05 Haziran 2017 Pazartesi 17:01
Circulation records are falsified

The former director of the Cumhuriyet Foundation Alev Coskun’s attorney, Namik Kemal Boya, in his statement given to the prosecution, declared that due to the change in the tone of our newspaper its sales actually fell in numbers. In response to this, the prosecutor, Murat Inam, immediately wrote to the Press Ad Agency (BIK) and asked for the circulation numbers from 2008-2016. AS a result of the information from BIK, it was stated in the indictment that within the 2008 to 2016 period, there was decline in the circulation numbers and this decline was most prevalent since 2013. It was stated that: “For instance if the month of July is taken as a reference, in the year 2008, the circulation figure was 4.082.316, which went down to 2.768.113 in 2013 and to 1.642.179 in 2016.”

But, in fact, Cumhuriyet’s circulation never went over 4 million in 2008 or over 2 million in 2013. It was apparent that BIk sent inaccurate information and manipulated numbers to the prosecution.

Unreal numbers from BIK (The Press Ad Agency)

There is, in fact, a good reason for the prosecution to bring up 2008 and 2013. In 2008 our circulation figures had increased due to the arrest of our editor in chief, Ilhan Selcuk and in 2013 due to the Gezi uprising. If we look at the last 20 years, the highest circulation numbers were recorded during these two periods. However, even these numbers are lower than the numbers recorded by the prosecution in the indictment. This is because the numbers sent by BIK were actually manipulated and at least 1 million was added to the circulation numbers until May 2014, which is the date the election of the board of directors took place. In reality, in the report by BIK, the daily averages are close to the real numbers but “a hand” increased the monthly averages. This way, by using fake documents, the prosecution was able to create a basis for the readers’ negative reaction to the change the tone of the newspaper.

The first appearance of this fake document coincided with the time our detained supervisor Akin Atalay’s deposition. Once they noticed that the numbers had been manipulated, the attorneys for Cumhuriyet requested information from BIK on the circulation numbers. The real circulation figures sent by BIK to our attorneys showed a very different picture. There was a large difference in the circulation numbers ( in the millions) between the information sent to the prosecution and the one sent to our attorneys. When the data by BIK was analyzed, it was evident that the numbers presented by the prosecution was exaggerated.

According to the official data obtained from the Press Ad Agency (BIK), in December 2008 Cumhuriyet’s average circulation number was 63 thousand, in December 2013, an average of 53 thousand and in October 2016, when our friends were arrested, it was 50 thousand. As can be seen, there was neither a 50 % decline in Cumhuriyet;s numbers nor a decrease specifically in the last 3 years, as it was claimed. The partial decline can be attributed to the general decline in the circulation numbers of all of the national newspapers. For example, while during the week of December 30, 2013- January 5, 2014,the circulation numbers for the national newspapers in Turkey was 5 million 284 thousand, it was down to 3 million 209 thousand during the week of April 24, 2017 - April 30, 2017. Even if we could explain the 2 million difference in the numbers could be attributed to the closing of newspapers affiliated with FETO (including Zaman), the decrease is still around 1 million.

Who’s to Blame?

How the manipulated documents came from BIK (The Press Ad Agency) and sent to the prosecution is still a mystery. We are curious about what the head of the executive board of BIK, Adnan Ertem thinks about this subject. In fact, he is at the head of the Directorate General of Foundations which is responsible for removing the positive report on the Cumhuriyet Foundation and secretly beginning a new examination and preparing a report with exactly the opposite information

@Jeansbiri Case in the Exaggerated Indictment

There was no single evidence that there was a Cumhuriyet - FETO connection in the indictment. In order to manipulate the case, the prosecutor's office included a Twitter user among the defendants of the Cumhuriyet case, who had no involvement with our newspaper. This twitter user was previously mentioned as an alleged FETO member in our newspaper. By including this person, finally the file had someone with serious suspicions about connections to FETO.

