tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV July 15, 2017 2:00pm-2:31pm PDT
♪ melinda: welcome to "quadriga." it's been just about a year since a faction of the turkish military tried to topple president erdogan. on the night of july 15, 2016, tanks rolled through istanbul, blocking roads and bridges, while jets bombed government buildings, leaving at least 240 people dead. the coup failed. in its aftermath, the government instigated a crackdown, detaining or firing thousands of civil servants, professors, and journalists. arrests continue, yet now, resistance seems to be on the rise. critics are taking to the streets. one year on, erdogan under
pressure? that's what we want to talk about "quadriga," with our guests. it is a pleasure to welcome antje bauer. she is a former journalist who reported from turkey for german media. she's now project manager at the dw academy, responsible for media training for middle eastern journalists. she says, "erdogan is coming under increasing pressure, but unfortunately, there is no political alternative yet." and it's great to have ulrike herrmann on the show once again. she's the business editor at the berlin daily, "taz." she says, " erdogan's only in danger if turkey plunges into economic crisis." and it's great to have bulent mumay on the show. he was formerly head of the online service at turkey's largest newspaper. he was dismissed from that post under government pressure. he is now a freelance journalist writing, among other things, a column for the german newspaper, "frankfurt allgemeine zeitung." he says, "the failed coup attempt strengthened erdogan, but events since then raise the question of how well he will do
in the 2019 presidential election." i would like to start with you, bulent mumay, and ask where you see our country today, one year on after the failed coup. bulent: well, actually, a lot of things have changed in the country, and a lot of things have not changed in the country. even before the military coup, we had a lot of pressure on press, and intellectuals and academics at universities, but after the coup, a became larger and deeper, and is still continuing. actually, the measures that have been taken by mr. erdogan against the coup has been started to be used against all opponents harder and harsher. unfortunately, the country is getting worse and worse. it's a question like, if the coup is successful, what happens in a country? academics are being expelled or being dismissed, and journalists are being arrested, but now we have a failed coup, and the results are not different than a successful coup.
unfortunately, we are suffering the same stuff nowadays. melinda: you yourself were arrested after the coup. why, and what were the circumstances of your release? bulent: actually, i was accused nists in helping the military coup. melinda: remind us briefly who the gulenists are. because for many of our viewers, that name is not so familiar. bulent: the gulenists are the group which were allies of mr. erdogan. gulen is kind of a preacher, now he's living in the u.s., and he has a huge support in the country. he used to have a bigger audience. they were like governing the country in an unofficial coalition, mr. erdogan's political movement. one day at the end of 2011, they had a fight. we still don't know why they started to fight. they started to fight each other. they started to kill each other in some manners. after that, the fight is getting bigger and bigger. now that we had the result in 2016 as a military coup. melinda: and you were --
bulent: yes i had been blamed. , one day they knocked down my door and arrested me, and took me to the police station and i was put in a cell. i was blamed for being part of the military coup. it was the silliest thing i've ever heard in my life. i was one of the journalists marching against the gulenists. when the gulenists, policeman, and the judge were arresting our friends in 2010, i was in the streets criticizing them. we all know that is the reason the government wanted to punish all opponents, all opposition journalists after the coup, by using that blame on everyone. anyway, i was one of the luckiest ones. it was just four or five days. still, some of my friends who had been arrested with me, they are still in jail. one year they are still in jail, and they have not faced a judge. melinda: i want to come back to the circumstances of the media, but thanks for sharing your story. antje bauer, the past year has seen not only seen a crackdown on critics and opponents of mr. erdogan's regime, but also a referendum that greatly expanded presidential powers.
not yet fully in effect, but the referendum did take place. to what extent is turkish democracy itself under threat? antje: i don't know how much democracy we still have. i think we can't really talk about the state of justice right now in turkey. people are arrested without any clear accusations. they are being held and detained for months without a process. i don't think we can talk about the state of law in turkey right now. we have like a demonstration of democracy because the referendum has been held, and general elections are being announced. how will you organize a referendum when the media are all under control of the government? what does that mean? that the people will be informed only from that one side? do they know what that means?
