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The following appeared on the news portal T24 on 8 September 2018. Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton

The AKP’s victory from within: “Cumhuriyet”

by Yalçın Doğan

Five of those called as witnesses by the prosecution against my imprisoned colleagues at Cumhuriyet newspaper were rewarded yesterday.

They have become members of Cumhuriyet Foundation’s new executive board.

The story that unfolded yesterday at Cumhuriyet is of horrific proportions.

Many of the actors of the story that unfolded yesterday are well known, some of them familiar faces and some of them disappointments.

The story that unfolded yesterday was the horrific drama of a “paper’s final exit before the bridge.” Not least as concerns the actors who played parts in this story, it has the makings of a lesson that will be taught in communications faculties in the future.

The story that unfolded yesterday is a another tragic turn in which the current rulership has torn away a fresh part of the media that opposes it.

It is “tragic” because, with one or two exceptions, those who invited the conquest of Cumhuriyet by the AKP were raised within Cumhuriyet.

Those exceptions are the “latch to the outside door.”

That “foundation” tale

Everything has its inception in the argument that flared up over Cumhuriyet Foundation’s general meeting.

Cumhuriyet Foundation’s ordinary general meeting is held in April 2014. The new executive board is elected there.

Former executive board members Alev Coşkun, Sevket Tokuş and Mustafa Pamukoğlu whose memberships are discontinued bring legal proceedings to have the general meeting declared “invalid.” Mustafa Balbay participates in those proceedings as an intervening party.

The judge appoints an expert to aid in passing judgment. The expert’s report declares the general meeting to have been valid.

One day before the court ruling, Mustafa Balbay makes a submission and objects that it was not valid.

Critical steps from the AKP

Now pin back your ears:

1-With it about to be ruled that the foundation general meeting was valid, the judge hearing the case retires. How about that?

2-Meanwhile, the second step comes.

At that point, the General Director of Foundations changes. What a coincidence!

3-Meanwhile, the third step comes.

The new general director appoints a new “expert.”

The appointed expert is an archeologist. Would you look at that!

And that archeologist knows his stuff. He issues a report saying the general meeting was not valid.

4-Meanwhile, the fourth step comes. The new judge appointed in place of the retired judge rules that the general meeting was not valid and must be repeated. How about that?

The Court of Cassation upholds the court’s ruling and orders the holding of a fresh general meeting.

5-Meanwhile, the fifth step comes and yesterday a general meeting is held and the foundation management changes.

The legal adventure that had lasted from April 2014 – September 2018 and whose result was known in advance ends yesterday afternoon at the time of the call for prayer.

Ah no, but this is not all. There is a very important event coinciding with the above that will go down in the history of the media and the law.


The thing to befall many bodies and people over the past three or four years befalls the twelve of my colleagues serving at Cumhuriyet and they are detained all of a sudden one night.

The same old charges. FETOism and the like. Cumhuriyet and FETOism!

And the likes of “Aiding and abetting terrorism while not being a member of a terrorist organisation.” Aiding and abetting terrorism at Cumhuriyet, which had opposed terrorism for nearly a century since the day it was founded!

With these allegations biting the dust as the hearings wore on, the foundation allegations come into play:

“The detainees being prosecuted failed to adhere to the Cumhuriyet Foundation rulebook and broke the rulebook.”

Would you look at that!

The foundation is a private foundation. Who cares who follows the rules and who does not? And where do detentions come in?

Resolution of the whole rulebook business remains so elusive that those colleagues of ours do jail time and are released months later.

But what happens at that juncture?

Things reach a climax

While our colleagues are in detention, any sort of tangible crime remains elusive in the case being heard and the court embarks on a series of hearings to do with the foundation.

So who does the prosecutor call as witnesses to beef up the charges?

Alev Coşkun, İnan Kıraç, Şükran Soner, İbrahim Yıldız and Aykut Küçükkaya.

These people’s testimony amounts to humming and hawing but is still on the prosecution side.

There are allegations that come to the fore during those hearings.

The most important of these allegations is the following, the climax of the affair if you will:

The AKP is taking a close interest in this case.

Because, for sure, it is not happy with Cumhuriyet’s output.

The climax of the climax

So, who is elected to the new executive board yesterday? This is the climax of the climax. The following points need to be stressed with reference to the new members:

Prosecution witnesses in court: Alev Coşkun, Şükran Soner, İbrahim Yıldız and İnan Kıraç.

Among those who brought the legal proceedings for the foundation general meeting to be repeated: Şevket Tokuş and intervening party Mustafa Balbay.

The new editor-in-chief, on the other hand, is Aykut Küçükkaya.

Along with, pass over their names, a few people appearing from nowhere. Would you look at that!

But, I would like to add the following:

I am astonished at the inclusion on this list of my very old friend Ali Sirmen.

Apart from Ali, the people who gave testimony against the those they had worked alongside for years have now taken over Cumhuriyet via the foundation.

Are they the ones doing so, or who is in reality?

A monument is being demolished. A story that the history of the media will relate. In all its gory detail.

Cumhuriyet” is going. What will replace it is unknown.

Archive of Turkish press translations by Tim Drayton