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05 May

“The Crack in Everything”

P24 Co-Founder Andrew Finkel delivers the tenth annual Mehmet Ali Birand Lecture on 3 May World Press Freedom Day 2023

The tenth annual conference organized by Platform for Independent Journalism (P24) in memory of journalist Mehmet Ali Birand on May 3 World Press Freedom Day was held at Kıraathane Istanbul Literature House.
This year's Mehmet Ali Birand Lecture was delivered by journalist Andrew Finkel, who is also a co-Founder and Board Member of P24. Finkel, a journalist who has been covering Turkey for more than 35 years for national and international media outlets, presented a critical assessment of the Turkish press in his lecture titled "The Crack in Everything".
Finkel, who said that the current government has an attitude that sees media “as an optional extra,” even a “desire to see it disappear altogether,” also argued that “in Turkey, mainstream media had long been an accomplice in its own suppression.”
“Well before the current governing party was conceived (in 2001) Turkish media had been part handmaiden to power, part consigliere,” Finkel said. “The difference between now and then was that the press barons of the 1990s understood how to make a newspaper and used that know-how to gain entry into non-media businesses. They did so with a crooked cop’s instinct of knowing when to break the rules and when to behave. The bottom line was that to barter influence you had to have influence in the first place, to be producing newspapers people wanted to buy or televisions channels they wanted to watch. Today’s owners are contractors, shopping mall owners, healthcare or energy magnates. Press ownership is something they regard as an unwelcome levy for the business they have already been doing with the government.”
Prior to Finkel’s lecture, writer Cemre Birand and journalist Nedim Türfent, who was released at the end of last November after being imprisoned for 6 years and 7 months, took the floor at the event.

Nedim Türfent

Cemre Birand
Türfent talked about the rights violations he faced during his detention and trial in his remarks. "When a journalist is arrested, not only the rights of that journalist are violated, but also the rights of their audience,” Türfent said. 
Full text of P24’s tenth Annual Mehmet Ali Birand Lecture delivered by Andrew Finkel is as follows:
The Crack in Everything
Andrew Finkel
I have been asked by my P24 colleagues -- I suppose pressganged might be the accurate word -- to present this year’s World Press Freedom Day lecture, the tenth in what has become an annual series. And later this year we will mark the tenth anniversary of the founding of P24 itself. Ordinarily, ten years would be occasion for modest celebration at least, and to be honest there are moments when we dust ourselves off, figuratively anyway, and smile that we are still standing after what has been a turbulent decade. 

Alas, World Press Freedom Day this year as in previous years is an occasion for self-reflection rather than self-congratulation. “Reporters have been hounded and harassed on social media; sometimes they have been arrested for their tweets. They have been forced to censor themselves. They have been left careerless. They have feared for their lives. And they have watched their profession become a farce,” wrote Suzy Hansen in the aptly named article, “What remains of the Turkish Press,” for a 2019 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. We have just been listening to Nedim Türfent to whom pretty much all of these things happened at once -- and much more.

At the same time, we should remain on guard that we not turn World Press Freedom Day into some hollow ritual, a professional lament, that even as we sign letters of protest and petition, draw attention to journalists still behind bars we are not simply creating a bubble of our own self-righteousness.  In less than two weeks’ time Turkey will hold presidential and parliamentary elections. The fear is that it is limping to the polls with a media seemingly unfit for the purpose to which any theory of democracy would have it assigned – namely to hold power accountable, to ensure a reliable flow of information, and to facilitate free and rational discussion that helps define the public good. Yet, even as we defend journalists in peril against oppressive legislation and the conduct of an increasingly authoritarian state, we grapple with point that press organisations have themselves been instrumental in imposing restrictions on the range and depth of public debate. We cannot expect society, let alone the government to rush to the defence of a journalistic profession when its own institutions have been so cavalier. 

As an organisation which advocates on behalf of journalists, the point we return to time after time is that is impossible to fully protect colleagues when the core tenets of journalism are themselves in peril.

So, while I may be guilty of looking back over the last ten years, borrowing, as I do, ideas from those who spoke before me, my hope is that I do so not with nostalgia but to retool our sense of purpose and to help define the challenges ahead.  

