Sunday, 11 March 2007


Istanbul, 9 March (AKI) - A revelation by a Turkish magazine of the
existence of a list that classified journalists on the basis of their
perceived attitude towards Turkey's powerful military establishment
has prompted a judicial inquiry as well as widespread outrage in the
country's media. The 17-page report listing journalists depending on
their alleged 'pro-military' or 'anti-military' bias was published on
Thursday by the magazine Nokta.

The Turkish military has not denied the existence of the document
and has launched a judicial probe to discover who leaked the
'black list'to the magazine.

The document, dated November 2006, was prepared by the Office of
the Chief of General Staff Public and Press Relations Bureau and is
entitled 'A reassessment of accredited press and media organs'.

Journalists and media organisations that want to follow the
activities of the Office of the Chief of General Staff need to be
accredited by the office.

The document lists all the country's mainstream national broadscast
and print media outlets and journalists, categorising them according
to their comments and reports on the Turkish military. It also
includes comments and recommendations on whether the media
accreditation handed out to individuals should be granted, denied or

"The report is a shame for our democracy. It is a new obstacle for
freedom of expression and freedom of press," the main body
representing journalists in the country, the Turkish Journalists
Association, said in its response.

Umur Talu, a veteran columnist for the daily Sabah and a renowned
critic of the influence of the military in Turkey asked Friday why he
is described as "treacherous" on the list.

"Is it 'normal' for a 21-year-old junior officer to commit suicide in
his military unit because he was being humiliated? No, then why
should I be described as 'treacherous' for having reported on it,"
Talu asked in his column.

Other famous journalists and columnists that appear on the list in
the 'anti-military' category include Murat Belge, Mehmet Ali Birand
and Can Dundar. Murdered Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and
his weekly Agos are not included in the document.

Another prominent journalist, Mehmet Altan from the Star daily, said
that while he was scandalised by the the existence of the list "there
is at least a group of high-ranking military officials who think that
this report is a serious mistake and that's why they've leaked it."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other government officials
have not commented on the report.

Media outlets with more radical positions, such as the socialist and
Islamist newspapers and television stations are not given
accreditation to follow the Office of the Chief of General Staff and
hence do not are already not accredited to military's media events
and are not included in the 'black list.'

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