Turkish state back to its bad old self?

The trend, endorsed intensely by the government circles and its supporters these days, is tp resort to basic reflexes, and threaten people who seek truth, exercise right to criticise and dissent the official rhetoric, which is far tıo busy diverting attention from the accusations piled up in the graft probe, which led to the detentions of two ministers’ sons, a CEO of a public bank and a murky Iranian businessman. 
A threatening Twitter message posted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s advisor Hamdi Kılıç that recalled a historic means of suppressing dissent in Turkey has created considerable reaction.
“Despite all the damage it has sustained, there is still a state tradition in this country. If you read some history it is enough to understand this,” he wrote and then his menacing message followed: “Some of the reflexes that our state tradition developed throughout its history are very creepy. A reminder from me.”

Kılıç was lashing out at those whom he defines as people that recklessly join the ranks of the enemies of the government and the nation “because of animosity.”

Reactions were varied. Some have accused Kılıç of praising the unidentified murders that the state was allegedly responsible for in an effort to quell Kurdish dissent in the 1990s.

After a huge reaction from Twitter users, he sent another message, “What a surprise, a great number of people see themselves as a threat to the tradition of the state.” Kılıç described the reaction to his opinions as vomiting and then tried to explain that he is not a supporter of violence by repeating a line from a poem by the famous Turkish Sufi Yunus Emre, asserting that he is not in favor of violence.

Elsewhere, an equally threatening tweet was sent by a reporter of the İhlas News Agency (İHA). İHA’s Bolu reporter Bülent Velioğlu wrote, “The unsolved murders that happen from time to time bring peace to the country. [Because murders like these] there are not so many talkers. There are people speaking nonsense everywhere [now].”

These words spread quickly and led to a massive reaction. Velioğlu first deleted the message and then closed his Twitter account altogether. He later issued a statement saying that his account had been hacked.


About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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