Ertuğrul Özkök - English

God saves me

5 Haziran 2009
A former military intelligence member wanted to have a private conversation with me recently. "I have very important information," he said. He had documents about the personal spending of government deputies, some of whom sent their personal bills to Parliament. All documents are real.

And the former intelligence member wants to sell us this information.

Now, wear my shoes. You are daily Hürriyet'’s editor-in-chief. And you have this information being offered to you. Do you buy it? Or do you think "I should stay away from trouble"?

Paying some money for a piece of information is against our principles. But this is a big story in journalistic aspects. Principles are on one side, a big story and public interest are on the other.

I think I could’ve done this in the following way: First, I could’ve tried to obtain them without paying a penny, or bargain for them.

All right, but can I publish them? I mean, can I stand against the governing party and its deputies? I could’ve done it without a blink. Now, let’s forget about all and speak the truth.

The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, deputies should relax now. There was no such dossier presented to me.

But the British Daily Telegraph’s editor-in-chief was handed a similar file in recent weeks.

What did he do? He did what I could’ve done, and published them. Since then, the paper’s daily circulation is over 60,000.

Eventually, pro-government parties had to be involved in this. And 14 deputies and four ministers resigned.

The parliamentary majority group leader was removed from office. All this took place within three weeks.

Now, let’s make a small comparison here. What happened to the Daily Telegraph’s editor-in-chief after he published the documents?

He became a big journalist.

Did the government send tax officers after him and fine him 1 billion Sterling?

In pluralist democracies, no politician ever does think about it.

What about us?

We published the court story of the Lighthouse e.V. scandal in Germany. Isn’t exploitation of religion and siphoning money for a charity organization a crime or a sin equally important as sending personal bills to Parliament?

What happened to us? Forget about politicians, even the bureaucrat who is the number one responsible insists on not resigning.

What happened to Hürriyet? On the same day, at the very same hour, seven of our companies were visited by 70 finance inspectors

And the entire world knows the result. Then, let’s find the only difference between the two countries. A shame of democracy and cultural differenceÉ

In conclusion, God saved me and I am not being served documents on deputies or ministers.If I were, I would’ve published them accidentally.

Then, Doğan Holding owner Aydın Doğan and companies would have paid the price.

We published the Lighthouse scandal and our lives turned upside down. For Pete’s sake! What if we have to publish stories about ministers and politicians who are involved in this scandal?

May God save us...

Ertuğrul Özkök is editor-in-chief of daily Hürriyet in which this piece appeared yesterday. It was translated into English by the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review's staff.
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Dangerous connections

24 Şubat 2009
Let’s look at the details if you believe that the devils is hidden within them.

Soner Gedik, the chief financial officer of the Dogan Media Group, made a statement in defense of the unfair tax levy imposed on the group.


Who responded to the statements made by Gedik?


Did the Finance Ministry, responsible for imposing the levy, respond?




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Not a tax fine but a punishment

19 Şubat 2009
I did not write an article yesterday. Because I spent my entire day reading the reports on the tax fine effected against the Dogan Media Group.

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Who won the war in Gaza?

10 Şubat 2009
The AFP newsagency reported a very interesting piece of news on February 5 that was also published in Hurriyet daily the following day.

I didn't check to see how the other newspapers covered it. 


An institution, known as the "Jerusalem Media and Communication Center", conducted a survey in both Gaza and the West Bank following to the recent Israeli offensive.


It is an Israeli institution.


One of the questions asked in the survey was this:


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The difference between sect and the people’s newspapers in Turkey

5 Şubat 2009
I asked in a recent article “if the rise in pride is equal to an 8 percent rise in votes”.

I will ask the same question of the newspapers today.


"How much do newspapers gain from stoking the nation’s pride?"


In other words, by how much was the circulation of newspapers effected by this?


Or, let me put the question another way:


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Who will support that particular remark made by the Turkish prime minister

4 Şubat 2009
For most of us Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan produced a sense of “relief” in our spirits; have we been able to relax?

If so, it is now time to consider things that would relax our minds and our sense of reason.


The storming off the stage was done and was said is said.


And there is no reason to continue discussion of the issue as being either right or wrong.


But the reality remains and the remarks made during this series of events continue to be at the center of discussions.


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Do votes increase 8 pct in Turkey on pride stoking political acts?

3 Şubat 2009
Which one of these three "political acts" has stoked the pride of the Turkish nation more?

Turkey's military operation* in Cyprus?


The capture of PKK terrorist leader Abdullah Ocalan?


Or the storming out of a session in Davos?


Let's look to the following shift in voter support after these three political acts.


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Turkish PM could turn his Israel reaction into a historic opportunity

2 Şubat 2009
On Thursday, I wrote an article on Davos that I liked and which I saw as important. But I withdraw it from publication in the newspaper after the argument erupted between Prime Minister Erdogan and Israeli President Shimon Peres.

I did not write another one for that article. I refrain from giving knee-jerk reactions during such critical periods.


The impact of my initial feelings has passed and I can now see the incident more logically.


The moderator of the session was truly appalling. He should have moderated such a critical session more delicately.


I have known Israeli President Shimon Peres for years. He always has been the person of "moderacy". However he was extremely tense in the session. His anger increased as he spoke. The Peres I know was gone and a terrible character was sitting there.


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