Pro-gov’t columnist fired after mild criticism of AK Party
TODAY'S ZAMAN | ISTANBUL Pro-government columnist Gülay Göktürk has been sacked from theAkşam dailynewspaper after mildly criticizing the stance of the Justice and Development (AK Party) in her latest column.
Göktürk confirmed her dismissal to the Medya Radar news portal on Wednesday, saying, “I didn't know that they were this intolerant.”
“I'm worried not for myself, but for the course of how things will continue," added Göktürk.
Göktürk received criticism from pro-government sources for her criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's senior adviser Yiğit Bulut in her column published in Akşam on Jan. 9. The column was titled “Will the presidential system fix this vileness?” in reference to Bulut.
Bulut had engaged in a debate with former adviser to the prime minister Etyen Mahçupyan, who argued that even if a presidential system was implemented in Turkey, it would not fix the economy's major interest rate problem.
Göktürk noted in her column that Bulut was practicing McCarthyism-like accusations saying, “Just as a platform for debate is opened, it is poisoned; it should be permitted by critics [of the presidential system] to be criminalized. I've written it time and time again, but I will underline this once more: The presidential system could potentially be a better system than the parliamentary system, but this depends on what kind of model it is. If this [presidential] system is realized, I will do my part to make sure it is a good system by asking every question that comes to mind and put all my criticisms out there.”
In November, Göktürk penned a column criticizing the arrest of Cumhuriyet daily Editor-in-chief Can Dündar and Ankara Bureau Chief Erdem Gül. The two journalists were arrested pending trial for being members of an armed terrorist organization.
“It is obvious there is a parallel organization but we have not seen any sign of them being an armed terrorist organization,” wrote Göktürk. She also explained that there was absolutely no evidence that Dündar and Gül are members of this allegedly armed organization.
The term "parallel state” or “structure” is generally used by President Erdoğan and his associates in the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to refer to the Gülen movement, or Hizmet movement, inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
Göktürk's dismissal comes only a day after the firing of veteran journalist Fehmi Koru from the Habertürk daily. Koru, a close friend of former President Abdullah Gül, was among a select group of dissident journalists who wrote for pro-government dailies. He especially wrote about the “Turkish-style” presidential system that is strongly supported by President Erdoğan.
During an interview with Nokta magazine that was published on Oct. 12, 2015, Koru underlined that Erdoğan's one-year tenure as president has clearly shown that he believes a president elected by the people should behave differently to previous presidents. “Like me, many others were also mistaken about him. He doesn't consider the Constitution as it limits his powers. So I was mistaken about him,” he said.
Koru also underlined that discussions about a presidential system in Turkey are a waste of time. Source