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‘Journalist’: the curious case of Mustafa Balbay

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Let us examine the most spectacular case to date: the curious case of Mustafa Balbay.

I do hope you read his story in today’s paper. A colleague (daily Cumhuriyet) and a suspect in the Ergenekon case, Balbay, earlier taken into interrogation for alleged activities for being part of a terrorist organization with the aim of overthrowing the constitutional order and toppling the government, was recently detained again.

Immediately after the arrest, protests were heard: How dare you arrest a man who does his job, some columnists objected. Some of Balbay’s documents were taken to the prosecutor’s office and the protesters argued that he was entitled to keep secret documents at home. What’s wrong with that? some of his colleagues asked. Then, the entire episode developed into an action: A group of columnists gathered some days ago in what they call a "historic act" at Cumhuriyet and signed Balbay’s books for the public. "We are all Balbay!" they declared. According to the Press Council’s chairman, Oktay Ekşi, this act was to "defend the freedom of expression."

Then, on Monday, the Tempo weekly published the diaries of Balbay. He thought he had deleted them before the police raid and was surprised when the police told him that they had "saved" the entire text.

It is a document of shame: As you can read today, the diaries tell how deeply a "journalist" was involved in clandestine activity — as an accomplice, not as a covert reporter — to provoke top military officials to a coup.

"We are all Balbay," claimed the signatories: Ironically, it is true. The tragic fact is that when I look at them, I see only a mental impasse. The precedent they set in their capacity as leaders of journalistic organizations allows the invasion of Balbays to continue.

By the way, Chairman of the Press Council Ekşi is well known for his constant efforts in the 1990s to issue report after report to refute international organizations as CPJ, Reporters sans frontières, etc., which published lists of jailed journalists. Ekşi fully devoted his energies to tell them they were "terrorists," not "journalists." Those poor colleagues worked for small, leftist and fundamentalist journals. They were not entitled to be Balbays.

Arınç’s words, Balbay’s notes

In Columnists

As you may remember, former Parliament Speaker and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) parliamentary group leader Bülent Arınç was improperly criticized for a speech he delivered in Van on March 11 by Gen. Metin Gürak, who held a weekly press conference on behalf of the General Staff on Friday.

Journalist ’diaries’ enter Ergenekon lore

‘We are all Balbay!’

By SABAH NAZLI ILICAK on Turkish Press Review

And now, following the commotion over retired Gen. Özden Örnek’s private journal, we also have access to Mustafa Balbay’s notes on coup plans. Just like Örnek, Balbay thought that his notes had been erased, but clearly some were retrieved.

Dear diary…

By ZAMAN MUSTAFA ÜNAL on Turkish Press Review

I read the diary belonging to Cumhuriyet columnist Mustafa Balbay carefully. In it, he confirms the various scenarios whispered about in the political back corridors of Ankara after the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came to power.

We are not Balbay

In Columnists

The Milliyet daily’s headline on Tuesday declared that there is no turning back in the Ergenekon case. When the notes kept by Cumhuriyet daily’s Ankara representative and columnist Mustafa Balbay concerning his meetings with generals between 2002 and 2005 were posted on the Internet, everything suddenly changed.

Balbay’s coup diary

In Columnists

A police investigation of a computer used by Cumhuriyet daily Bureau Chief Mustafa Balbay has revealed that the journalist was keeping a journal of his talks with several individuals, including army generals, journalists and union leaders, most of whom are currently suspects in the trial against Ergenekon, a shadowy criminal network with alleged links within the state and suspected of plotting to topple the government, in which they talk about plans to stage a coup.

 

 

O God! Let these be lies

By BUGÜN ERHAN BAŞYURT on Turkish Press Review

Tuncay Güney, who is considered a man who knows too much about Ergenekon, stated that Ergenekon had used wells in Silopi that belonged to the state-owned Turkish Pipeline Corporation (BOTAŞ) to bury the dead bodies of people killed in mysterious murders.

Are you all Balbay?

In Columnists

It is sad to see that Cumhuriyet daily Ankara Representative Mustafa Balbay has been arrested in connection with the ongoing Ergenekon investigation.

Military draws criticism for spat with Arınç

In Columnists

Former Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç, an outspoken politician who from time to time becomes the center of polemics for his sharp, strongly worded statements, provoked a spat with the General Staff when he criticized some retired generals charged with plotting against the government in the ongoing trial of Ergenekon, a clandestine crime network which has alleged links within the state.

