A Turkish journalist recently alleged that Turkish media has been complicit in military coups, Today’s Zaman reported.
Today’s Zaman “is a Turkey newspaper covering National News. Today’s Zaman was launched on January 16, 2007 as an English language newspaper in Istanbul” according to Mondo Times.
The journalist, Mehmet Ali Birand, “made striking confessions about the contribution of the mainstream media to the military in anti-democratic practices over the years” in a newspaper column.
Birand has been working in Turkish journalism since the 1960s and has written “about eight books,” according to Biyografi.net.
His “confessions” column was published by The Posta Daily and titled “Yes, we did have pro-coup thoughts in our genes,” Today’s Zaman explained. Today’s Zaman is a four-year old English language newspaper in Turkey.
Birand noted in the beginning of his column that his “confession” column was provoked by Alper Gormus’ book Ergenekon Gazeteciligi (Ergenekon Journalism). Gormus, as Birand summarized, argued that “the central media has always supported coups and played a key role in the realization of Feb. 28.”
Ergenekon is a terrorist organization “plotting to overthrow the government,” according to Today’s Zaman. Today’s Zaman reported that Birand alleged that “some media groups” backed coups “either as a covert or open support.”
Birand claimed that when he wrote a book on the Turkish Armed Forces, he was “blacklisted” and brought to court.
He criticized the media for not protesting the closure of Nokta, a Turkish magazine that was closed in 2007 after a police raid. The magazine had published a story “revealing a confidential campaign on the military blacklisting some journalists and press organs.”
According to a report by Today’s Zaman in 2007, prosecutors were more focused on making accusations against the magazine’s journalists for “provoking the people against ‘military conscription service,'” than investigating the military campaigns reported.
Turkish journalist Görmüs, whose work reportedly inspired Birand, added that he agrees with Birand’s argument that the media has made helped in revolutions. Görmüs called Birand’s admissions “very important and courageous.”
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“A pro-coup position has always been in the genes of the mainstream media. This is still the case. The mainstream media continues its publications with the same nature and character.”
Today’s Zaman also noted that just before the Feb. 28, 1997 coup, the Turkish media published “a large number of stories warning of Isalmic fundamentalism to lay the groundwork for a military intervention.”
Another Today’s Zaman columnist, Ekrem Dumanli, argued that “it’s a commonly known fact that the media has always been a supporter of the military coups that have taken place up to now.”
OdaTV Journalists Arrested in Early 2011
Today’s Zaman reported that earlier this year, a document named “Ulusal Medya 2010” (National Media 2010) was “seized by police from a news outlet called odatv.com.
OdaTV.Com is a “news website that is critical of the pro-Islamic government,” according to a 2011 New York Times article. Three journalists were arrested in that February 2011 raid, according to Today’s Zaman.
According to Today’s Zaman, Ulusal Medya 2010 ” included “plans to shape public opinion through manipulative news stories about the Ergenekon case as well as many other issues.”
OtaTV.com’s owner, Soner Yalçin, and “some of its employees” have been imprisoned after being accused of “membership in a terrorist organization and seizing confidential state documents.”
iMediaEthics is writing to the various parties for comment.