Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Columnist Nuray Mert Speaks about the "Indefinite Leave" Given to Her by Milliyet

The renowned Turkish columnist and academic Nuray Mert has finally spoken on the 'indefinite leave' given to her by the daily Milliyet, which had published Mert's last article on February 12 with a footnote indicating that Mert would be on indefinite leave and it had, since then, refused to provide further information. Meanwhile, Mert, who had been waiting for Milliyet to clarify the issue, had kept silent. After a long wait, on February 21, she sent a written statement to the news portal Medya Tava. Her statements includes details that portray the process that led to her 'indefinite leave' as follows:

"As a result of the increasing inquiries by my readers as well as by various media outlets I feel the need to make an explanation regarding my current status in the daily Milliyet. On February 11, I received a call from Milliyet informing me that there was a problematic situation concerning me and that they needed some time to clarify the situation. They asked me whether I could take an indefinite leave while they tried to finalize this issue. Although I knew very well how this would end up, in order not to make things harder for the management I accepted that they published the note regarding the indefinite leave with the condition that this whole situation would be clarified and finalized later that week. Things have evolved in a way that I expected but still do not approve. My position at Milliyet is still up in the air. Under these terms, I waited for Milliyet to publish a written statement. Not only did they not do that but it has also gotten increasingly harder for me to contact the management. From a certain point onward I was not allowed to contact them anymore. Right now, this is what disturbs me most.

I am well aware that no media outlet is obliged to continually employ all of its columnists. I am equally aware of the limits of the freedom of expression in Turkish media today. However, at the very least, the rules of civility requires that Milliyet provide me with an explanation clarifying the reasons for such a treatment, which they have not done. This I find really bothersome. (...) I am not the first journalist to experience this treatment, nor am I experiencing this for the first time. We all know very well the current deterioration of conditions of all sorts of freedoms in Turkey. Some people like my political stance and some do not; however, rather than silencing me or celebrating my forced leave, those who do not like my views should have tried either to have a debate with me or to totally ignore me. Unfortunately, things did not develop that way."

To read the rest of the statement in Turkish, please click here.