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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  March 21, 2018 4:30am-5:01am GMT

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from facebook to answer questions about whether personal data was misused to manipulate recent elections. facebook has said it was deceived by a british company, cambridge analytica, that worked for president trump's election campaign, among others. emergency services in texas say an incendiary device that went off in the city of austin was not related to a series of explosions this month. however, the fbi has confirmed that two packages found at separate fedex delivery offices in the area, on tuesday, are connected to the earlier attacks. a bbc investigation has found that girls from myanmar‘s rohingya muslim minority, who fled violence in their home country, are being trafficked into prostitution in bangladesh. hundreds of thousands of rohingya now live in huge refugee camps where they are vulnerable to sexual exploitation. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk.
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i'm stephen sackur. more than 150 journalists are currently imprisoned in turkey. president erdogan government stands accused of an all—out assault on freedom of expression. my guest todayis freedom of expression. my guest today is can dundar who as experienced imprisonment, life—threatening violence and ex— owl in the last couple of years, after publishing material which infuriated the turkish president. in the battle for turkish future and its soul, who is a winning? can dundar, welcome to hardtalk.
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thank you. you live in germany, you would like to live in turkey but it's not possible. do you feel a sense of freedom in germany that you could not enjoy in your last period inside turkey? you can't really feel as a free man while your friends are in jail, your family is under, you know, away from you and, at the same time, you are threatened by a very despotic government. if you are seen as a threat by the government, you can't be free, feel free everywhere in the world, nowhere in the world. do you have security right now? of course, part of your story over the last couple of years is notjust arrest and imprisonment but also there was an attempt on your life. do you feel secure in germany?
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not really. because turkish intelligence is so active in germany and there are a lot of pro—government people, pro—erdogan people living in germany, and that's why there is a huge campaign against me by the turkish government, that's why it's a kind of... um, it's not the safest place in the world, germany... do you have security? yeah, i do have security. if i do something in public, they come and protect me. i suppose your story is very much about your relationship with president erdogan, and the two of you have known of each other for an awful long time and, indeed, i am interested to go back in time to the early 20005, when you wrote about erdogan in a pretty favourable manner. you described yourself as "cautiously optimistic" about him. you said that "here is a man who stands up to the military". do you think, in retrospect, that you totally misunderstood the man? i guess he was pretending
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like he was a democrat all those years and he had a plan from the beginning and he convinced many turkish liberals, together with western governments that he's a democrat and he's trying to get the turkish army back to the barracks again, and we were also critical about the turkish army being so involved in turkish politics that's why someone who was promising to get the army back to the barracks was, you know, we should give him a chance but we knew that he was not a democrat because he said already as a governor of istanbul, back to 1996, he said democracy is not my main aim, it isjust a tool to get me to the main aim. let's get to the unfolding of events
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in more recent times. you knew that, as the century proceded, we got to 2010, 2012, that erdogan was showing a much more authoritarian streak in his rule. but you took some rash decisions. imean, for example, when you became editor in chief of cumhuriyet, you must have known that breaking this story in 2015 about the turkish government smuggling arms over the border to rebels in syria, you must have known that running that story would put an enormous strain, to say the least, on your relationship with the government? of course, we knew it. in a way, we were expecting it. because, as a journalist, of course, you must be realistic about this but what would you do? i mean, you have a story, which is true, your government is doing something illegal and hiding itand naming it as state secrets and you are a journalist,
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and you are a journalist, this is your duty... well, it was a state secret, clearly it was a state secret, it it was a covert operation, nobody was supposed to do about it. that is the point of covert operations. it was turkey's iran gate. it was turkey's irangate. in a way, it was not a state secret it was the secret of erdogan so he was trying to get involved in the syrian war in an illegal way. well, put yourself in the shoes of a journalist in a different country. i mean, frankly, if a british journalist had tried to dig deep into the affairs of military intelligence in the uk, or the same thing in the united states, they would have run into serious trouble. we have something called the official secrets act. have you seen the film the post? i have seen the film the post, which concerns vietnam and the uncovering of the pentagon papers. so they were right to publish the story. it's more or less the same story with us, with a very different ending, unfortunately. but, i mean, this is our duty
