkey.
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