ErdoIan vows daily’s editor-in-chief to pay price for MIT truck report

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened the editor-in-chief of a daily who recently published pictures of weapons carried by Syria-bound trucks run by Turkeyand’s intelligence organization, saying the editor-in-chief will pay heavily for the report, accusing him of spying.
Speaking in a live broadcast on the state-run TRT Haber news channel on Sunday night, Erdogan said: and”I have filed a lawsuit [against the editor-in-chief]andhellip And the person who did the exclusive report about it will pay a heavy price for it I wonand’t let him go [unpunished].and”
iframe frameborder=”0″ height=”310″ scrolling=”no” src=”http:content.jwplatform.comlayerslHkL4aqD-rRYRql9m.html” width=”550iframe
Erdogan, who claimed that the dailyand’s sole aim in publishing the report about the trucks operated by the National Intelligence Organization (MiT) was to tarnish Turkeyand’s image, accused the daily of being involved in spying by having published the report.
In a headline story on Friday, the Cumhuriyet daily published images from a video in the investigation file proving that the MiT trucks carried weapons, contradicting the governmentand’s earlier claim that they were only carrying humanitarian aid to Turkmens in civil war-torn Syria.
Can Dandundar, editor-in-chief of the daily who is also the author of the report, challenged Erdogan in a message on Twitter, maintaining that it is Erdogan who is involved in crime by having sent arms-laden trucks to rebel groups in Syria.
Dandundar said in his message that copied Erdoganand’s wording: and”The person who committed this crime will pay a heavy price for that. We will not let him go just like that [unpunished].and”
On Jan. 19 of last year, three trucks bound for Syria — which the government admitted were operated by MiT — were intercepted by gendarmes in the southern province of Adana after prosecutors received tip-offs that they were illegally carrying arms to Syria.
Following the interception of the trucks, the government claimed that they were transporting humanitarian aid to Turkmens in Syria and branded their interception an act of and”treason and espionage.and”
Shortly after top Turkish officials gave statements at the time about the trucks, Syrian Turkmens denied that any such truck had arrived from Turkey.

