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August 24 2017 | 9:15am AET

ANC-AU protests Daily Telegraph for publishing Op-Ed by Prime Minister of Turkey

Source: ANC Australia | Tuesday, 18 July 2017
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SYDNEY: The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) has sent a letter of protest to the Editor of
the Daily Telegraph for providing Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim an uncritical platform in an Op-Ed titled: - “Turkey looks back with pride and anger” to white-wash Turkey’s further descent into political oppression and attacks on democracy after last year’s attempted coup.

Yildirim's article, which appeared in the News Limited newspaper last week, was the Prime Minister reflecting on the one-year anniversary of the coup attempt in his country. It focused on his accusations on the perpetrator oppositionists as a preface to praise Turkey's "democracy".

ANC-AU's letter slammed that such a platform was being allowed to a regime that is floating further from democracy, faster than any other.

It reads: "While Prime Minister Yildirim is allowed to wax lyrically about 'democracy' in Turkey, his government’s authoritarianism (which was woeful before the coup attempt) has sunken to new depths after the coup attempt.  The facts and statistics are appalling: - 229 journalists have been arrested, 149 media outlets have been shut down, 4,424 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed and 8,271 academics have lost their jobs because of suspected affiliation with the exiled Turkish Muslim Cleric Gullen.  Numerous Turkish Opposition MPs have been arrested, including the leaders of one of the main opposition parties."

"Amnesty International has reported that there is evidence of torture of the detainees.  Even Amnesty International itself has not escape the wrath of Erdogan’s/Yildirim’s AKP with Idil Eser, the director of Amnesty International’s Turkish branch and the chairman of the branch’s board, Taner Kilic being, recently arrested themselves."

The letter also says: "We trust that the irony was not lost on The Daily Telegraph when they decided to give Prime Minister Yildirim an uncritical platform for his despotic government, while hundreds of their fellow journalists are sitting (and most likely being tortured) in Turkish jails."

The full ANC-AU letter to the Editor is pasted below:

The Editor
The Daily Telegraph
[address]

Dear Editor

Re: Uncritical Platform for Turkish PM Questioned

Whilst the first anniversary of the attempted (yet another) military coup in Turkey ought to have been noted by The Daily Telegraph, we seriously question the wisdom and appropriateness of the Editors providing Turkish PM Yildirim an uncritical platform to gloss over his government’s appalling human rights violations and political oppression post the coup attempt and to target his political (AKP) party’s opponents outside of Turkey, including those in Australia.

While Prime Minister Yildirim is allowed to wax lyrically about “democracy” in Turkey, his government’s authoritarianism (which was woeful before the coup attempt) has sunken to new depths after the coup attempt.  The facts and statistics are appalling: - 229 journalists have been arrested, 149 media outlets have been shut down, 4,424 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed and 8,271 academics have lost their jobs because of suspected affiliation with the exiled Turkish Muslim Cleric Gullen.  Numerous Turkish Opposition MPs have been arrested, including the leaders of one of the main opposition parties.

Amnesty International has reported that there is evidence of torture of the detainees.  Even Amnesty International itself has not escape the wrath of Erdogan’s/Yildirim’s AKP with Idil Eser, the director of Amnesty International’s Turkish branch and the chairman of the branch’s board, Taner Kilic being, recently arrested themselves.

We trust that the irony was not lost on The Daily Telegraph when they decided to give Prime Minister Yildirim an uncritical platform for his despotic government, while hundreds of their fellow journalists are sitting (and most likely being tortured) in Turkish jails.

Not satisfied with arresting, imprisoning and torturing political opponents in Turkey, it seems that the sub-text of Yildirim’s Op-Ed in The Daily Telegraph is an ominous message to the followers of Turkish Muslim Cleric Gullen in Australia.

Then again, why worry about world public opinion in relation to the arrest, incarceration and torture of the trifling amount of a few hundreds or thousands of journalists and political opponents, when you have got away with impunity the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians (and hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Greeks and Assyrians) for over a hundred years, right?

We trust that this is only an error in judgement by the Editors of The Daily Telegraph which will not be repeated and that an equal opportunity will be given in the pages of The Daily Telegraph to those human rights activists, democratic political opponents and critical journalists whose voices are being trampled in Turkey today.

Yours sincerely
[signed]

Vache Kahramanian
Managing Director


Binali Yildirim's article is pasted below:


Turkey looks back with pride and anger
BINALI YILDIRIM


It has been a year since we thwarted the bloodiest terrorist attack in the history of the Republic of Turkey. And in the course of that year Turkey has proven its resilience, ability to recover and strength.

We should remember what we have been through. What happened on the night of July 15, 2016, was an attack on the Turkish state by traitors who infiltrated the military and were loyal to a deranged man who sees himself as the “imam of the universe”.

We were confronted with murderers who bombed their national Parliament, destroyed the headquarters of police special forces who fight against terrorists, drove tanks over unarmed civilians, and fired from fighter jets and attack helicopters.

We have never before been through such brutality in our history. This terrorist network killed 250 of our citizens and left more than 2000 injured.

But two sources of pride emerged from this bitter experience. First, the courage and determination of the Turkish people. Our citizens from all backgrounds and political views took to the streets. Our television channels continued broadcasting despite threats and raids by coup plotters. The Turkish nation became one.

Second, the Turkish nation showed the world that it defended democracy and will continue to do so. My people demonstrated that only governments taking office through democratic processes and the will of the people would rule Turkey, not armed groups. The strongest legitimacy is the democratic one. We passed this tough democracy test.

But the question my grandchild asked with all her naivety that night will never fade from my mind: “Grandpa, aren’t these our soldiers?”

Indeed, what kind of mindset would drive a person to attack his own people, institutions, symbols and leaders in such a brutal manner?

The answer underlies the nature of the treachery we are facing. That night we were confronted with a crime network, blindly following the orders of ringleader Fethullah Gulen via a professor of theology. We are talking about a treacherous gang that failed to grasp the glorious millennial history of Turkish soldiers.

We were facing a heretical, esoteric belief system. The schools and dorms of the organisation operated as brainwashing and recruitment centres. Members indoctrinated in these intuitions and loyal to their mastermind, whom they believe to be the Messiah, were helped to infiltrate the state apparatuses. In this way, the followers, ready to resort to illegal and immoral acts without questioning, were promoted to key positions.

These people hatched plots such as cheating in public service entrance tests, illegal wire-tapping, blackmailing and sham trials. The organisation had been financed through so-called charities and foundations. Billions worth of transactions have been laundered via large companies and banks.

I can say we have destroyed the backbone of the organisation in Turkey. However, the threat is not limited to Turkey. The organisation has similar structures in many countries and it continues to plant treacherous seeds in other states. Now it is actively seeking global economic and political influence. I would like to alert our friends once again.

The Turkish nation proved to the world that democracy is not a cheap victory. Turkish democracy was targeted, and democracy won.

Binali Yildirim is the Prime Minister of the Republic