Doğan media fires anchorman who will vote 'no' in referendum

Doğan Media has fired two journalists because they criticised Erdoğan's presidential system. A Hürriyet columnist who wrote that he would vote 'yes' saved his seat
İrfan Değirmenci
Monday, 13 February 2017 02:16

Turkey’s Doğan media group has fired İrfan Değirmenci, a presenter on Kanal D, because he declared on social media that he would vote "no" in the referendum for presidential constitution changes that would expand President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's powers.

"No to the one who sees scientists, artists, writers, cartoonists, students, workers, farmers, miners, journalists and all who do not obey as enemies," Değirmenci wrote on Twitter on February 10. Değirmenci explained why he would vote 'no' in twenty Twitter post. 

Doğan media group, which owns Hürriyet, Posta newspapers, Kanal D TV, partially CNN Türk TV, Doğan news agency and many others, fired immediately the presenter after his Twitter post. "With his messages posted on social media on February 10, our colleague İran Değirmenci clearly took a side on a topic that is being debated among the public. Therefore, we are cancelling his contract," said the Doğan media in a written statement on Saturday.

The Doğan group, however, did not fire columnist Fatih Çekirge despite his announcement that he would vote "yes" in the referendum in his column last month.

A CO-WORKER RESIGNED

On Sunday, managing director of Değirmenci’s TV program, Ertuğrul Albayrak resigned from his duty in the channel. Albayrak said, "They wanted me to stay. But I also say “no”. It would be unethical for me to stay. We choose to live with honour." Albayrak also implied that “yes” voters continue working in Doğan media and this execution is a display of hypocrisy. Albayrak also said other crew members also wanted to support them but, they would not let them quit since their economic conditions would not allow them.

Following the announcement of Doğan media, a famous actor Şevket Çoruh said that he will also say “no” in the referendum, and that the channel had to fire him as well. Çoruh performs in a primetime TV series in Kanal D.

DENOUNCEMENT FROM FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS OF TURKEY

The Federation of Journalists of Turkey (TGF) also condemned the decision of Doğan media. "This decision is a professional shame that shows the intervention in journalists' personal spaces of freedom," TGF said in a statement. 

TGF said that the Doğan media's statement is just a harassment to civic rights and a chain to the right of speech and that the channel tolerates pro-government journalists.

DOĞAN MEDIA DISMISSED ANOTHER JOURNALIST AS WELL

Doğan media fired another journalist, Hakan Çelenk from its Posta newspaper due to his opposing views against Erdoğan. Çelenk was both a columnist and a member of the editorial board of the newspaper.

Çelenk was a guest of a talk show in CNN Türk TV on January 22, and criticised the presidential system and accused Erdoğan, implying he is establishing this new system in order to save himself from further juridical processes for this crimes.

E-MAILS OF ERDOĞAN'S SON-IN-LAW AND DOĞAN MEDIA

The Doğan media group announced last month that pro-government Hürriyet newspaper columnist and CNN Türk anchorman Ahmet Hakan had been appointed as the head of the group’s TV channel Kanal D.

E-mails of Turkey’s Minister of Energy and President Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, which were leaked by RedHack in September and by Wikileaks in December, showed that media mogul Aydın Doğan, owner of the Doğan media, bowed to Erdoğan and along with his media outlets became an ardent supporter of the president.

The e-mails between Doğan Media Group Director-General Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ and Berat Albayrak, revealed Doğan executive showing a willingness to adjust the editorial line of Doğan brands to appease the government.