did they know the consequences are, what the government did before their friend was having people being afraid of the kurds, of chaos, of gulen? there are a lot of devils in turkey, according to the government. so those people who voted for him, many of them just trying to be on the side of the angels, somehow. they didn't really have the basis to understand what was going on. melinda: angels, devils, and ulrike herrmann, someone say a -- some would say a dictator. german media have referred to mr. erdogan as a dictator. he absolutely protests that designation. what do you think, is he one? ulrike: yes, of course, he is a dictator. if you throw people in jail and suppress the media, and suppress the opposition, and get legally -- representatives are thrown in jail, that's a dictatorship.
an outright dictatorship. there's no question about it. melinda: one turkish citizen who has openly referred to president erdogan as a dictator is the head of the largest opposition party, the secular chp. he accuses erdogan of having exploited the state of emergency following last year's coup attempt to carry out what is in effect a state coup from above. now, he's calling for action, starting a march that began as a lone trek, and turned into a mass protest. let's take a look. announcer:emal kilicdaroglu has long been considered boring, weak-willed, and too tame in regard to erdogan. but with his march for justice, the opposition leader was able to mobilize the masses. as many as 20,000 people marched the 450 kilometers from ankara to istanbul. the rally at the end drew hundreds of thousands. >> we marched for the justice that no longer exists in this
country, for our fellow citizens who are in prison, and for all the journalists who have been arrested. announcer: kilicdaroglu began to march to protest the detention of a member of parliament from his chp party. president erdogan accused him of supporting terrorism. yet, the march was allowed to go ahead. the result was the largest opposition rally since the protests in the park four years ago. could this be the start of a new political movement? melinda: bulent mumay, you said in your opening statement that it's questionable how well president erdogan will actually do in the 2019 election that is scheduled. could what we've seen there be the beginning of an opposition movement that could actually threaten what appears to be his ironclad rule? bulent: actually, there is hope about that.
that started in the previous referendum in april. basically, chp had 25% vote in the country. melinda: chp being the opposition party that he leads. bulent: yes. the vote was just 25%. they were the main party who were trying to make propaganda. it was a big success that they were able to gain 49%. that showed the turkish society and international media that turkey doesn't just mean erdogan and akp. people feel alone. people who are like us, on the streets asking for justice, they felt themselves so alone, because they are always under the strike of erdogan's politics. now, that march was a huge moral support to that audience that it will maybe be possible to make that 49% to 51% in 2019. the reason that erdogan is so
furious and angry about the marches, he knows that is the rise of the movement is going up until 2019, that can create the end for him. melinda: ulrike herrmann, you said in your opening statement that erdogan would only be under a really significant threat if turkey were to plunge into economic crisis. why is that, to what degree could that in fact be the case? ulrike: i think you know that all these elections and referendums don't change anything, because whenever erdogan loses one of these votes, he is just suppressing people even more. democratic institutions are no longer able in turkey to rein in erdogan. the only thing that can happen, according to me, is that his supporters, especially in the akp, lose out because of erdogan. if there is an economic crisis , and they are all supporters of erdogan because they got rich
with him, and if they feel their own interests are in danger by erdogan or the economic crisis, then i think they would be ready to kill him. and i mean that in the real sense of the word. he would just be removed. but an economic crisis is very hard to forsee, because at the moment, the growth rates in turkey are going down, but there is still growth. it is not yet a catastrophic situation. there could always be one, because erdogan, according to me, is no longer acting very rationally. just one possible scenario, he attacks one foreign investor for some reason, perhaps because he thinks he is part of gulen as well, then no one will invest in the turkish economy anymore. it is really dependent on foreign investments. that is just one of many possible scenarios where the economy could really suffer, and erdogan, growing more and more aggressive towards everyone else. melinda: speaking of the
economic link, antje bauer, let's talk about who make up those who are protesting. certainly in the protests, if you look back at the square mentioned in that report, we saw a lot of members of the turkish urban middle-class out there demonstrating. to what degree could they form the backbone of political opposition? your own opening statement expressed doubt that there is a real political alternative, but isn't that dissatisfied urban middle class a potential opposition movement in the making? antje: yes, it is. there's no doubt for me about that. i think also that the people who participate in the march were all a part of the turkish public, that's what the protests were. i think the park was more young, urban students. this time, if we saw the pictures on tv, we saw that they were middle-aged people, even some older people. i think this was much broader.
