An article by columnist Engin Ardıç published on 28 February in the Sabah newspaper created a storm of protest. The first sentences of the column entitled "Sister" read as follows: "They serve fascism in the disguise of leftisim. This is like working in a brothel, maybe even worse!" Referring to a group of women that tried to throw eggs at columnist Emre Aköz, Ardıç wrote, "These poor girls have one thing in common; they are ugly. They are ugly and shabby. That is their problem".
On 1 March, about 20 women from the Youth Opposition protested Ardıç in front of the Sabah newspaper building in Istanbul. The police outnumbered the number of protestors.
Ebru Özkan read out a press release. They called Ardıç a "musketeer with a pen for the AKP", the ruling Justice and Development Party, who established his tone of voice "by cursing the revolutionary values, the form of revolutionary life and the revolutionary history".
Journalists claim sanctions
Murat Çelikkan, Responsible Editor for the Sabah Newspaper Supplements, and journalist Süleyman Arıoğlu both agreed that sanctions should be imposed on Ardıç for the misogynistic, sexist, racist, insulting and humiliating article.
"Nobody should apply racism, discrimination, homophobia and misogyny just because he or she has his/her own column. If somebody still does it, s/he should be protested or be stopped from writing", Çelikkan indicated.
Arıoğlu described the column as a "foolproof example for hate speech". He wondered how the writing would be perceived while journalist Soner Yalçın was arrested very recently on the grounds of alleged hate speech.
Article on the agenda of the Turkish Journalists Association
Professional press organizations criticized Ardıç's column as being contrary to professional principles. The Vice President of the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC), Turgay Olcayto, announced that the controversial writing was taken to the agenda of the TGC. He emphasized that the article was opposing the Turkish Journalists' Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities. "Bar associations, lawyers and individuals may open trials against Ardıç for more effective sanctions", he said.
Doğan Tılıç, spokesperson of the G-9 Journalist Organizations Platform, remarked, "If we were to evaluate [the column] in terms of the principles of ethical journalism, the place for this writing could have only been a garbage dump."
The Media Association Secretary General, Deniz Ergürel, explained, "We are not going to comment on this sort of issues as a matter of principle. We try to approach topics related to ethics in a constructive manner rather than in a critical way; we do not make it a personal matter". (EG/EÜ/BB/VK)
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