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to inform the public about this kind of danger. well, yes, but presumably as a turk you also have an obligation and a duty to consider things like putting turkish military personnel or others at risk and you do know that the turkish government insisted that what you had uncovered was not gunrunning to rebels but was actually the transfer of aid and assistance to turkmen civilians. the turkish government wanted to help the turkmen civilian population inside turkey. that is what mr erdogan said. that's what they said but the turkmen denied this allegation. they said they did not get aid from this and we knew that turkey had a very a close contact with the islamic guerrillas in syria and we were opposing it. so that's what it was important. but, again, to be fair to the turkish government, you went through due process. erdogan we know was furious with you. he described what you did
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as espionage and said, "those who wrote that will be punished" but he did not do it himself. he filed a complaint and the courts took it up and you were tried in a court of law. exactly and, unfortunately, the courts are all controlled by himself... that's your opinion. yeah, i mean, so when he ordered a kind of complaint, or defined me as a traitor or a spy, nojudge can, you know, decide the other way. you spent 92 days in prison in the course of the legal process before the actual conviction. what were those 92 days like? i was in solitary confinement. in a way i was ready because if you are a journalist in turkey, you must be ready for any kind of insults, imprisonment, harassment,
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even being killed so psychologically i felt ready. immediately i start working, writing, and tried to give a voice to the words that something is going on in the country. to the world that something is going on in the country. see that's what strikes me about turkey, it's complex to make sense of the nature of the authoritarianism that we talk about in turkey because there you sit in prison, erdogan has declared you an enemy of the state and yet you are free to write, you're free to express your opinion, you can get that opinion to the outside world. i mean, this isn't exactly north korea, is it? with our government it was difficult, it was not easy to do it. you can do everything in turkey but the price is high. you must be brave enough to do it.
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if you are ready to pay the price, you are free to do it. you are free to write, you are free to talk but the price is really high so you can spend your whole life injail. well, that is a very interesting way to put it the price is very high. in the end you chose to avoid paying some of that inevitable price by, when you were released on appeal, you fled. you were invited to germany to receive a journalistic price you were invited to germany to receive a journalistic prize and you decided not to go back. partly true because after i was released i spent five months in turkey, i got back to myjob again, but it was summer time and i went on holiday to spain, in fact, then this military coup attempt has happened in turkey, then the rule of law was lifted. and my lawyers advised me to stay away from the country
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for a while and that's why i decided to stay in germany. was it partly out of fear because i referred earlier to an attempt on your life. a gunman approached you outside the court one day and, miraculously, you survived, even though he tried to shoot you at very close range. but was it fear that drove you out of turkey in the end? of course, otherwise... being in jail doesn't matter, you can stay injail for a while but if your life is in danger, of course, you should think twice. it wasn't the turkish state though, was it? there has been a legal proceedings against the government there has been a legal proceedings against the gunman and there is no connection, it seems, between him and the state. he said... he said that he was inspired by the accusations of the statesman and he is free now, with his passport in his pocket. that clearly is a bitter thing for you to swallow. of course, and my wife hasn't got a passport but he has. you talk about your wife, dilek, she is in turkey she is not
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free to travel. she has been stopped from visiting you in germany. yes, she was stopped at the airport without any accusation. there is no accusation against her. no investigation and she has done nothing other than marry me... how hard is that because you have no prospect of going home. she has no prospect of leaving turkey. this is the price i was talking about. so this is part of the deal and he loves taking hostages and he tries to punish me by keeping the family away from each other. this is a strange word to use but do you feel a sense of guilt about your situation because you are now in germany, you are here in the uk, a play is being produced about some of your experiences, you know, you are something of a well—known figure now in the western media and yet your wife is stuck in turkey but more than that, many of your colleagues
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on the cumhuriyet newspaper are facing more legal proceedings. many of them, i think 16 of them, have been in prison since you got out of the country. they are 150 journalists in all currently in prison, thousands have lost theirjobs — do you feel awkward about being outside of turkey? yes of course. if i was in turkey and would be in jail or in the cemetery so... but i'm not silent, i am still struggling for something. i am still writing and talking about my country and defending our freedom, our democracy so i really believe in the future so, in turkey, i wouldn't be so vocal but now i have the opportunity to talk to people in the world about turkey. yes, we interviewed mr erdogan last year on hardtalk.
