Erdoğan attacks Der Spiegel for ‘seeking to foment chaos in Turkey’

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has lashed out at German magazine Der Spiegel, certain media outlets in Turkey and “international circles” for seeking to ignite chaos in Turkey and supporting the presidential candidacy of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Erdoğan’s rival.

Speaking at an election rally in the western province of Muğla on Wednesday, Erdoğan, who is one of the contenders in the Aug. 10 presidential election, talked about a special issue prepared by Der Spiegel about him.
The magazine featured Erdoğan on the cover of its Aug. 4 edition with the headline “Der Staat Erdoğan” (The Erdoğan state). In the 16-page article, which was printed both in German and Turkish, the magazine discusses Erdoğan’s presidential aspirations, saying: “Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan began his political career as a democratic reformer. But those days are long gone. His battles against the country’s old elite and the demonstrators of Gezi Park revealed his despotic tendencies. Now, he wants to become president.”
Addressing his supporters in Muğla, Erdoğan said the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had failed to nominate their own candidates for presidency and that the parties did not consult their organizations when nominating İhsanoğlu as their joint candidate.
“Who is behind this candidate? There is Pennsylvania [a reference to Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen]. Who else? There are certain media outlets. There are international circles. A magazine in Germany released a special edition about me and criticized me. It praises the other candidate, who was imposed [by the two main opposition parties]. Why is Germany doing this? Why is it making efforts to foment chaos here? A German magazine does not get involved in elections in Turkey without a reason,” he said.
Erdoğan said that the goal of these circles is to have someone who will comply with their demands elected as Turkey’s president. “They know that Tayyip Erdoğan does not walk the path they show. He walks the path shown by the nation,” the prime minister said in further remarks.
Der Spiegel also became a target of Erdoğan back in May, following a mine disaster in the Soma district of Manisa province that claimed the lives of 301 miners.
The magazine ran a story on May 14 on its website with the headline “Scher dich zum Teufel, Erdoğan” (Go to hell, Erdoğan). The headline was a direct quote of a miner in Soma who was angry at Erdoğan’s remark that mine accidents are natural, but supporters of the ruling party read the headline as an insult to the prime minister, and following the publication of the story, a campaign was launched on Twitter using the hashtag #ScherDichZumTeufelDerSpiegel (Go to hell, Der Spiegel).

A smear campaign against the magazine’s Turkey reporter, Hasnain Kazim, prompted the German magazine to withdraw Kazim from Turkey in May.


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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