GeriGündem Ertugrul Ozkok: How Hurriyet published news on the Deniz Feneri case
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Ertugrul Ozkok: How Hurriyet published news on the Deniz Feneri case

After the ruling in the Deniz Feneri case was announced in Frankfurt, I went into my office and closed the door.

What is the biggest joy a journalist can experience?


Official proof of the truth to any news story that he relentlessly published for days.


Even if the prime minister of the country starts a war against that newspaper and its owner, at that point in time, the journalist feels "this is my time".


If someone says, "I do not feel that way" - obviously he is lying.


I sat and listened to music for a while. 


It appeased the sense of turmoil raging inside me.


For days we had been blamed for "writing intentional headlines".


Yesterday’s court ruling was proof that our headlines were not deliberate.


I feel responsible and accountable to my readers, not to the slanderers.


* * *


I was chatting with the friends from the editorial office the day before yesterday, after I putting the paper to bed.


Our news manager, Necdet Dogan, turning to the junior editors, said, "I also hold some responsibility for the attacks against us".


Then he explained how the Denzi Feneri stories made the headlines.


It was a slow news day.


We had no headline story and it was already 4:00 p.m.


While we were all squirming around, Necdet Dogan said, "The Deniz Feneri case had just begun to be noticed. There is nothing about that issue on the agenda. If you like, we can ask?"


Our junior editor, Bulent Mumay, who is responsible for Germany, immediately jumped up and said: "Some information about the case has just come to hand. One of the suspects has made a confession."


We put the story to the headline, after we looked at the information available, and discussed it for three minutes.


"The handcuffed confessions in Deniz Feneri"


I swear the news stories about Deniz Feneri came to Hurriyet in just this manner.


I mean, upon the journalistic reflexes of our two colleagues.


But look at the scenarios that were created around it.


We were even unashamedly asked by some, forgetting they were journalists themselves, "How did you find the cryptos from the German embassy?"


* * *


After I started to feel that way again, I went to the editorial department.


All my friends were feeling the same way.


Together we had faced the stress and the suppression.


The reason for the barrage of insults and accusations against Aydin Dogan (the chairman of Dogan Holding, which also owns Hurriyet daily), were mostly due to the news we reported, and the headlines we published.


Under the impact of such emotion, one of our editorial friends proposed this headline:


"With your kind permission Mr. Prime Minister, we are publishing this bitter report."


We were all of the opinion of publishing a headline that reflects a reaction.


Right at that moment I recalled Aydin Dogan's "editorial edition" saying.


This was not an editorial edition but, "this was totally humanitarian therapy."


The common mind won the battle as usual.


We said, "No."


It would be a huge mistake to satisfy our anger by attempting to take revenge from those that have insulted and defamed us.


We should continue our regular business of journalism.


The editorial was struggling to catch the unique angle to the news and then take it one step further, as usual.


At this point, somewhat conceitedly, I used my position as editor-in-chief.


I said, stop right here and don't search for a unique angle to the news, "Publish exactly what happened yesterday as the headline. In its most effective form."


The case had concluded.


The suspects were sentenced to prison terms ranging from two and six years.


In handing down the ruling in his address to the court the judge had made perfectly clear the case of the fraud in Turkey.


This is the best way to celebrate the victory for journalists that have worked in such stressful surrounds.


It was the nicest way to celebrate an achievement for a journalist who works under fire and slander.


Giving it exactly as it happened on that day.


And looking saying, "Who is next?"


To the address delivered by the judge, I mean.


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