Like many of my generation, I did not study journalism but learned as I went along, making mistakes, being edited, and then making the same mistake again. I wrote mainly for English newspapers and rightly or wrongly I came to believe that what British journalism did best was discover the one detail that told the entire story. Catching that moment, spotting the monad, getting the metaphor right doesn’t happen all that often and I have my doubts about the one I am about to relate. However, it is an image that continues to haunt me and is one I have never made public before but that I am convinced is a microcosm of the dilemma of the Turkish press. My only problem is that I am not exactly sure why. 

The year would have been 1995. I was in front of the Mihrimah Mosque in Üsküdar – in what is now a sort of bus terminal but which in those days a bit of asphalted public space. I was not there for any special reason but there was some sort of public ceremony going on which I strolled over to investigate. At the centre of it all was newly elected mayor of Istanbul, a man called Tayyip Erdoğan. I had interviewed him not long after he had been elected, so he knew who I was. There wasn’t a big crowd and he had not brought with him much of an entourage. He was cutting the ribbon to open nothing grander than a newsagent’s kiosk – a free standing round thing with an attractive wrought iron top, but certainly not the pharaonic structure or mega-project with which he was later to become associated. I think I might have been the only journalist, and even I was there by accident. We talked and I pointed out there were two perfectly good news stands across the street, and asked what the point was of making a fuss about a third. He explained very patiently that he had extracted a pledge that this particular news kiosk would sell every brand of newspaper and that no title would be excluded. In those days there was duopoly on newspaper distribution with the Doğan Group owning 60 percent, the Medya Group which published Sabah owning 30 percent and a company jointly owned by them both controlling the remaining ten. Media that supported the mayor’s own Welfare Party was being squeezed out of the market. So, while self-interest may have been behind the opening of a fresh news outlet, it was language of fair play and the democratic right to information that was being used to justify the move. 

Several months later, I happened to be walking past the same spot and was surprised to see that the kiosk had moved from the centre of the square. A little while later my visit to the square coincided with a substantial-sized crane lifting the kiosk high into the air from a hook at its top and then removing it altogether. Who is to know what exactly happened. 

If I had to deconstruct my own parable it is that it illustrates an attitude which saw media as an optional extra, if not the desire to see it disappear altogether. The sad aspect of it all is that it is an attitude which media organizations themselves began to share. I argue that in Turkey, mainstream media had long been an accomplice in its own suppression. Well before the current governing party was conceived (in 2001) Turkish media had been part handmaiden to power, part consigliere. The difference between now and then was that the press barons of the 1990s understood how to make a newspaper and used that know-how to gain entry into non-media businesses. They did so with a crooked cop’s instinct of knowing when to break the rules and when to behave. The bottom line was that to barter influence you had to have influence in the first place, to be producing newspapers people wanted to buy or televisions channels they wanted to watch. Today’s owners are contractors, shopping mall owners, healthcare or energy magnates. Press ownership is something they regard as an unwelcome levy for the business they have already been doing with the government. Rather than grapple with the shifting financials of selling news content in a digital age, they have a fully-functional business model based on running media as a loss to gain advantage in other businesses. They have zero interest in speaking truth to power. Famously, there were meeting between editors and government that were described as “closed to the press.” An industry whose business it is to inform, to take the consigliere metaphor one stage further, has sworn an oath of omertà, of silence. If The Guardian or New York Times guard their reputation, it is because integrity has commercial value. In Turkey, the response of new pro-government media owners to the disruption to the old models of profitability heralded by the internet and social media was blunt and even old-fashioned - to finance their industry through corruption. 

My own journalistic career in Turkey began in 1989, a year before the first pirate TV station broke the state monopoly on broadcasting. Since then, I have born witness to what I describe as a near perfect example of press capture. The story is one of transformation from private media that used its influence to extract commercial advantages in non-media businesses to a media that had virtually no independent influence at all. Today, ownership of newspapers and televisions has become a levy on earnings of cronies whose core business - be it construction or energy - depends on government grace and favour. A central episode is the financial crisis of 2000-2001 which wiped out the financial sector and a third of GDP. A generation of press barons who had managed to extract bank licences from government to take advantage of a heady era of high inflation and high spreads saw their media assets being seized in an attempt to repay a Turkish treasury which had guaranteed deposits. The Justice and Development Party which won its first election in 2002 in the wake of that crisis was thus able to oversee a literal redistribution of media to its supporters, including the notorious case of inducing state banks to provide massive loans to a company whose CEO was the prime minister’s own son-in-law. 

