Imprisoning Bulent KeneI

President Recep Tayyip Erdoganand’s judges have sentenced this newspaperand’s Editor-in-Chief Dr. Bandulent Kenei to 21 months imprisonment over a tweet. The so-called judges claim that Kenei has insulted Erdogan.
Firstly, Kenei did not mention any name in his tweet. It is so nice to see that Mr. Erdogan accepts that the definition and description in the tweeted message squarely fit him! Secondly, what Kenei wrote is not even heavy criticism. Normally, even for ordinary people, one can use such words and they are not punished. As you know, for the powerful figures such as politicians, the threshold of criticism is usually much higher. What could be described as an insult to an ordinary person is accepted as legitimate criticism against politicians, for they control huge power such as the army, police, intelligence, media etc. while citizens have only words to use against politicians.
It is so sad to repeat this democracy 101 or human rights 101 information in a country that has not democratically matured enough. Dr. Kenei is only a journalist and he is a very good one indeed. He has established and managed Todayand’s Zaman and has made it a high quality newspaper. I have been writing for Todayand’s Zaman since it began and unlike the usual practice he has not once interfered with what I have written. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been trying to get me fired from this newspaper for the past five years and he has never succumbed to their despotic wishes. Kenei, myself and a few other columnists at the paper have been criticizing the AKP since 2009 when we started to realize that democratization was not the partyand’s real intention. The signs were visible for those who cared to look and see that after winning the presidency and removing coup threats, the AKP gradually and very slowly froze the democratization process and instead focused on the monopolization of power. Our archive is available and open to everyone on the Internet. You can see that whenever we felt that the AKP was no longer pro-democratization, we started politely criticizing them. That is why AKP leaders simply hate Todayand’s Zaman and its Editor-in-Chief Bandulent Kenei. They did not want to accept the fact that what we have been doing is simply journalism and like a mirror, we have only been reflecting what it is there. They kept claiming that we are foreign agents. According to them I am simultaneously working for CIA, MI6 and MOSSAD. Dr. Kenei is apparently more versatile and he also works for the BND, FSA and more. Just because we resisted being the AKPand’s mouthpiece and part of its propaganda machine, the party thinks that it is fair game for them to use anything to tarnish our prestige and credibility. We have heard inside information that AKP officials hate Kenei and me so much that they would be delighted to see us tortured in prison. A few years ago, well before the Dec. 17 and 25 corruption crisis, one of Erdoganand’s aisors told a friend of ours that and”even God will not be able to save Ihsan Yilmaz from my wrathand”. When it comes to rhetoric, these guys claim that they are Muslims but look at what they think about God! Dr. Kenei is already a hero of Turkish democracy. Thus, he does not need to be a hero by being imprisoned! On the other hand, imprisoning a journalist over a critical tweet once again shows the true colors of the President Erdogan-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu regime. I feel egoistically happy that our criticism of the AKP was neither an overreaction nor an exaggeration. On the contrary, I am upset with myself and now wish that I were harsher in my previous criticisms.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman