From fierce opposition to loyal supporter

It finally seems to have completely bent to the resolve of this government. It is replacing almost all of the directors of its TV channels and newspapers. Not surprisingly, it is putting some government supporters in key positions within its media outlets.

Well, a very long campaign of intimidation and terror finally seems to have worked and the group has obeyed the will of the government.

The harassment started years ago with tax inspections that resulted in millions and millions of dollars worth of tax punishments.

The harassment and intimidation of the government has intensified in the last couple of years.

Columnists who support the government have continually threatened Aydin Dogan, the owner of the Dogan Media Group, with imprisonment, further tax penalties as well as many other things.

The Hurriyet daily, which is the group’s biggest newspaper, has been surrounded and physically attacked by mobs led by a deputy from this government.

One of Hurriyet’s most prominent columnists, Ahmet Hakan, was attacked and severely beaten in front of his house.

The media group has been verbally targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan many times.

And finally, it seems to have totally surrendered.

Do not think that it has just been changing and replacing its directors and key people. Its editorial policies have been dramatically changing, too.

No longer are critical editorial pieces targeting the government appearing in the media outlets of the Dogan group.

Well, we can understand. It is seeing so many “deterring” examples around.

The editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet together with the Ankara representative of the same newspaper are now in Silivri Prison just for publishing news that angered the government. Not only them, but the CEO of the Samanyolu Broadcasting Group, Hidayet Karaca, has long been kept in Silivri Prison for allegedly trying to manipulate the police with TV shows airing on the group’s TV channels.

Well, as if these were not enough, Dogan media saw with its own eyes how quickly and easily two giant business groups were practically seized by the government. We know that the İpek Media Group and Kaynak Holding are now being administered by government-appointed trustees.

So we can understand that Dogan media and its columnists have been very much intimidated. And it is now trying to protect itself by changing its editorial policies and replacing its staff with outsiders who are close to the government.

However, there have been certain developments that have made me feel deep sadness and pity.

I can now see that some of their columnists have all of a sudden started to come forward with suggestions that are 100 percent in contradiction with their former positions.

For example, one of the most prominent columnists of Hurriyet, who previously fiercely opposed the presidential system, has turned into one of its leading advocates. He regularly writes articles trying to convince all of us how wonderful the new presidential system would be in Turkey.

I can understand them softening their opposing stances and so on, but I cannot understand how they are turning from staunch opposition to being advocates of the desires and dreams of this government and the president.

It is really too much to be exposed to these “sudden” and “absolute” changes in political opinion and position regarding this government. It is heartbreaking to see these dramatic changes in the media.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN