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Turkish Media Under Influence: Ruşen Çakır and the Ergenekon Narrative – A Critical Preface”

“Speak of the devil, and his horns appear!” Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I wasn’t planning to write such an article. Or more precisely, I thought it unnecessary to open a discussion on this topic as I knew that my younger colleagues would eventually write about the things I will mention here, if not now then in the near future.

However, the reaction of many members of the [religious] Community to this topic, and their attempts to turn the conversation into a narrative of being “lynched”, made it necessary for me to say a few words.

I believe that Turkey’s current situation is partly due to not taking the Ergenekon ( Turkish Deep State, mostly known as “Special Warfare Department” which dates back to Cold War Era) issue seriously (although it may not be much talked about these days). If these trials had not been diluted at the time or if mistakes had not been made, perhaps Turkey could have been at a very different point today, and Tayyip Erdoğan could have been remembered as a hero of Muslim democracy.

In this article, I’m neither trying to atone for anyone’s sins nor to create material for interrogation.

I think that this organization (Ergenekon) is one of the, if not the only, major responsible parties for the situation that today’s Turkey is in. And I’m as sure as my name that the current scenario was planned a long time ago. The statement of a lady lawyer, who once defended people in this case, saying, “The name lists were prepared ten years ago with the team of Doğu Perinçek,” is probably one of the clearest proofs of this.

The Ergenekon terrorist organization used to work with numerous overt and covert, active/volunteer personnel in areas like military, security, and intelligence. While some of them willingly played a role in this affair, others were genuinely trying to do what was asked of them for the sake of the nation. Some were talented. But there was also a team of jackals, especially in Ergenekon’s media wing.

You see elements like Nedim Şener.

Giving files prepared for low-profile flatterers like Zübeyr Kandıra, Ergün Poyraz to write books was an Ergenekon tradition. It still is, as publishing houses like ‘Kırmızı Kedi’ continue to produce fervently for this organization.

I know that Necip Hablemitoğlu, may he rest in peace, was also killed as a result of a media operation by this team. The government probably knows this too, and continues with its own thefts by occasionally pulling and releasing the leash of Ergenekon’s current corpses.

They tried to make Necip Hablemitoğlu write a book by giving him a fabricated report. The moment he learned he was being used, he realized it. I think the order for his death was given after that. They meticulously filtered out the truth from the nonsense they called “Hablemitoğlu’s missing book.” I believe that his dear wife Şengül knows all the truths but is too scared to utter a single word.

There is a scene in my mind regarding the Ergenekon investigations. I remember when the prosecutor’s office prepared and presented the indictment, NTV at the time broadcasted it for hours without exaggeration.

I remember a journalist still active in this profession, Mirgün Cabas, and Ruşen Çakır squirming on the screen, trying to discredit the indictment. For some reason, since that day, the name Ruşen Çakır has remained in my mind as an icon. A few years later, something very interesting happened.

A highly equipped friend who had worked in the bureaucracy left the state to work in our newspaper. He had come from Ankara.

While eating trileçe in the newspaper’s cafeteria, he shared an interesting detail with me.

It turns out he knew Ruşen Çakır. When Çakır learned that this friend was going to work at Zaman, he tried to scare him by saying, “Don’t go to them, they are bad people!” The friend said, “I knew the people Oya Çakır had close contact with and Çakır himself seemed to me to be the scary one.”

One of the people Ruşen Çakır had close contact with was Hanefi Avcı, who was the police chief in Eskişehir at the time and known for his tortures in the east. Avcı had been the undisputed prince of the conservative media, especially close to the Gülen Community, for a long time. Journalists in criminal and political reporting almost spoke to him daily. Avcı, with a sudden move, added an extra 40-50 pages to his memoir book.

Ergenekon naturally assigned elements like Nedim Şener and Ruşen Çakır to closely follow this matter. They tried to use the same method on Mehmet Baransu, who had been very close to Hanefi Avcı for years and had been imprisoned due to Ergenekon’s special tyranny. However, when Avcı realized he couldn’t sway Baransu, he went as far as breaking his recorder and ended the interview abruptly.

Those who know Mehmet Baransu know, if he believes in something, he won’t stop even if you behead him. Indeed, Baransu thoroughly dissected Avcı’s book, “Haliç’te Yaşayan Simonlar,” which had the last fifty pages added, and wrote his own perspective in a book titled “Monsieur.”