AKP emerged from the ashes of the 2000-2001 financial crisis largely without media support.  The 1995 general election in Turkey was from one point of view a contest between the two main newspaper groups at the time with the Welfare Party emerging through the middle through what one imagines to be popular disgust of both trying to hold the other side to ransom. Thus, the notion of a fourth estate as an institution vital to the well-being of democracy and therefore deserving of privileges and freedoms is not one to which it readily subscribed. “I have seen that giant countries are being governed by the media and not by their leaders... There is democracy if there are people. Democracy is not possible with the media,” declared no longer mayor but President Erdoğan. It is this lack of respect, I hypothesize, which has become justification for attempts to suppress media independence in breach of legal and constitutional safeguards. 

The government’s attitude to social media even is more complex.

P24 was founded at the time of the Gezi Park occupation – a coincidence, but as the Turkish would have it, a meaningful (manidar) one. Most of us here need no reminding that an amorphous but wide-scale demonstration to rescue an inner-city park turned into running street battles between protestors and police armoured vehicles. The crowds and joyful mayhem that Gezi initially provoked was an uncomfortable bit of cognitive dissonance for a government which claimed to speak the language of the street. Media coverage of Gezi was a gestalt for many middle-class professionals in Turkey who saw how a cause close to their heart was being depicted, distorted, or in many cases simply ignored in mainstream media. The expression “penguin press” entered the popular lexicon – a reference to a documentary on the arctic bird broadcast by the once trusted 24-hour news channel, CNN-Türk when the police intervention against the protest was at its height. Young people in the west of Turkey suddenly found themselves on the receiving end of state violence and this initiated some soul searching about how other conflicts in society were being depicted and redlines being drawn --  particularly over the rights of a population that identified itself as Kurdish. Ten years later, some of the alleged ringleaders of Gezi are still on trial and in prison on charges which equate civil society activism with high treason. My own interpretation is that Gezi was less an attempt to overthrow the state than to teach it how to behave, albeit a lesson the state has yet to take on board. 

I describe the Gezi as amorphous, and it was the non-fungible aspect of the protest which made it an important landmark. Gezi also became a shorthand for the all too palpable weaknesses of Turkish civil society. “Gezi” was a voice strong enough (as of now) to save a park, but too weak -- or perhaps never intended -- to present itself as an alternative to machine politics and a hierarchical system of spoils and patronage that the politicians had been able to construct. It did not simply bury the credibility of “heritage” media (far from Gezi Park, demonstrators picketed the headquarters of NTV -- Turkey’s first 24-hour news station -- for adhering to government spin that the protests were a well-organised conspiracy);  it developed its own alternative channels of communication through smart phones, and internet sites. At the height of the demonstrations there were a reported 3,000 tweets per second. 

The government hollered its response through the slew of crony-controlled newspaper titles and television stations under its command -- what even its own supporters referred to as the “pool media” -- a concept which carries the sense of one “kitchen” serving many outlets. In June 2013, when the Prime Minister Erdoğan returned from a trip abroad to re-establish control over Gezi, seven national newspapers greeted him with the exact same headline – citing his willingness to sacrifice himself for true democracy. At the same time, Gezi alerted the government to a social movement which at the time, it was ill equipped to address. It experienced what I call a form of Midas Touch – a debilitating syndrome whereby government could capture the newsstands and the broadcasting environment but at the expense of those media’s effectiveness in communicating.  

Then Prime Minister Erdoğan famously described social media as “the worst menace to society.” Twitter, he labelled “a scourge” and access to that platform was blocked in the build-up to the March 2014 local elections through court rulings. How effective this was, is open to question. By some reckonings, Twitter usage actually went up after the ban with users easily able to sidestep the ban through VPNs or changing DNS server settings. The government could not risk banning Facebook, a medium popular among its own followers. In time, the government realised that it could not deny itself use of such powerful tools as Twitter and that it would have to force an accommodation with social media. By February 2015, now President Erdoğan had dispatched his first Tweet. 