Ergenekon spouse to testify on voice recording
Today’s Zaman, Turkey
Şener Eruygur, a suspect in the ongoing trial against Ergenekon, a clandestine terrorist organization charged with attempting to foment chaos and undermine stability in order to trigger a coup, will testify at the İstanbul’s Prosecutor’s Office today

Ergenekon’s death wells
Today’s Zaman, Turkey
The lives that were destroyed in the wells of Ergenekon are not only the lives of those murdered, but also those of their relatives, whose agony is never ending. Their common wish is “justice” and a “grave to say prayers for. 

 

Turkey confronts its mistakes with Ergenekon trial

In Columnists

The second indictment in the trial against the Ergenekon terror organization, a shadowy criminal network with alleged links to the state suspected of plotting to topple the government, was submitted to a court on Tuesday.

Lessons from the Ergenekon case by ATİLLA YAYLA

In Op-Ed

I think the Ergenekon case is one of the most important political and legal developments since the transition to democracy in 1950. The outcome and results of this case will strongly affect the country’s future. 

Alevis’ response to Ergenekon

In Columnists

There is an important development in the Ergenekon trial. Alevis and Kurdish citizens seeking effective action to address the unresolved murders in the Southeast declared that the ongoing investigation concerns them.

General’s Letters As Smoking Gun: Interference In The Judicial Process

By Jenny White on Turkish military and the judicial system

Over the past week, several newspapers have made public letters allegedly written by General &C
cedi
l;evik Bir, the deputy chief of general staff at the time of the “Feb. 28 process,” an unarmed military intervention in 1997 that overthrew the coalition government led by Necmettin Erbakan of the Welfare Party (RP), now banned. 

Dozens charged over Turkey ‘plot’

State prosecutors in Turkey charge a further 56 people over an alleged ultra-nationalist coup plot.

Turkish prosecutors file second indictment in Ergenekon case

Turkish prosecutors filed the long-awaited additional indictment for the controversial Ergenekon case in an Istanbul court on Tuesday.

Second indictment arrives before Obama

In Columnists

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s one-day trip to Turkey ended with a surprise. President Barack Obama will be in Turkey between April 6 and 7. The meaning of this visit and the messages implied by it are of course significant. I want to draw attention to two issues.

Ergenekon’s second indictment

In Columnists

The second indictment in the trial of Ergenekon, a crime network that has links within the state and is suspected of plotting to topple the government, was submitted to the court by the İstanbul Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday.

Turkish court arrests journalists in controversial Ergenekon probe

A Turkish court ordered the arrest Friday of the Ankara representative of the leftist Cumhuriyet daily Mustafa Balbay and internet publisher Neriman Aydin under the country’s controversial Ergenekon probe, Dogan News Agency reported.

Police suicide unexplained

ANKARA – Police Special Operations Chief Behçet Oktay killed himself in his car yesterday. The exact reason for the suicide is unknown, but there were reports that he was upset about a new appointment to his post."

Is the Ergenekon probe revenge for Feb. 28?

In Columnists

An argument frequently employed by those groups who in the past volunteered their support for the Feb. 28 postmodern military coup and are now fighting fiercely against the probe into the Ergenekon terrorist organization is, "Ergenekon is revenge for the Feb. 28 process."

Ergenekon a personal threat, says PM Erdoğan

ANKARA – The prime minister claimed he has been threatened by the alleged Ergenekon gang from inside and outside the country, in an interview with the private Kanal 24 channel late Wednesday.

Is this an acceptable statement?

In Columnists

Ten days have passed. Yes, 10 full days. Ten days have passed since the latest voice recording that is said to be of former Chief of General Staff Gen. İsmail Hakkı Karadayı was posted on the Internet, but still no action has been taken. In the past, there were other voice recordings that featured Karadayı.

Why does nothing happen in Turkey?

In Columnists

The second indictment concerning the Ergenekon terrorist organization, which can be traced back to all suspicious incidents in Turkey’s recent past, is expected to be made public in the coming days.

The problem of the military persists

By MILLIYET HASAN CEMAL on Turkish Press Review

Some say that the period of military coups has ended in Turkey. What they probably mean by "military coups" may be the definition of a classic coup in which tanks take to the streets, right?

A GATA trick in Ergenekon

By SABAH MAHMUT ÖVÜR on Turkish Press Review

What are Fethullah Gülen’s views on the controversial Ergenekon terror organization case, which has sparked concern over how far the organization’s links may reach?

Wall Street Journal comments on Ergenekon case

By Turkish Digest

"Wall Street Journal comments on Ergenekon case

The second indictment in the Ergenekon investigation has received comment in the foreign press.

The Wall Street Journal, which emphasized that the suspects being tried all appeared to be against the current AKP administration, also wrote; ‘The Ergenekon investigation has polarized the country. Many secularists maintain it is a plot sponsored by the Islamic-rooted AK Party government to discredit secular rivals, starting with the army.’

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