Cumhuriyet’s headline on October 22, 2016 was "The Ak Arming Provocation" and the teaser was, "Following the coup attempt, calls to civilians for arming were begun. Akit newspaper columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak and Melih Gökçek also supported the calls and in recent days calls on Twitter as '#Aksilahlanma' has been continued at full speed”. A paragraph in the news was as follows:

"Arming of AKP supporters has been discussed for a long time. Seref Malkoç, Chief Advisor of the President said that obtaining gun license would be eased against the coup. Later, on Twitter #AkSilahlanma (#AkArming) title was launched. Shortly it became a trend topic. Although the AKP members reacted to the topic by saying, "This is a FETO lie and perception operation", no official explanation has been received yet to deny the calls for arming. It was stated that the topic was started by the twitter user @jeansBiri who was proven to be a FETO member and the topic was mentioned in provocative tweets from fake accounts which seemed to be AKP member accounts. Some of those tweets are as follows: The Ak militas are ready REIS, tell us to hit, we will HIT, tell us to die, we will DIE. We would not leave the country to sold soldiers and policemen. We will invade Mosul. We will invade Aleppo too. AKyouth, AKmilitia are preparing. We are here until the last drop of our blood. Martyrdom is our goal ... "

One day after this headline, Cumhuriyet columnist Aydin Engin addressed the issue with his article titled "AKSK (Ak Armed Forces)". Engin started his article as: "The President's Chief Advisor Malkoç already indicated that the button had already been pressed long time ago and he announced and declared that obtaining gun license would be eased against the coups” and Engin finished his article with the following question:" The Gezi was an unarmed, peaceful and democratic protest. Will a more massive and peaceful protest and disapproval rally encounter with the AK Militia equipped with licensed pistol or shotguns? "

A few days later after the headline and the article, on October 27, 2016, the state run Anatolian News Agency reported that "’JeansBiri’ account owner was captured." In the report: “it was learned that Ahmet Kemal A, the owner of the Twitter account 'JeansBiri', was captured in Gaziantep. He had been arrested on charges of starting the topic "#Aksilahlanma(#AkArming)" in social media and turning it into a campaign and, ‘being a member of FetullahTerrorist Organization (FETO)".

It was work to shape the public opinion...

The prosecution included Cumhuriyet;s headline, Engin’s column, and the news by Anadolu Agency in the file and provided the following analysis:

“Aydin Engin started a campaign to shape public opinion and perceptions by writing a column on October 23, 2016 titled “AKSK (Ak Militarized Power) about a Twitter campaign initiated by FETO/PDY administrator Ahmet Kemal Aydogdu’s account (jeansBiri username) with “Aksilahlanma” hashtag on October 20, 2016… This “Aksilahlanma” hashtag aimed destroying Turkish society’s unity and solidarity, which heroically suppressed the coup attempt by FETO/PDY. Detained suspect Ahmet Kemal Aydogdu launched this social media campaign to activate the divisive social fault lines and suspect Aydin Engin brought this campaign into news by writing a column about it in order to convince the public opinion on its credibility. It is seen that Aydin Engin’s actions served to FETO/PDY terrorist organization’s goals and objectives.”

Although the prosecutor did not support any of these claims with concrete evidence, he asserted that Ahmet Kemal Aydogdu and Cumhuriyet’s administrators act together based on shared ideology and action plan. Based on this baseless assertion, prosecutor combined Aydogdu’s case file with Cumhuriyet’s case file.

Beyond Pushing Limits

The prosecution asserted that "you helped the terrorist organization of the FETO because your news was based on a Twitter account whose owner is detained owing to his links to FETO". AKP politicians’ and AKP supporting columnists’ statements and posts in social media on individual armament and also the opinions of lawyers such as former President of Istanbul Bar Association Turgut Kazan and lawyer Celal Ulgen were given under the Cumhuriyet headline of "AK Arming Provocation" dated October 22, 2016. Moreover, the claim that the account owner of "Jeans-Biri" is a FETO member was also mentioned in the report. In other words, Cumhuriyet reported that the topic was started by alleged FETO account and it was widely shared on Twitter. Five days after the news and four days after Aydin Engin’s article, the serviced news of the Anadolu Agency, was shown as "evidence" and put into the file as if Cumhuriyet did not give place to this claim at all.

The Prosecution's Contradiction

The prosecution was running contrary to its own claims. The prosecution did not accept the article series entitled "FETO and Servants" as evidence for the file which the lawyers of our newspaper presented as the sample of articles against the FETO. Furthermore, prosecution stated that Cumhuriyet preferred to use the "Gülen movement or congregation" to describe FETO rather than as a terrorist organization in its columns." In fact, FETO was used, as in many other news reports, for the story of "AK arming provocation" news report, which was about the tweets on individual armament on Twitter after JeansBiri had started the topic.

 

Kaynak: Cumhuriyet.com.tr
Son Güncelleme: 05.06.2017 17:01
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