Turkey’s pro-government daily newspaper, Milliyet recently fired a columnist who alleged a possible assassination attempt against former Turkish President Abdullah Gül, Turkish news portal ODA TV reported.
The portal claimed that high-ranking authorities close to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan requested the dismissal of the columnist.
Milliyet is a daily that belongs to Demirören Media Group, which has close ties with Erdoğan. The founder of Demirören Media Group, Erdoğan Demirören, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 80, had previously apologised profusely over a column that had infuriated Erdoğan about an alleged phone call that was released on March 7, 2014.
Demirören was allegedly asking Erdoğan, in a tape recording, if he saddened the Turkish leader by calling him ‘the boss’, and promised to fire the columnist, which materialised soon after.
Another example of political interference by Atilla in the media occurred on January 28 when he reported that Abdullah Gül’s wife, Hayrunnisa Gül, claimed, “Someone may possibly want to kill my husband.” He claimed that, due to a suspicious odour in the former president’s vehicle, Gül’s wife became apprehensive over a possible assassination attempt. The Milliyet removed the article from its official website soon after it was published.
Abdullah Gül, the former Turkish prime minister and president, stepped aside from both positions to allow Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Erdogan to fill them. Becoming ‘self-censored’ limited the ruling AK Party. Gül has been targeted frequently by party members and pro-government columnists.