h2Erdoganand’s remark blasted as intimidationh2 Representatives of opposition parties, media organizations have sharply criticized President Erdogan for his threatening remarks against the editor-in-chief of the daily, noting that the remarks are aimed at intimidation and censorship in the media.
Turkish Journalists Federation (TGF)hairman Yilmaz Karaca stressed, in a statement to Todayand’s Zaman, that Erdoganand’s remarks indicate that media freedom is out of question in Turkey.
Highlighting that it is the duty of the press to monitor the government for the public good, Karaca added: and”It is really upsetting to see how Dandundar is being targeted by the pro-government media first and then by Erdogan on a TV program. All journalists are now under threat of intimidation and pressure. We, as journalists, have never experienced that much oppression even in military coup periods.and”
The TGC said in a statement on Monday that Erdoganand’s remarks came to mean censorship for the press, saying, and”Such rhetoric brings censorship, fear and threat with it. Such statements made by the political authority obviously give rise to the violation of the publicand’s right to information and of freedom of expression.and”
Contemporary Journalists Association (CGD) President Ahmet Abakay also underlined that Erdoganand’s remarks are a threat towards all dissenting journalists.
Expressing concern that the dailyand’s editorand’s life may be threatened as he has been accused by top government officials of being involved in spying, Abakay told Todayand’s Zaman: and”We are all aware of the existence of many crazy people who might consider Erdoganand’s remarks as an order to harm Dandundar.and”
The TGFand’s former president, Atilla Sertel, criticized Erdogan, saying that Turkey is the only country where journalists are imprisoned and fired for doing their jobs.
Media Ethics Council (MEK) President Halit Esendir said Erdoganand’s remarks are against the law.
Drawing attention to the pressure on dissenting media in recent years, Esendir said: and”Since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, journalists have never faced such great pressure. I experienced all the military coup eras, but I never remember the law being so blatantly violated.and”
Erdoganand’s remark about Dandundar is a threat targeting the free media, Gandurkut Acar, a deputy from the main opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP), said.
Underlining that where there is no tolerance, there is no democracy, Acar told the Cihan news agency that Erdogan is deeply concerned that he could be called to account before an international court and that he will be tried for treason at home because of the weapons carried by MiT trucks.
Masum Tandurker, leader of the Democratic Left Party (DSP), said Erdoganand’s remark about Cumhuriyetand’s Dandundar could actually turn into a threat for Erdogan himself as Erdogan could find himself being called to account for having committed a crime against humanity by having sent weapons to rebel groups in a neighboring country.
Noting that Erdogan was prime minister when the MiT trucks were intercepted, Tandurker told reporters during a press meeting in andcanakkale on Monday that Erdogan would find himself being called to account in an international court on charges of committing a crime against humanity as the MiT is subordinate to the prime minister.
Tandurker, who says the report about the trucks is a case of successful journalism, says Turkey could legally get into trouble because of Prime Minister Davutoilu admitting that weapons were sent to Turkmens in Syria.
The Turkish government has long been criticized by the opposition for illegally providing weapons to radical Islamist groups fighting against the Syrian government in the four-year-old civil war in Syria.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government only admitted to the shipment of weapons to Syria after the publication of the report in the Cumhuriyet daily, trying to legitimize it saying that the arms were sent to Turkmens in their fight against the Syrian government.
Claiming that the MiT-operated trucks mainly brought humanitarian aid to Turkmens, without denying that the trucks also carried weapons, Erdogan admitted that Turkey also offered military training to Turkmens in Syria.
He said: and”I have always noted this: MiT is currently lending this support to Turkmens, particularly in the context of humanitarian relief. andhellip Here, a frank person must declare the training we have provided to them. andhellip We will continue to lend them all the support we can muster.and”
According to the dailyand’s report on Friday, there were six steel containers in the trucks that contained a total of 1,000 artillery shells, 50,000 machine gun rounds, 30,000 heavy machine gun rounds and 1,000 mortar shells. All this is included in the prosecutorand’s file about the MiT truck case, the report said.
Upon publication of the story, the Istanbul Chief Prosecutorand’s Office on the same day launched two investigations of the dailyand’s editor-in-chief regarding crimes committed by revealing state secrets and spying. A gag order was also issued by a court on all publications regarding MiT trucks.
Dandundar of the Cumhuriyet defended on Monday the dailyand’s position in an editorial titled and”We are not civil servants who are supposed to keep state secrets, but rather journalists.and”
Noting that as they practice their profession, journalists defend in most cases the rights of the public against the state, Dandundar said: and”A daily should demonstrate without fear, without being intimidated, the faults of the state, will perform its duty of monitoring on behalf of the public. As such, this is in the interest of the state, the people and the media.and”
Erdogan also claimed in the broadcast that the daily got the figures about the number of weapons in the trucks, which he said to be incorrect, from what he described as a andquotparallel structure,andquot a term that refers to the faith-based Gandulen — or Hizmet — movement.
The AK Party government and Erdogan, who have been targeting the movement since two sweeping graft probes went public in December of 2013, claim, without providing any solid evidence, that the probes were a coup attempt by sympathizers of the movement in the judiciary and the police against the government.
Both have also accused the movement, which is inspired by Fethullah Gandulen, a Turkish Islamist scholar, of spying and treason.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu said during an election rally on Saturday that it is and”none of anybodyand’s businessand” what the trucks contained, indirectly admitting that the trucks contained weapons.
In reference to the dailyand’s report, the prime minister said: and”Yes, I am saying this without any hesitation, that aid was going to Turkmens.and”
Davutoilu added: and”There will be a war next door and we will watch our Turkmen, Arab and Kurdish brothers being massacred. Really?and”

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman