Columnist fired for defending journalists targeted by Yeni Akit

August 31, 2012, Friday/ 17:02:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

A journalist working with the Milat daily was fired from his newspaper earlier this week, for signing a petition against the Yeni Akit daily, which in a report on Aug. 10 accused journalists Cengiz Çandar and Hasan Cemal of being supporters of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Yeni Akit's report, which said Çandar and Cemal were left-wing Alevis, claimed the two journalists were working together with the PKK. The report included a letter written by PKK leader Şemdin Sakık, who wrote to the newspaper from his prison cell.

The report attracted the ire of liberal writers who have been friendly with Islamist newspapers, but some writers from Islamic-leaning circles also supported the liberals' point of view and launched a petition campaign against what they called a purposeful campaign against Çandar, Cemal and Ali Bayramoğlu, who was also mentioned in the same report.

After the petition was published online, the Milat newspaper did not publish Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu's column, who was informed that he had been fired from the newspaper, not by his editors or managers, but by a page editor on the phone.

Observers believe Gergerlioğlu's stance ran against Milat's conviction that other Islamic-minded newspapers should be supported.

In the days after the controversial report was published, Yeni Akit ran another story, claiming that two PKK militants and the gay rights group Kaos GL had also signed the online petition. However, it was established later, according to Gergeroğlu and the Taraf daily, that the names of the supposed PKK militants and Kaos GL representative were added to the list by the editor of, the website of Yeni Akit.

Gergeroğlu said, “Thank God we live in the age of technology and things like this leave digital traces.” He said the site administrators have traced back all three entries to the same IP address, which was established as belonging to Yeni Akit web Editor Fatih Akkaya.

Gergeroğlu also said that he intended to file a complaint against Yeni Akit over its actions and reports, which he says constitute slander and libel.

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