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    Ertugrul Ozkok: Here is some insider gossip for you

    Hürriyet Haber
    06.05.2008 - 12:12 | Son Güncelleme:

    Since I was abroad over the weekend I did not have the opportunity to address the recent goings on in Turkey.

    On my return, I noticed that everyone was talking about a dinner party hosted at the home of Can Paker, head of a Turkish think-tank.
    Naturally this also drew my attention. 

    First of all, I checked out who had attended.

    I discovered that of the gathering, three were from the daily, Sabah.

    Ergun Babahan, Mehmet Barlas and Nazli Ilicak.

    Three were invited from the Dogan Group.
    Taha Akyol, Hasan Cemal ve Cengiz Candar.

    Two attended from Milliyet daily and one from Referans daily.

    Mustafa Karaalioglu from Star daily was also among the attendees.

    It was rather is obvious that nobody from Hurriyet daily was invited.


    All politicians are free to make their own decisions and have every right to choose the journalists to he wants to talk to.

    This is why I never criticize these kinds of choices.
    If I see that this choice was motivated by a generalized excessive level of anger and indignation, then I will have to rethink this stance.

    If this is the motivation behind this decision, then it reveals a lack of true understanding of democracy and pluralism.

    And if this is the case, it paints a not so positive portrait of Erdogan.


    * * *

    Let me tell you what one of the attendees told me about what Erdogan said on the controversial subject of the Sabah-ATV media group's sale:

    "Some say that, I have been involved in sale process, but I have not. Anyway, it was sold at a very high price. If I had been involved the sale it would have been cheaper."
    What this means is that the PM thinks that should he so desire, he could be involved in the sale process of a company chaired by his son-in-law.

    Had I been there, I would have reminded of the following:  

    What did Istanbul’s AKP deputy Huseyin Besli, who is very close to the prime minister, say in regard to the no-confidence motion brought against former PM Mesut Yilmaz on April 27, 2004?

    Former PM Mesut Yilmaz, in his statement to the commission, accepted that he had orientated those conducting the tender and the tender qualifiers.

    "But it is impossible for any authority, individual or member of the executive authority to assume to be above the tender commission. Whatever the aim and procedure of the tender, any efforts by the Prime Minister or party ministers to bypass the commission and discuss the details and price of the tender with the qualifiers, is a move outside of the law."
    Let me remind on another small point.
    Mesut Yilmaz had explained the reason for his involvement in the tender:
    "To raise the level of the minimum bid price."
    The Supreme Court had not accepted this explanation; even if the State had profited.

    So I ask: Is it possible to accept that intervention in a tender to lessen its price is lawful and ethical?
    For this reason, it would have been very beneficial to invite journalists who can remind of past incidents.

    Those politicians of the past, who came to power with 60 percent public support, needed this reminder.
    Those who came to power with 47 percent support also need to be reminded.

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