Sunday

23rd Sep 2018

Letter

A letter from Turkey's ambassador to the EU

  • The ambassador wrote this letter in response to an opinion article by Selcuk Gultasi about the trial of journalists from the Zaman newspaper. (Photo: svenwerk)

Following publication on Tuesday (19 September) of an opinion article by Selcuk Gultasi about the trial of journalists from the Zaman newspaper, EUobserver received this letter by Turkey's envoy to the EU, Faruk Kaymakci, which we published as a right of reply:

I wish to express at the outset that, thanks to EUobserver's balanced coverage, we are able to follow developments closely on a wide range of issues related to the European Union, here at the Permanent Delegation of Turkey to the EU.

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Hence, it came to our attention that an opinion article by Zaman newspaper's Brussels bureau chief had been published on your website on Tuesday. With all due respect to your editorial independence and the decision to publish the said piece, I deem it necessary to bring to your consideration the following:

The article in question is yet another attempt to whitewash the Fetullahist Terrorist Organisation (FETO) which blatantly orchestrated - coming to light as confessions by FETO military operatives accumulate - the 15 July failed coup attempt.

In connection to this, it must be emphasised that Zaman newspaper had served as a mouthpiece of FETO, which tried to violently overthrow the democratically elected government, assassinate our president (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) and ultimately hijack the sovereignty of the Turkish people on the eve of 15 July 2016.

The article also aims at distorting the ongoing legal proceedings against the putschists, by ultimately tarnishing the image of Turkey in the eyes of the EU public opinion with unfounded claims against the independence of the judiciary, as well as the purported lack of freedom of press and expression.

The fact of the matter is that Turkey, having survived a bloody coup attempt which cost the lives of 250 citizens, is fighting against the scourge of terrorism on multiple fronts - Daesh, PKK and FETO - in accordance with our national legislation, in line with the principles of the rule of law, and in observance of our international obligations.

Within these well-defined limits, no media outlet nor journalist in Turkey is detained for their journalistic activities, but face legal charges for alleged criminal links and actions. The legal rights of all journalists facing trial are under protection. They benefit from legal assistance and other related defence rights.

Contrary to the false claims and accusations in the said article, utmost attention is needed to avoid meddling with the course of justice.

I am of the conviction that EUobserver readers and the wider EU public have the right to form their opinion against this backdrop.

Hence, I kindly urge you to publish this communication in the format that suits your publication's editorial layout. Should you decide to take the idea on board, I would very much appreciate to be informed about how it would appear beforehand.

Looking forward to your positive cooperation,

Yours sincerely,

Faruk Kaymakci

We invited the Turkish mission to the EU to address specific allegations contained in Selcuk Gultasi's opinion article. In his answer to that, Kaymakci said: "I believe to have sufficiently debunked the baseless claims and accusations in the said article which aims at discrediting the Turkish judiciary and grossly misrepresenting the putschist Fetullahist Terrorist Organisation (FETO) as a benign 'faith-based movement'."

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