There was interesting activity in the Ergenekon media just before the controversial publication of Hanefi Avcı’s book. Nedim Şener and Ruşen Çakır were almost daily traveling to Eskişehir, apparently consulting with Avcı on how the book’s launch would be handled.

Indeed, even before the book was printed, Şener in Hürriyet and Çakır in Vatan had published Hanefi Avcı’s book extensively. However, there was an interesting situation; both of these elements had received the Word document of the book much before its printing and removed marked parts from it. Therefore, the page numbers they put in the newspaper did not match the page numbers of the book that would be published soon. These two clever journalists had published the page numbers of the Word document as if they were book pages.

I wrote an article about this journalistic disgrace at the time.

Ruşen Çakır didn’t know about social media back then. However, probably through his colleague Mirgün Cabas, Çakır was informed about the discussions of my article on social media. I was at home when my phone rang. It was Ruşen Çakır. He was very angry and upset.

I sincerely told him, “If you point out the inaccuracies in my article, I will correct them.” He said to me exactly this, “Why did you use my name next to Nedim Şener in the same article?”

I was very surprised…

Because the news in Hürriyet and Vatan were almost carbon copies of each other.

Later, unable to control his anger, he started to threaten. The striking thing was that he kept saying, “I am a Muslim too, brother!” in between.

That day on the phone, he didn’t point out any mistakes in my article. He ended the call with somewhat grudging, angry, and somewhat threatening sentences. Since that day, whenever the Gülen Community was mentioned, it never surprised me to see Ruşen Çakır go berserk.

I saw his last speech that way too. Frankly, I didn’t care about Çakır at all.

Moreover, he couldn’t even respond to very serious allegations against him; instead, he constantly vomited his hatred for the Hizmet Movement whenever he got the chance. When he was responded to, he whined, “They are lynching me!”

Çakır, officially revealed to be funded by the USA through official documents, saying that the Community is protected by the USA was the very definition of irony. Until 2020, about 500,000 dollars had flowed to Çakır from the US-based Chrest Foundation. I guess that amount is probably three to five times as much today. Çakır was receiving support not only from the American foundation but also from places like SIDA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. The strange part was that it was him who had signed news criticizing journalists like himself years ago.

As I said, knowing the goods, I never watch any of Ruşen Çakır’s broadcasts and don’t give a fig when I come across them. Because we’re not dealing with an honest and conscientious journalist, not even an honest and conscientious person!

However, many followers of the Gülen Community on social media respond to him, thereby greasing his bread with “victim literature.”

In the video of Ruşen Çakır that was mentioned and received backlash, he was trying to make a distinction by saying, “Gülen and his circle are bad, the base of the community is good!” He was saying, “Leave them!” just like he said years ago to the journalist who came from the bureaucracy. This time, however, he had foreign funds and the Palace behind him, and the argument “They are bad!” was not enough; there was also a threat, “You will disappear!”

Not only is Ruşen Çakır a bad journalist, but he is also a very, very bad person. He is heartless, cowardly, and worst of all, merciless. If he were sincere in what he says, if he didn’t hate the grassroots of the Movement even as much as a grain of wheat, he would have stood firm against at least one of the hundreds, thousands of crimes against humanity that have occurred to date, showing a sign of conscience. However, on the contrary, I have heard from his close ones that he always feels a cold satisfaction, saying ‘good, it’s happening.’

He is vindictive, brutal, and unfortunately ignorant. Because he is unaware of this sociological fact.

Yes, you may hate the Hizmet Movement. But at least you should know this; the weakest social group in the world never disappears, never. For thousands of years, whether it’s three people or five, they always continue. The problem with the Movement is not whether it will end or not, but how it will continue to exist from now on. You cannot completely eradicate the Gülen Movement or any other community in the world, even if you unite all the powers of the world. This is contrary to the nature of things. Go to any part of the world today and you will see what sects, what orders have existed for thousands of years, communities that consider even insects and bugs sacred for thousands of years!

Of course, if your hatred blinds you like Ruşen Çakır, you end up talking nonsense, unfortunately.

Final word; spinelessness is terrible, you can’t even take the shape of the container you’re in!”

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