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this is what he said about the accusation that he has repressed freedom of expression systematically in his country. he said, "no one is jailed because of journalism. right now in turkey there are many opposition journalist can write a lot of things, all kinds of articles, all kinds of insults, and they are still out there and those who are in jail, well, they are criminals. they have no title as journalists." yes, exactly. so i have been working as a journalist for more than 35 years now and convicted as a terrorist. there are a lot ofjournalists like me so in his eyes, if you're criticising the government, you are a terrorist and that is why he won't accept, he doesn't accept that there arejournalists injail because in his eyes they are not journalists but they are journalists. they are my friends and my
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colleagues and they have done nothing but write and criticise the government. explain to me how mr erdogan is still, according to the opinion polls, by far the most popular politician in turkey. explain to me how it looks as though he can expect to be in power because of that popularity until, perhaps, 2029. the man dominates turkey despite all the things you say about him, he is the man. he is the man. imagine yourself in his shoe, but the president when you're determined to dominate the government, the parliament the judiciary, the media, businesses. you are the sultan, you're not allowed to make a demonstration against the government. it must be so easy to run such a country. it must be so easy to run such a
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country. is there not also a question about you and your collea g u es question about you and your colleagues in the secular liberal progressive media? colleagues in the secular liberal progressive media ? for colleagues in the secular liberal progressive media? for all of your bravery and courage, and i do not belittle that in any way, you appear to be out of touch with many of your countrymen and women. the question should be the other way around, how come, in these circumstances, half of these people are still resisting him in such a country under these circumstances? really, i mean, it is very surprising for us to see 50% of the people voted against him in the last referendum. it is bravery. what
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about fethullah gulen and the idea... again, the turkish state is clear about this. the idea that gulen and his networks, and we saw it manifested in the idea he was behind the coup of 2015, he is trying to undermine democracy and they are trying to corrupt those institutions. i guess this is one of theissues institutions. i guess this is one of the issues that i agree with him. are you a gulenist? i agree with erdogan. if someone is a gulenist in turkey, number one is erdogan. together, they run the country, for yea rs. together, they run the country, for years. and gulen was in charge of
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the theocracy, universities, media, and the university system, and erdogan was in charge of the money. we work reciting both of them. and is now erdogan says gulen is not the right guy to partner with. he has to do something. to quote the turkish foreign minister a few days ago, he said we are going through a necessary face to make sure gulenist members, including sleeper cells, are removed from all positions of power in the media, business, and academia. it is a painful process, he said, but we act within the law. ha, within the law. they inserted them into the state. they made it. and now the creator attacks the creator. it is a frankenstein story.
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and now they are accusing us of being gulenists. everyone opposing the government nowadays is branded a gulenist. that is the thing. i have nothing to do with them. the outside world looks at this and sometimes they are confused about what is happening in turkey. would you say you have been gravely disappointed with the reaction of the eu, for example, in these months, in terms of what you want to see, isolation and condemnation of erdogan. definitely. i am so much deeply disappointed by the institutes of western governments. that is due to the refugee crisis, in fact... they need mr erdogan. .. they do not want to annoy him. they want someone to ta ke to annoy him. they want someone to take refugees in turkey. they made a
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dirty deal with erdogan, and that was they kept a closed eye to his aggression and in turn he kept refugees in turkey. you say a dirty deal, others say practical politics. to quote the former eu commissioner, he said at the end of last year, in the midst of this negotiation, what turkey could do to stem the flow of refugees into europe, he said the eu needs turkey more than turkey needs the eu right now. what principles? what about democracy? we have been fighting for so—called "western ideals" like equality for men and women, democracy, and so on. to see european leaders at the other side, it is really disappointing. they should be supporting democracy in turkey, but instead, umm, theyjust ignored it. you are in a difficult
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position because on the one hand you seem to be idling for the isolation of erdogan by the eu, and surely the whole point of the position is that you want bridges to be built between the eu and turkey. what messages are sending if turkey was completely isolated? turkey is not akin to erdogan. erdogan should be isolated, turkey should not. it is not only erdogan. the opponents, the freedom fighters in turkey, democrats, and, you know, 50% of turkey. you are asking the eu to interfere in turkish internal affairs. no, i do not expect anything from the european governments. take british artists trying to give a hand to turkish democracy by, you know,
