19 April 2012 /NAGEHAN ALÇI
These days I can’t stop reading a book on the now-defunct Tercüman daily, a conservative, nationalist paper owned by Kemal Ilıcak. Because of articles from Ilıcak’s wife, Nazlı Ilıcak, which criticized then-Prime Minister Turgut Özal, Özal repeatedly warned Ilıcak to fire Nazlı.
Özal once advised Ilıcak to divorce his wife. While reading the book, I thought that, although I see Özal as a great leader who had a unique vision and served Turkey well, he had weaknesses; he openly threatened media barons and even thought of breaking up families to silence a critical writer. I address this article to those who act as if Turkey’s current prime minister is the first person in his position to try to control the media. They must know well that politicians in the past strictly shaped the media. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a leader who often expresses his own opinions and criticisms about the media, and we know that there are certain writers he does not like. But I have never heard of him directly threatening or blackmailing them. … I sometimes criticize Erdoğan for directing harsh criticism at journalists, but I also do not appreciate those who act as if he is the only prime minister to have done so.