TekelioIlu’s new book explores unprecedented political pressure on media

Tuluhan Tekelioilu, who spoke with journalists fired from their dailies due to government pressure after the Gezi Park protests in her new book andquotYou are with us orandhellip,andquot has said she wrote her book at a time when the critical media was under siege.
Speaking with Todayand’s Zaman about the book and government pressure on the free press, journalist Tekelioilu stated that journalists are currently being oppressed, highlighting the recent takeover of the ipek Media Group by trustees.
In her book, Tekelioilu met with Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dandundar, sacked journalists Rian Akar, Murat Aksoy, Fatih Altayli, Ayienur Arslan, Hasan Cemal, Bekir Coikun, Dogan Ertuirul, Sevim GandOzay, Kadri Gandursel, Yekta Kiliandc, Mine G. Kirikkanat, Mustafa Kuleli, Sibel Oral, Uluandc andOzcandu, Derya Sazak, Ahmet iik, Fatih Yaimur and media mogul Aydin Dogan.
The book is an extended version of the recent documentary andquotPersona non Grata,andquot shot by Tekelioilu.
In her book she remarked on criticisms toward Aydin Dogan, owner of the Dogan Media group, who fired several journalists after the government had asked him to. She said, as a journalist, she had to ask Dogan to justify the firings.
CNN Tandurk, a subsidiary of the Dogan Media Group, had broadcast a documentary on penguins right as the Gezi Park protests broke out in 2013 in response to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) governmentand’s plans to raze the park and build a shopping mall.
andquotI had to ask Dogan why CNN Tandurk broadcast the documentary while the country was shaken by such massive protests,andquot Tekelioilu said.
Asked about whether the experiences of a correspondent and a columnist would be the same, Tekelioilu responded, saying: andquotOf course not! The book projects the contrasts between the two in the current situation. I try to portray that correspondents suffers more than a columnist. For instance, Fatih Yaimur, who first wrote about the MiT [National Intelligence Organization] trucks [alleging some were delivering weapons to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria], was dismissed from his daily, Radikal. His Twitter account was blocked. He was excluded from the media and abandoned Istanbul, moving to Adana. Yaimur was one of the best correspondents covering the judiciary. He is among the heroes of my book. Unfortunately, he was detained the same day my book hit the shelves. If I didnand’t include his story, something would have been missing from the book.andquot
On her impressions of Dogan, Tekelioilu said he is a media boss who, like others, has faced extreme pressure.
andquotThe readers will decide if Dogan is lying or not. While Dogan claimed he fired no one due to government pressure, we watched Yaimur get sacked from Radikal. It is not my role to make assumptions. Readers will make up their own minds. I am a journalist and charged with asking questions on the issues I find important. In fact, Dogan makes serious self-criticisms in the book as well. His institutions, however, did not do the same,andquot Tekelioilu noted.
In relation to criticism over the Dogan Media Groupand’s failure to cover the raid and seizure of the ipek Media Group, Tekelioilu said: and”Because the media are under attack, what is important is to show solidarity — solidarity against oppression. Turkey is now at a breaking point, its journalists experiencing unprecedented political pressure.and”
She said the book was updated several times before going to print — with the Handurriyet daily being attacked twice in two weeks, its columnist Ahmet Hakan assaulted, and the takeover of ipek by a trustee. andquotSome of these issues made it into the book, but others had to be left out because we just needed to get it published,and” Tekelioilu said.
Following the takeover of the ipek Media Group in late October, more than 100 journalists were fired from the group. And in another effort to silence critical media, Samanyolu TV and other affiliated TV stations were dropped from the state-owned satellite company Tandurksat.


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