it was, in the beginning, something of a movement of the chp, of the opposition party, but to the astonishment of everybody, included the leader of the party, kemal kilicdaroglu, and many people joined the march. i think it was an expression of a broader disagreement with the government. i fully agree to what he say -- you say about the paramount importance of economic growth for the maintenance of the government, but i think there are still additional factors. i think that the turks feel there's too much polarization in the country. i've heard about many years that they are afraid of a civil war, which never happened in the end, but there is something like wanting not to fight inside of the country. i have never seen so much polarization, political
polarization, as is taking place right now. that is one important thing which could also lead to a broad opposition against the president. i also think that they fear international isolation, because there's more and more of a shift towards other dictatorships, like russia, or iran, or middle eastern countrie not all the turks are happy with this. melinda: let's come back in a moment to the question of international pressure. one last question in regards to mr. kilicdaroglu and the chp. why hasn't president erdogan cracked down yet on him and on this new movement, and if he were to crack down, couldn't mr. kilicdaroglu withstand the pressure? we certainly heard in the report that he is often seen as being rather weak. bulent: turkish people love charismatic political leaders,
like erdogan is one of them. and my name comes from a leader 30 or 40 years ago, my father was a fan of him. we always loved that kind of political figure in the country. unfortunately, mr. kilicdaroglu is not that kind of person. he became a very interesting condition to becoming the president of chp. that was kind of a videotaped crisis, and he became the president of chp. anyway, the problem is he knows that he is not enough for that. especially in the march, the journalists asked him several times, "will you be a nominee against mr. erdogan in 2019?" he didn't say it directly, but he meant, "i want to be." i think he's trying to just open the way, trying to broaden the opposition gateway to the 2019, and he's not strong enough. anything is possible in turkey. anything can happen. since my 20's, i did journalism in turkey. i'm 40 years old.
as far as i know, they would not dare to arrest mr. kilicdaroglu. that would start something else in the country. melinda: several of you have made the point that for a real opposition political movement to gain traction, turkey would meet -- need a press that is able to report openly on the circumstances there. let us, therefore, take a closer look at president erdogan's treatment of the press, because it has been one of the main targets of repression. according to amnesty international, more than 130 journalists are sitting in turkish jails. amongst them, the german turkish reporter, deniz yucel, who has been detained for the past five months. >> as you know, turkey has become the biggest jail for journalists in the world. so we are trying to get our friends out of jail. >> it is in no uncertain terms irreconcilable with the rule of
law for an executive branch, in this case, the turkish executive, to rush to prejudent, as hahappened puicly witdeniz yul. >> iimply wa the pubc prosutor tact accoing to cotitution criteriand to formly chargmy husba. weant my husband to gea fair ial. we have no hope of anything else anymore. melinda: ulrike herrmann, just this week in germany, president erdogan vehemently denied charges that turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. he said, at most, turkey is currently detaining two "real" journalists. he said that western media are full of bias in their reporting
on turkey. is there any truth to that? are we too one-sided in the way we cover the situation there? ulrike: no. it's probably the other way around, that we are too soft. for many reasons. many media want to keep their correspondence in turkey. but in order to stay in turkey, you cannot report on anything you know, because otherwise you would be thrown out. that happened to a correspondent who would have been endangered if he had returned to turkey, because he had reported on leaked emails showing corruption of the government. everyone who is in turkey is very careful. in fact, it's just the other way around. melinda: bulent mumay, in that report, we heard deniz yucel's wife saying she simply wants him to get a fair trial. based on your experience, would you say that hope is justified? bulent: i don't think so. i'm so sorry to say that her
will will not come true in the country. it's not possible. can you believe that a political leader, a president, is making a statement, he is saying i won't set him free until blah blah? you are not the court or the judge. how can you talk about a journalist, someone who is arrested? how can you talk about this case? we don't have that kind of justice system unfortunately nowadays, and i'm sorry that he will sit in jail, hostage. melinda: antje bauer, we heard the chancellor's remarks in that report. certainly german and european union politicians have been applying pressure. is it working and are they doing enough? antje: i'm not sure it's working. i'm not sure the european union nowadays has the leverage. behink what works can economic pressure. otherwise, i see the german troops have been forced to
withdraw from the military base in the south of turkey, and the turkish government didn't even try to settle the problem. so they agreed to that. that means they are really up to having problems. that's very interesting, because this government started saying zero problems with other neighbors. now they are having a lot of problems with everybody. melinda: indeed, they said, ulrike herrmann, prior to the g20 summit that took twice here in germany, they said germany was committing political suicide. those where president erdogan's words in a newspaper interview, because germany would not allow him to speak to a rally of turkish citizens living in germany just prior to the summit. what is behind the german refusal, and is that kind of ra moree on kara -- anka likely to drive change or a siege mentality?
