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Pro-gov’t hitman calls for arrest of Hürriyet owner, journalist due to report on army

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Cem Küçük, a staunchly pro-government journalist known for his social media attacks on government critics, has called on prosecutors to take legal action against the Hürriyet daily’s owner Aydın Doğan and journalist Hande Fırat and ensure their arrest due to a report in the daily on Saturday about the military-government relationship.

In the report, which was written by Hürriyet’s Ankara Representative Fırat and was the daily’s major story on Saturday, military sources responded to widespread criticism claiming that the country’s General Staff is too close to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

The headline of the story was “The [military] headquarters is restless,” which meant to say that the General Staff was disturbed about such criticism.

Writing from his Twitter account on Saturday, Küçük said: “With this news report, Hande Fırat and Hürriyet committed suicide. This is no different than the ‘Young Officers Are Restless’ headline.”

The “Young Officers Are Restless” headline is a reference to a news report that appeared in the Cumhuriyet daily in May 2003 shortly after the AKP came to power as a single party government. The news report hinted at a military intervention becausemilitary officers were uneasy with the practices of the AKP government.

Küçük called on prosecutors to launch an investigation into Doğan and Fırat and ensure their arrest, claiming that writing such a headline is a crime.

Küçük also claimed that both Doğan and Fırat are enemies of democracy and that their anti-coup attitude during a failed coup attempt on July 15 was fake.

Fırat, who aired a FaceTime message from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the evening of a coup attempt on July 15, has been so far lauded by government supporters.

In his message, Erdoğan called on Turkish people to take to the streets to confront the coup plotters as a result of which thousands of people went into the streets to stop the coup.

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