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playing something about turkey. and some publishing houses playing, you know, publishing books about turkey. accepting turkish academics. and trade unions, parties, organisations, i am talking about this. do not isolate turkey, make it a member in this family. that is a very interesting point you are making. i know you are here to work ina making. i know you are here to work in a play called "we are arrested", based on a memoir you wrote in prison. a shakespeare company is putting it on as a play in the uk. how important is that sort of cultural messaging, and reaching out across the world for you today? does it make your life worth living? yeah. this is a lifelong experience. it was a testimony, my book. i got a call from the royal shakespeare company saying we just want to make
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a play out of this. do you think it will make a difference? of course. it isa will make a difference? of course. it is a very important message. and at the same time, it is a kind of anushka and for the aggressive government saying that art is much more valuable than your daily politics. it will stay for years. but what about erdogan? you wrote that in prison, so there is no doubting your determination to keep talking and expressing yourself if there. but surely at times you have to think that your wife is still stuck inside turkey, you have other family inside turkey, are you in a nyway family inside turkey, are you in anyway self censoring because you are so concerned anyway self censoring because you are so concerned about them?‘ anyway self censoring because you are so concerned about them? a very important question. umm, at least you have to think twice what you are writing and what you talk about. i talk to my wife and she said ok,
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talk to my wife and she said ok, talk about me, because this is our struggle. but of course, this is the logic of taking hostages. if your friends are injail, yourfamily is there, of course you have to think twice. that is a kind of censorship. do you think you will ever be able to live with your wife again? of course. i am so hopeful about tu rkey‘s course. i am so hopeful about turkey's feature. and we are coming to the end of this darkest dower. —— future. —— hour. unfortunately, turkey is a missing... how can you say that with so much optimism as we have discussed that erdogan‘s grip on your country is tighter than ever. but on the other hand, we have half of the people resisting. and just on women's day, streets were
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full of women resisting even if it is dangerous and risky for them. this country will not surrender. that is why i am so optimistic about the country. can dundar, thank you for coming in hardtalk. thank you very much. thank you. hello again. tuesday brought us some beautiful, sunny weather across northern ireland and scotland. that's where the best of the sunshine was, and what a beautiful end to the day it was as well. this was the scene in 0ban, argyll and bute, looking out over the scottish islands as the sun set in the west. some changes, though, working in for wednesday. got some thicker cloud working into the north—west of the country. so, for scotland and northern ireland, a cloudier start to the day.
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some rain on the charts edging into western scotland as well. so for some, it will be a damper start as well. whereas further south, for england and wales, clearer skies overnight. well, that means, for early—risers, we've got something like this. a widespread frost developing, even in the towns and cities. head into the countryside and a really a cold start to the day. temperatures could be down as low as —6 in the coldest spots wales. a cold start then, yes, but beautiful sunny skies in england and wales for most of the morning. into the afternoon, cloud thickening from the north and west. sunshine will make the sun hazy elsewhere, but probably the thicker cloud won't reach the south—east until the evening time. further north a different story. cloudy with outbreaks of rain working into western scotland fairly quickly in the day. any rain not lasting long in northern ireland. but could be slow to clear in western scotland. eastern scotland will be prone to seeing occasional bright spells through the afternoon. and here, temperatures will lift into double figures, probably one of the warmest spots in the uk.
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even further south, those temperatures going up. and, crucially, we will have lost the bitter wind. looking at the weather picture for thursday, a decent start to the day for many of us, with some bright and sunny spells. we've got a weather front coming in from the atlantic bringing heavy rain to western areas later in the afternoon. also some pretty strong winds edging into wales and south—west england, where we could get gales developing around the coast later in the day. looking towards the end of the week, an area of cloud and rain pushing across the uk. and then another area of low pressure set to swing in off the atlantic and moving towards the south—west of the uk. some uncertainty about exactly how far north the band of rain gets. we may see a stronger area of low pressure develop, and if that happens, the rain might not get quite as far northwards. so, that is a possibility for friday. 9—11 for most of us. but the position of that rain is really important for the weather we'll have across scotland and northern ireland on saturday. at the moment, we're forecasting rain. but if the low pressure area is a bit more developed, it could be clear and a decent day on saturday with bright
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or sunny spells. as i say, quite a bit of uncertainty at the moment, but we will keep you posted. this is the briefing. i'm sally bundock. our top story: politicians in europe and the us demand answers from facebook about alleged misuse of personal data in election campaigns. the fbi confirms six bomb attacks in the texan city of austin are linked. lost for decades — an austrian film that foresaw the rise of the nazis is given a new lease of life. taxing the tech titans: the european commission plans to make companies like google, amazon and facebook pay theirfair share. and as pressure mounts on facebook over the handling of users' data by cambridge analytica, the uk political consultancy‘s operations in asia come under scrutiny.
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