The first of P24’s 3 May lectures, in 2014, took place two days after Freedom House, the US-based human rights organisation, had demoted the media in Turkey from being “partly free” to the ignominious status of not free at all -- and while we might quibble with what sometimes feels like a Eurovision-style methodology of giving points to the quality of a country’s  democracy, I can’t think there is anyone who believes the situation has improved. Two years ago, the 3rd May lecture was delivered by Eren Keskin -- lawyer, journalist, activist, who lamented that in all her 30 years of being in the human rights movement, there has never been a time when the future looked so bleak or she felt so defenceless… or a period when the law was so centralized, and judges and prosecutors so afraid, she told us. One of her predecessors in this lecture series, Beritan Canözer, was arrested only a week ago, and not for the first time, in a dragnet directed at Kurdish media workers in Diyarbakir -- her crime being to report from the side ignored by mainstream media. The title of Zaina Erhaim’s  2016 lecture “Journalistic Values when Covering your own War” was a gentle swipe at BBC-style impartiality. The much-laureled citizen journalist from Idlib in Syria professed to have become a “bad journalist” when unable to remain “neutral in the face of tyrants whose response was nothing short of genocide to those who demand basic human rights or who dreamed of living in a free democratic country.” Journalism she said, was not just a question of reporting what she saw, or even of exposing tyrannies and fighting repression but “a medium to stop the powerful from manipulating reality and from writing history from their own perspective.”

After Gezi, there was a purge of journalists working for state owned media or government supporting private media who show sparks of independence. Almost from its very beginning P24, founded to support independent journalism, found itself instead advocating on behalf of independent journalists – particularly after the 2016 coup when some 170 press organisations were shut down and, at its peak, a similar number of press workers found themselves behind bars. 

But of course, the greater harm was to society itself and it remained an important part of P24’s mission to engage with the Promethean task of turning a vicious circle of intimidation, punishment and self-censorship into a virtuous cycle of cultivating a constituency who realised the benefits of free expression, who suffered from its absence and were therefore motivated to defend their own rights and those of others. Anyone who has written as many grant proposals over the last few years as myself has a ready stock of clichés and the favourite is that ‘the best defence of free expression is to use it.’

The 3rd May lecture in 2020 was a Zoom affair, delivered by David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression who gave voice to the concern that, in his words, “a pathogen of disease was acting as a pathogen of repression.” The pandemic he argued had become a crisis of free expression. “Individuals and their communities cannot protect themselves against disease when information is denied to them, when they have diminished trust in sources of information, and when propaganda and disinformation dominate the statements of public authorities,” he told us. In Turkey, it was probably less a case of people contracting Covid-19 through lack of information than the disease acting as a pretext to police the internet and social media. According to Human Rights Watch reports, Covid-19 became a pretext, for provincial governors to ban peaceful protests of women’s rights activists, healthcare workers, lawyers, and political opposition parties.  

More recently we have witnessed a deadly earthquake in the southeast of the country with an official death toll of over 50,000 lives. An enduring legacy of misery reflects a lack of preparedness and the wholesale violation of building codes and is a brutal demonstration of the need to repair not just homes but a badly damaged media ecosystem and failed mechanisms of public accountability. Of course, it is not media alone which bears responsibility for the dimensions of this tragedy but one it shares with other actors -- including politicians and inchoate civil society from which they drew support. This was the great insight of Turkish social science during the 1970s – a period of rapid urbanisation - that government was losing the ability to plan for the waves of in-migration into major cities because it was squandering control over the great public good it held, urban land. I have written about what I call a culture of complicity in which ordinary individuals were forced into an illegal status (no planning permission for their homes or even cadastral deeds to the land on which their homes were built) and thus tolerated greater malfeasance from their political betters. There are the famous headlines in the 1994 mayoral election in which the secular press tried to “expose” that Candidate Erdoğan owned unlicensed gecekondu houses, when the more probable impact of that story would have been to win him votes. A perhaps far-fetched comparison would be the failure of a chunk of the American electorate to penalise presidential candidate Trump for sexist behaviour or racist language with which they, at some level, empathised.

And if we see urban space as a public good, too important to allow an unfettered market to regulate, then we might extend the same consideration to media and the public realm. This is the thinking behind public service broadcasting and press and broadcasting regulating agencies and why it is a priority to claw back their independence. The subject of media regulation and self-regulation is a mountain to climb and perhaps the subject for next year’s lecture.

