Sabah, once a legendary liberal mass circulation daily, has turned completely toothless newspaper, a clear-cut government mouthpiece, with the sacking of Nazlı Ilıcak, a veteran pundit, yesterday. Her column was apparently refused, and she was told of ‘differences of opinion’ (!) by the management, as she was fired. Therewith a final nail to the coffin of good journalism Sabah was known was put. In April 29, 2007, Sabah went with the major headline ‘NO TO COUP’ as a reaction to the e-memorandum by the top brass against the AKP government and had a fiercely critical coverage of the closure case against the party.
Here goes the story of Ilicak, as reported by Today’s Zaman:
She criticized Erdoğan, saying the Turkish prime minister should have adopted a more robust stance with regard to the graft probe, which cast doubts over the government’s legitimacy.
Sabah said it had parted ways with Ilıcak due to a disagreement over a number of issues, declining to elaborate further on a possible link between Ilıcak’s dismissal and her critical stance over the corruption case.
This came against a backdrop of a series of firings of journalists over the past year due to government pressure on media.
On March 18, experienced journalist Hasan Cemal parted ways with the Milliyet daily, for which he had been working since 1998, following a controversy over the paper’s publishing of secret minutes of a meeting between the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader and Kurdish deputies earlier in March.
Cemal decided to quit his job at the daily when an article he sent to the daily to be published in the same week was rejected by editor-in-chief.
Additionally, the Milliyet daily, which had fired a number of columnists who were critical of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), has suspended the column of Derya Sazak, an opinion writer for the paper who was also its editor-in-chief until a recent crisis.
Sazak’s last column was published in Milliyet on July 29, 2013. He was told after returning from vacation on which he had been since that date that his column would no longer be needed, according to a report by Internet magazine T24.
Veteran Turkish journalist Yavuz Baydar was also fired from Sabah on July 23, after its editorial board censored two of his columns related to the Gezi Park protests and media-government relations.
Ilıcak’s case constitutes the latest incidents in a series of firings of journalists in the Turkish media which have brought press and government relations into the spotlight and cast further doubts on the democratic credentials of the EU candidate.
Ilıcak said the daily called her earlier in the morning to inform her on parting the ways. Ilıcak said she didn’t expect the daily’s decision which came at a critical moment. She rejects that her columns were mainly anti-government, adding that the firing in the Turkish media is a regular occurrence.
Ilıcak who also faced tremendous pressure from the military during Feb. 28 coup period after her revelations of the some generals’ involvement in editorial decisions of some Turkish media outlets for producing manipulating news targeting critical journalists, said she experienced harder days following the Feb. 28 coup which forced a democratically elected civilian government to resign.
Upon the corruption investigation launched, Ilıcak called on the prime minister to take a more robust standing by strong backing of the graft probe. She has also called on ministers whose sons are among suspects along with other 50 detainees in the investigation into the alleged bribery linked with public tenders, to resign.
And, for the live updates of the developing story on corruption scandal, go to this link: