As a child watching American Westerns on Turkish television, I saw “Wanted” posters portraying vicious outlaws with a price on their heads. On the last day of 2022, at the age of 61, I found my own name and photo on such a display: the “Terrorist Wanted” list on the website of the Turkish Ministry of the Interior.
Like an Old West poster, it offered a reward: up to 500,000 Turkish lira — approximately $27,000 — for information that would lead to my capture.
What could I have done to deserve this sudden infamy? For the past six years I’ve lived in Germany, working as an independent journalist online and on the radio.… Seguir leyendo »
Turks are bracing for the next round of revelations from a mafia boss who has shaken President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime to its core. Sedat Peker, a onetime Erdogan confidant now living outside the country, has stunned the country with a series of videos alleging crimes committed by people close to the president.
I’ve been following the story with particular interest — since my own life has been directly affected by Peker’s past dealings.
In 2015, I published a news article revealing that Turkey’s main intelligence agency was helping to secretly send weapons to jihadists in Syria. Erdogan, who denied the allegation, ominously declared that I would “pay a heavy price.”… Seguir leyendo »
Turkey has become the country with the fastest-rising number of coronavirus cases, with nearly 50,000 cases and nearly 1,000 deaths since the first case was diagnosed on March 10. But rather than addressing these worrisome trends, Turkey’s parliament is busy debating a law to release 90,000 criminals from prison — while keeping political prisoners locked up.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hit multiple birds with one stone by bringing up this bill in a time of crisis. He is redirecting attention from his government’s unsuccessful battle against the novel coronavirus and would, at least partially, mitigate the significant risk that the virus could pose for prison populations by reducing the number of people behind bars.… Seguir leyendo »
Over the past two weeks, Turkey has been witnessing a lethal tug of war between reason and belief — one that shows us again how dangerous politicized religion can be.
Turkish health-care professionals and scientists, led by the Turkish Medical Association, have been advocating fact-based policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic. But they face a powerful opponent in the country’s religious establishment. The government’s enormously influential Directorate of Religious Affairs, an agency that is supposed to regulate the role of Islam, has become one of the key institutions in the fight against covid-19 — and not always for the better.
It was clear from early on that the biggest threat would come from outside Turkey’s borders — and especially from those making their Islamic pilgrimages to Mecca.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s not been a good year for major media.
First, they were caught red-handed as shills for the fake Russian collusion narrative that convulsed the nation for nearly three years.
Then, they were exposed as barkers for the fake Ukraine scandal while the real thing — Joe Biden’s pay-for-play scheme and $1 billion “quid pro quo” while he was President Obama’s vice president — still goes largely unexamined.
Truth be told, this kind of slanted reporting involving Russia and Ukraine has a long pedigree.
In 1932, The New York Times’ Moscow bureau chief, Walter Duranty, won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Joseph Stalin’s USSR.… Seguir leyendo »
Busra Nur Calar is the talk of Turkey, thanks to several stunning videos of her fabulous life. Here she is at the center of her amazingly over-the-top wedding. And there she is carrying her newborn baby through the doors of the family’s Ottoman-style palace (to the tune of a lullaby specially commissioned for the occasion).
There are two reasons her videos have become part of a national debate. One is that Busra Nur wears a headscarf, prompting conservative Islamists to attack her for her fondness for the finer things in life. The other is that her husband spent part of his career working in the Ministry of Health.… Seguir leyendo »
A few weeks ago, in a meeting with Turkish parliamentarians not long after President Trump’s announcement that U.S. special forces had killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that he regarded the U.S. president as a role model:
“Some countries eliminate terrorists whom they consider as a threat to their national security, wherever they are,” he said. “This means they accept that Turkey has the same right.” He then hinted about his target: “This includes the terrorists they shake hands with and praised. I hope we will have good news for the nation on this matter soon.”… Seguir leyendo »
Late one night in June, Nurcan Baysal, a Kurdish journalist and human rights defender, was watching TV at her home in Diyarbakir, in Turkey’s southeast. Her younger son was playing with Legos, and her oldest was busy with his phone. At half past midnight, a terrifying noise shook them all. At first they thought it was an earthquake, or perhaps a bomb. Baysal sent the boys back to their rooms and ran to the door.
Some 20 or so anti-terrorism officers were trying to break down her front door, which proved too solid; the walls cracked instead. She let the balaclava-clad agents wielding rifles in through the veranda door.… Seguir leyendo »
The coup attempt took place on a Friday night. By Sunday evening a list of 73 journalists to be arrested had been leaked by a pro-government social media account. My name was at the top.
Within three days, 20 news portals were inaccessible, and the licences of 24 news and radio stations cancelled. Meydan newspaper was raided, and its two editors detained. (They were released 24 hours later.) Yesterday the journalist Orhan Kemal Cengiz, also on the list, was arrested at the airport with his wife. It is almost impossible to hear dissident voices now, in a media already largely controlled by the government.… Seguir leyendo »
C’est un cri pour la liberté d’expression que je lance depuis une prison aux marges orientales de l’Europe. Un appel à l’aide venu d’un enfer pour les médias. Une main tendue d’un journaliste arrêté pour avoir fait son travail, et qui espère la solidarité de ses confrères à travers le monde.
En novembre, Reporters sans frontières (RSF) a remis à Cumhuriyet, le quotidien turc que je dirige, le prix de la Liberté 2015. Lors de la cérémonie, j’ai déclaré : « Mon bureau a deux fenêtres, l’une donne sur un cimetière. L’autre sur des tribunaux. Ce sont les deux lieux les plus visités par les journalistes en Turquie. … Seguir leyendo »