There was a time when we took as first principles that the values of independent media --truthfulness, transparency, the questioning of conventional wisdom -- were self-evident and would impact public opinion. Our first lecturer in 2014, Ahmet Altan took the perhaps romantic view of good journalism as a heroic enterprise, the match burning in the darkness whose impact was greater than floodlights at mid-day. Last year’s speaker the dissident television presenter, Ekaterina Kotrikadze, in exile from Putin’s Russia gave a harrowing account of trying to fight the official lie. The rise of Trump-style populism in Western democracies has, of course, dented confidence in the sustainability of those values and obliged liberal media to look with renewed and fearful respect at the difficulties of getting a citizenry to challenge their own prejudices. In 2017 this lecture was delivered by Carol Giacomo, then a member of the New York Times editorial board, who was still reeling not just from the victory of Donald Trump at the recent US election but how this victory mocked the editorial standards of her newspaper. The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists, active in defending journalists abroad, she told us, was beginning to realise the dangers at home. “The biggest threat to a free press in my country right now is the lies, lies and repeated lies emanating from the president,” she told us. Five years later after the detailed disclosures resulting from the libel suit which the Dominion voting machine company initiated against the Fox News Network, we learn that Fox knowingly supported a fiction that Trump had somehow won the 2020 election simply to satisfy the bloodlust of its conservative viewers and preserve advertising revenues and market share to rival television networks even more mendacious than itself. The threat to press freedom had become the repeated lies emanating from the press itself as well as the lies which Fox listeners demanded to be told, in order to have their prejudices and cognitive dissonance undisturbed.

I was reminded of an incident dating from the 1999 general election in Turkey when I was working with ATV to predict the final results from early ballot box returns. This was an election when the MHP came second to Bülent Ecevit’s DSP but at an early stage of the electoral count the MHP was ahead. We had designed an elaborate set of television graphics linked to the computer predictions but all this had to be scrapped when the owner of the station came charging down the stairs proclaiming that no media of his could report the MHP doing so well. Until three in the morning we broadcast what we knew to be a misleading result and at odds with the figures being broadcast by all the other stations until suddenly like a child admitting it had been naughty, the computer screen changed to the right result. Nearly 25 years later we wait for election night to see if a better orchestrated media will be in denial about the result.

The British editor, Peter Preston who spoke to us in 2015, did not underestimate the ability of governments - then and now - to stifle discussion of things they did not want to hear. He simply believed they would not succeed. “There is always a hole in the wall of oppression,” he said. And of course, wise and gracious spirit that he was, he identified the deeper tragedy.  He viewed the struggles of Turkish journalism with alarm -- not just because of the anti-freedom legislation and the self-censorship but because “the clamour of creative voices should never be stilled.” He mourned “the waste of talent, the waste of passion, the waste of aspiration.”

There is, as the title of my lecture says, “a crack in everything” which as Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” asserts is how light gets in. I should acknowledge that my familiarity with this quote is due to yet another of our lecturers, the eminent human rights QC Philippe Sands who recounts having heard a version of the song crackling on the radio while seated in a café near the Treblinka concentration camp, an echo of hope from within the very heart of twentieth century darkness. I hope the moral of my story is that we should not yield to despair. Again, it was Ekaterina Kotrikadze who said that if independent journalism managed to sneak through during the time of the Soviet Union it would survive now. “We are younger, smarter and faster. And truth is on our side,” she said.

There is a paradox. A commonly given figure is that Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) now has the absolute loyalty of some 90 percent of titled media. It is also reputed to command an army of trolls to rule social media. Its ability to dictate the public narrative would seem beyond dispute. Yet with so much media ammunition at its disposal, government still feels compelled to lodge case after case of “presidential insult” or warn off advertisers or otherwise go to great lengths to silence dissent. It is not just journalists but even school children who are detained for critical tweets. One explanation for this insecurity is the old saw that even paranoids have enemies. What we are beginning to witness in Turkey is that while the ruling party may have scored substantial victories in its Kulturkampf with the old Republican elite, it may now be losing the war. It is not so much that the other side is winning but that a style of discourse based on confrontation and polarisation, on charges of treachery and unabashed name-calling, no longer works. It may be too much to hope for – but it is still a hope – that a Turkey which disappeared into the well of demagoguery is now coming up for air.

I write, I realise, from an odd perspective. I was born elsewhere, lived in Istanbul as a schoolboy briefly in the mid-1960s in an Istanbul of less than two million persons and subsequently returned, first as an academic and then as a journalist but always with the covert mission to discover what had happened to the Istanbul of my youth, or even the Istanbul of the 1970s, or 1980s or even the Istanbul of five years ago. 