ulrike: he is not allowing german politicians to talk freely in turkey, so there's no reason why he, as a dictator, should have the freedom of free speech in germany. but it is very doubtful whether this is a diplomatic success in the sense that you can somehow get turkish supporters of erdogan to wake up, because erdogan then has the chance to tell turkish supporters and the public in turkey, "well, i'm the victim, turkey is treated badly, we must fight against european neighbors because they are not respecting us." so in a way, it is difficult to put pressure on erdogan, because he can always use that for propaganda within turkey. the propaganda team confessed before the referendum when they had problems with the netherlands and germany that meetings had been done in these
countries, they would have been raised two points. it worked for him. he used it. melinda: that would be the polarization factor once again. the eu parliament has called on the european union commission the governing body,, to suspend accession talks with turkey. the commission hasn't said yet it will do so, but mr. erdogan also said this week that he doesn't care. he says if the eu turns its back on turkey, it doesn't matter, most turks have given up anyway on ever becoming members of the european union. true, anday that's does that mean that the european union also has no letters for putting more pressure on turkey? bulent: unfortunately, the dream of being a member of the european union is over. it's not leverage anymore for turkey. the pressure of opposition from europe against turkey is too late. 2010, the after
european society, they were silent. they were thinking that mr. erdogan came and is changing the country towards democracy. our european, colleagues are telling us, you think he has a hidden agenda, yes he has a hidden agenda. when he was trying to reduce the influence of the army, the he moved thought that turkey to democracy. unfortunately, no. he was trying to and power himself more and more. now the eu is not leverage for him anymore. melinda: antje bauer, i take us back to the statement of president erdogan saying germany was committing political suicide by not allowing him to speak to turkish allies. what exactly is he intending? if i come back to the title, erdogan under pressure, who more, europe under
turkey, or turkey under your? ulrike: i think he can use this to increase support. antje: i don't know what he means by political suicide. but it is somehow trying to get their own ranks together and have people connected. obviously, the march was a threat. obviously, he could have prevented, and people could see it in other channels in turkey. they could see the march and things are going on. but i think he feels somehow under threat, but it's not europe who is the main threat. it comes from inside. melinda: briefly returning to the title, erdogan under pressure, ulrike herrmann, where will it lead? we have come to a consensus, he is under pressure. ulrike: it really gets dangerous for him, because of an economic crisis especially. the first thing he would do is start a war against someone, against his neighbors, in order to somehow deflect public unrest
and build the image he is a great leader. you saidbulent mumay, that you thought the opposition could gain traction, but you've also said there's not much we can do from the outside to increase pressure. bulent: the pressure from outside, unfortunately, can help him more. the problem is the inner structure should change the situation in the country. the problem is, when you have more money and more power, you steal more. i think he knows that the opposition today has 49%. in two years, if they can gain two more votes, he knows it will be a threat. melinda: pressure from within. thank you for being with us. thanks to all of you for being with us. see you soon. ♪
michelle: hello, and welcome to "fokus on europe." i'm michelle henery. babies are being born with severe disabilities because of a drug given to their mothers during pregnancy. this may sound like the thalidomide tragedy of the 1960's, but critics say this is happening today in france. parents of thousands of disabled children are making serious accusations against the french pharmaceutal company sanofi. they say that an anti-epilepsy drug is responsible for their children's physical and mental problems. but the drug companynsists, "we have fulfilled our duty of care."