Kader Sevinc - Smart Democracy & Smart Citizenship

Cem TURSUN/İSTANBUL, (DHA)

Mustafa Balbay: Your conscience is even harder than granite!
Tuncay Özkan: The Feast of Sacrifice is coming. Should I consider myself as to be sacrificed?

In the 95th hearing of the 2nd Ergenekon case, in which the retired full generals Hurşit Tolon
and Şener Eruygur are among the defendants, the claims of defendants and their advocates
were presented. The journalist, Mustafa Balbay took the floor and stated: “I present my
respects to especially Oktay Ekşi, and Gazetecilere Özgürlük Platformu (the Platform of
Freedom for Journalists).” He told the beginning of his journalism survey as an intern in the
journal called Gazete İzmir on 11th November 1980, and continued: “On the 30th anniversary
of my professional life started on 11th November 1980, the most concrete evidence of how far
we moved forward and backward in the way of the freedom of the press is the person you are
trying right now, Mustafa Balbay. We made our first steps as professionals in the oppressive
days of 12th September, worrying about whether our news would be subjected to censorship.
And I am now a detainee!”
“WHOM YOU ARE CALLING AS PANDER (DEYUS in Turkish)?”
“As a 30-year-journalist, I will continue to hold on my job” said Balbay and continued:
“On Sunday nights, I write 3 articles till 4 am. I give the open envelope to the administration
of the prison in order to be sent to the newspaper. They have never behaved badly until now.
But they misread ‘Dreyfus’ (the Dreyfus case in 1894) as ‘Deyus’ (pander) and asked,
“Whom you are calling as pander (deyus)?” The editor gets my article in 8 days and the
article is published in 10 days. I wrote today’s article last Monday. I really struggle to write an
article to be kept updated for 10 days.”
“I CRITICIZED ALL THE GOVERNMENTS”
Balbay said that the reason to start his professional life was the journalists like Oktay Ekşi,
İlhan Selçuk and Uğur Mumcu, and stated: “Without any exception, I criticized all the
governments without disregarding the main principles of this country. I criticized Tansu
Çiller, Mesut Yılmaz and Bülent Ecevit. In a meeting about the privatization of Tekel where 8
Ankara representatives of the newspapers attended, ‘I can convince all of you, but except
Balbay’ said Bülent Ecevit. About AKP government, I expressed as a journalist whatever I
thought.”
“SELF CENSOR CAUGHT BY SELF CENSOR”
Balbay reminded the European Union’s view in the Progress Report on the widespread usage
of self censor and the inability of the journalists to write their thoughts freely, and continued:
“I am here in jail due to the claim that ‘I want to take over the media’. Any newspaper
mentioned these statements included in the Report. I mean, the opinions on self-censor has
been self-censored. In that kind of an atmosphere where Oktay Ekşi, a lead-columnist, has
been lynched and censored actually, you will play an important role on the extent of the
freedom of the press in Turkey with your judgments. The course of this case creates a censor
on the future of people that want to prefer this job.”
“I WILL WRITE TILL THE LAST SECONDS OF MY LIFE”
That he has written 23 books until now, and 24th one he wrote in jail, stated Balbay, “I will
write till the last seconds of my life. Here is not the house of the prisoners; it is the house of
production… I would like the experiences of Rıfat Ilgaz, Nazım Hikmet, and Aziz Nesin to
have been imbedded in history. I have collected enough materials for at least 3 books.”
“AMONG US, WHO HAS POWER TO FOUND A COURT?”
Balbay reminded that Hayati Yazıcı, the Minister of State, claimed, “If they had succeeded,
they would have made judgments!” and continued “Among us, who has power to found a
court? If there was anyone who has enough power to stage a coup and found a court, he is not
here. To whom does Hayati Yazıcı refer?”
“OPENING TO TERRORISTS, CLOSING TO US?”
Balbay cited the sayings of the President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan ‘not to sabotage the process of peace’, and stated, “We can do everything needed for
peace. But opening to terrorists and closing to us? The government which called the terrorists
for peace is struggling to generate a terrorist organization from us”.
“THEY COULD NOT BLOCK İLHAN SELÇUK, SO THEY PUT YOU IN PRISON”
Reminding the tension observed in the last hearing between the advocate of Hüdayi Ülder,
defandant under arrest, and other advocates, Balbay stated that Ünlüer had changed his
advocate three times, and the defendants were in search of finding new advocates as the
length of detention increased. Balbay also cited the statements of his advocates Aydın Metin
and Mehmet İpek saying ‘they could not block İlhan Selçuk, so they put you in prison. They
needed to arrest someone in the newspaper, Cumhuriyet’, and continued Balbay: “I still
continue to rely on my advocates. In the middle of these unknowns, even when there is no
concrete evidence, the conscience of anyone could hear us. I’d better explain there with a
poem: ‘Your consciences are even harder than granite/To hole in it, where can we find the
favorable advocate/Like an iceberg, your consciences are indurate/To climb over it, where can
we find the favorable advocate”
“EVEN NAZLI ILICAK STARTED TO WARM UP HER CRITICISMS”
“Even Nazlı Ilıcak (who is known with her ‘hot’ and heavy criticisms against the Ergenekon
case and defendants; and Ilıcak means ‘moderate’ in Turkish) started to warm up her
criticisms.” said Balbay and added:
“They say the canteen will be closed on the Feast of Sacrifice. Open meeting will only be on
Sunday. Here, there are humans, not the ships to be sacrificed! Here, there are the oldest
members of a terrorist organization (!). The average of age is 55, and average of weight is 90.
Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone. For months, we waited for
tomorrow, at least I hope tomorrow also will come for you. You put our families, our children
in prison, too. Happy Feast of Sacrifice!”
“SHOULD I CONSIDER MYSELF AS TO BE SACRIFICED”
Tuncay Özkan stated that he found a bookmark on which there was written the words of Aşık
Veysel, in the book, which was presented by an audience. On the bookmark “You love, you
get her, and she will be your wife. You love, you cannot get her, and she will be your blind
love” read Özkan, “How can it be called when they took you from your bed with your wife
and manacled you in front of your child in the small hours? What is the name of being here
for 27 months without telling your crime?” In the course of his professional life, he always
used to call for solidarity against terrorism, stated Özkan and added; “I will be dead. The
history will remind me. Here, I cannot accept my history to be thrown away and written a new
history. How should I consider the shameful behaviors of this state against me? The Feast is
coming. How should I consider myself? As something to be sacrificed?”

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