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‘Braking’ news time for Erdogan regime

Don’t condemn me yet for breaking the global news messaging style. Please hold on. I don’t suffer from malapropism. As cub reporters in our old analog newsrooms, we had “scoops”. In very rare cases, like when man landed on the moon or U.S. President J. F. Kennedy was assassinated, we had “stop-press” – something near today’s digital age “breaking news”. 

The reason is clear. At the present terrific speed communication, chances of even being beaten to own stories (scoops) are high. So, it’s risky for media houses to count on scoops. But, going by the digital associated cliché, and borrowing a little from George Orwell’s Animal Farm,“all breaking news items are equal; but some are more equal than others”. These assume the ‘braking’ dimension.

For about half a decade, the government of Turkey has been laboring hard to make the world believe and get convinced that the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt was engineered by U.S.-exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen via his Hizmet Movement and its sympathizers in all spheres of Turkish life.

And it is on this strength that the Turkey government, under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Justice and Development (AKP) party, has based its actions of bringing some of its perceived dissidents down on their knees and setting others on their heels fleeing for their life. The situation on the ground ceases to be a joke when data shows about one third of the population would prefer to live out of Erdogan’s sight.  

Internally, family bread earners have not only lost jobs. They have been subjected to arrests, detentions, forced disappearances, prosecutions attracting long and life sentences with hard labour and persecutions bordering on violations of human rights, the likes of cases before the European Court for Human Rights (EUCHR). The majority of cases before the court emanate from Turkey.

Turkey has even mounted cross-border abductions of its perceived dissidents through joint and sometimes unilateral intelligence operations. All along, the government has been portraying itself as fighting terrorists, some of whom are of the government’s own categorization.

In Turkey, to be or not to be a terrorist is relative. This is why we have people like Fethullah Gulen classified as terrorist and efforts have been put in to have him extradited to Turkey to face charges of masterminding the failed coup.

Now the world knows for certain. In a revelation made by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s close ally, the Gulen Movement was not the brain behind that coup. That is more than “breaking news” if there is still a grain of conscience remaining in the government rulers of Turkey. Light has dawned on their hidden operations.

Immediately, the question that arises from the revelation is: “So, who could have hatched this orchestrated ‘coup’ that is said to have left 250 innocent Turkish people dead and in its aftermath human rights violations are being committed with impunity?”

This revelation clears ambiguities surrounding the Turkey government coup version which had, until then, remained a puzzle with lots of unexplained space and time conflicts. Another indicator was the speed at which arrests were made. They were too fast and accurate to be a product of an after ‘crime’ investigation.

On this premise, the revelation qualifies to pass as ‘braking news’ in media outlets. It is more than the fashionable “breaking news”. Why?  The manner and matter of action of the Turkish Government has demonstrated not only lack of the sense of belonging but also a high degree of only-the-self-to-celebrate necessitating moral revalidation.

This explains why the whole world should descend on the Turkey regime and force it to apply brakes on its human rights violations, if not abandon them altogether – the ‘braking news’.

Turkey is in dire need of moral resuscitations in almost every sphere of social, economic, political and even religious life. Normally one would have expected an institution like the Directorate of Religious Affairs (DIYANET) to play this vital role. But, the ‘doctor’ in the case of Turkey is sick. An equivalent of the situation is traceable in scriptures in reference to rotten salt. There is little one can do about it. The scriptures in fact suggest throwing it away.

At the height of human rights violations in Turkey, DIYANET is home to proclamations belittling child abuse and violence against women.  As a result, the rights of the child and women are trampled upon. Children are held in jail with their mothers. Turkey has born-and-bred in jail children from whom it expects to make responsible citizens.

 I’ll never forget the story of eight or nine-year old Ahmet who died of cancer because he was refused chance to have free medical treatment in Germany. And the major cause is that his father was among Gulenists. What did the government achieve in this?   

Turkey, shamelessly, has conducted strip searches on women and female university students. Prison warders (irrespective of their gender) stand guard in hospital maternity wards, waiting for mothers to deliver and take them back to jail with their infants after delivery, at the first opportunity.

At the time when the common person in Turkey is facing economic hardships, DIYANET officials are reported to be riding in luxury cars. Available data puts the institution’s annual budget running to the tune of $ 1.75billion, outstripping the funding of the interior and foreign ministries put together.

One can write an end-open litany of human rights violations and malfunctions taking place in Turkey. But the central issue, after the revelation made by President Erdogan’s ally, remains the wrong premise on which the government is run. Sincerity is lacking. Gulen and the Hizmet Movement do not constitute the cause of the problems afflicting the country.

The Erdogan regime must look inside, critically examine itself and heed what the U.S. Senate, under the Joe Bidden Administration, has called for. The Turkey government has no justification whatsoever for what it is doing to perceived dissidents. Turkey cannot eat the justice and good governance cake and allege theft claims against somebody who lives thousands of kilometres away or his perceived relations and sympathizers, wherever they are on all continents.

The very reliable news that the Turkey regime has all along cheated the world on the 2016 coup to justify the unjustifiable should translate into ‘braking news’ on all malpractices in Turkey – starting with abandoning ambivalent human rights abuses. First and foremost, prison gates must be opened to allow all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience regain their freedom. People facing prosecutions based on trumped up charges must be acquitted without conditions.

Turkey must be made to go back on the justice and good governance track. The free world wants those servicemen and women, prosecutors, judges, teachers, professors, journalists, human rights activists, mothers and children held wrongly in jail back.  This is the ‘braking’ news time for Erdogan.

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Felix Kaiza is a Tanzanian journalist with more than 50 years of experience currently working as an independent media consultant. Learned in agriculture, journalism, political science and international relations, his main fields of consultancy, besides the media, are good governance, nature conservation, tourism and investment. He was the first Tanzanian Chief Sub-Editor of an English daily newspaper in 1970, he has been behind the establishment and growth of the national independent media since the early 1990s. He is UNFAO Fellow Journalist since 1975 and has wide experience on regional integration. He worked on the Information Directorate of the original East African Community on whose ashes survive the current one. His ambition is to brand Tanzania in the inbound market with made-in-Tanzania brands, including information, almost all of which is currently foreign brewed.

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