Following the resignation of Ahmet Altan in December, the owner of the Taraf daily came to an agreement on Tuesday with Radikal columnist Oral Çalışlar to make him Taraf's new editor-in-chief.
In a move that rocked Turkish media on Dec. 14, 2012, Taraf's then-Editor-in-Chief Ahmet Altan and several journalists from the daily known for their fearless criticism of not only the Turkish military but also the Turkish government resigned from their positions.
Çalışlar, currently a columnist at the Radikal daily, is reportedly preparing to finish his work for Radikal by the end of January so he can start his new position at Taraf on Feb. 1.
Over the past several months, Taraf, which had in the past uncovered many suspicious plans targeting the government such as the 2003 Sledgehammer coup plot, has voiced loud criticism of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government's approach to democratic reforms. The daily, which has at times resorted to mockery to voice its criticism, has been accusing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government of becoming more and more authoritarian and aligning themselves with the status quo.
A brief biography of Çalışlar
Çalışlar was born on Dec. 14, 1946, in the Tarsus district of the Mediterranean province of Mersin. He studied mechanical engineering at Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ).
He participated in the 1968 student occupation of İstanbul University with Deniz Gezmiş, a well-known leftist activist of the 1960s, and other friends.
In the 1960s he played active and important roles in leftist organizations and also wrote columns in leftist newspapers such as the Aydınlık daily. During the 1971 military coup he was arrested and kept in prison for three years.
In 1978, Çalışlar became the editor-in-chief of Aydınlık and a founding member of Turkey's Labor and Peasant Party.
In the Sept. 12, 1980 coup he was again arrested and after years of imprisonment and repeated escapes, he was set free in 1988.
From 1992 to 2008 he worked for the Cumhuriyet daily and published a column called “Sıfır Noktası” (Vanishing Point) and since June 15, 2008 he has written for the Radikal daily.
Çalışlar wrote some 20 books, ranging in subject matter from his prison memories to women in Islam.