My more pertinent idiosyncrasy in the present context is that I spent a great deal of my professional life with a foot each in two camps. I worked both for the Turkish-language and international press. The former was infinitely more fun if only in the schoolboy sense of getting me into trouble. That point was driven home some 25 years ago when I was put on trial for what I considered to be fair comment in my column in one of the big national dailies but which the public prosecutor deemed to be an attempt to cause the Turkish military to be held in contempt. This was an era far gentler than today and the maximum six years in prison demanded by the prosecutor was never likely to have been enforced. 

It was an experience which left me with two enduring “takeaways.”

The first is that whereas I had always conceived of journalism as noble calling – bearing witness to unpalatable truths, disassembling conventional wisdom in order to rebuild a more solid consensus – I was discovering the hard way, that it could also be a way of polarising society, imposing hegemony, drafting its practitioners into opposing sides. In the Turkey of those days the Kulturkampf being waged was between the military and a religious right, between avowed secularists and those who were being denied entry into the republican elite. The seminal text in this, or at least a useful pointer, is Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities where he depicts newspapers as vital to creating allegiances to the nation state – an abstract entity well beyond one’s immediate experience.  But he was referring to nineteenth century Latin America. I was being forced to take on board some 75 years after the founding of the Turkish Republic that my faltering efforts to understand the aspirations of the Turkey’s Kurds could be interpreted as a criminal attempt to undermine the very project of nation building. It seemed so obvious, certainly to me, most of the foreign press corps and of course many of my liberal colleagues, that the opposite was true and that only by dealing openly with those aspirations would Turkey find peace. We were, of course, accused, if not actual treachery, of gross naivety to think that such dialogue was possible or that the appetite of Kurdish nationalists could be slaked with a few concessions on cultural rights.

My other more striking observation was that the press itself was a deeply corrupted institution in the way that I describe above. Although organisations like the Committee to Protect Journalists leapt to my defence, I was sufficiently cynical to advise them I was in greater need of protection from my own newspaper than I was from the Turkish state. That newspaper not only did not cover my trial but had gone on to fire me for another column – as I was to learn under express orders of the military dominated National Security Council. Had the Turkish press used its influence all those decades ago to defend media freedom rather than extract another lucrative privatisation deal, I believe the media today would not be in the sorry state. As I have tried to explain, my own poor opinion of the Turkish media is shared by many members of the current government whose own clashes with the military resulted in them being booted out of office in 1997 in a campaign coordinated with large media organisations – in what was described at the time as “a post-modern coup.” 

History moves on. The walls around us settle and the cracks begin to appear. Will the light get in? I believe what we are witnessing is not so much the resurgence of the old Republican elite as its redefinition. “Re-education” is a word that carries terrible historical connotations but it is still the case that societies do learn. And in an era where populism and prejudice are the black tar creeping across the European continent, it may be reassuring to discover that the surface it creates is as brittle as it is thin. 

It was not quite ten years ago, that I sat down with friends and colleagues to see if there wasn’t something we could do to support independent media in Turkey and to encourage what, even then, was an increasingly demoralised profession. We had the support of Hasan Cemal -- who for many years was the president of this society -- a man of blistering integrity which we are all but certain will survive his transition to becoming a politician. And we thank Yasemin Çongar, a force of nature, who has recently stepped down as P24’s general director.

Last January we stopped for a moment to remember the untimely death, also ten years ago, of Mehmet Ali Birand who lends his name to these lectures. He was a man whose guidance and professionalism and beguiling charm I first encountered not quite 45 years ago. It was at a seminar in King’s College London devoted to Turkey’s application to not the European Union but what was then the European Communities – a cause to which he was devoted. Later, I began to understand his efforts to raise the standards of journalism in Turkey. He was instrumental in weaning the public in Turkey off its diet of “protocol” news (usefully summarized as “the same men in different rooms or the same room with different men”) that television continued to serve in the aftermath of the 1981–1983 period of martial rule. We are delighted that Cemre Birand, a warrior, in her own right has been so supportive of these events. We miss Mehmet Ali’s wisdom, his authority, and his ability to paddle upstream into the heart of darkness of a Turkish newsroom and suffer only minor injury. He understood not just the power of journalism but the need to see it be used for good.

Thank you all for coming this evening and for your attention.


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