Hürriyet voices regret over army-gov’t story, calls headline an editorial mistake

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The Hürriyet daily, which is at the center of government criticism due to one of its recent reports about the government-military relationship, has voiced regret over the report and called the headline of the story an editorial mistake that went beyond its purpose.

Hürriyet has attracted widespread criticism from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as well as Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and other government figures for the report and has been accused of trying to create tension between the government and the army.

The report, which was published on Saturday and written by Hürriyet’s Ankara Representative Hande Fırat, was titled “The [military] headquarters is restless,” which meant to say that the General Staff was disturbed about criticism suggesting that it was too close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and found it without merit.

The daily received criticism in particular because of its choice of headline as it was reminiscent of the “Young Officers Are Restless” headline that appeared in the Cumhuriyet daily in May 2003 shortly after the AKP came to power as a single party government. The Cumhuriyet’s news report hinted at a military intervention because military officers were uneasy with the practices of the AKP government.

Releasing a statement on Tuesday, Hürriyet said: “We have never imagined such a meaning would be attributed to this headline. Such a deliberate act is out of the question. Even if there was no such intention, the ‘military is restless’ headline could be seen as an editorial mistake. We are sorry for it.”

Hürriyet’s statement came following remarks by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said the daily would pay a heavy price for writing such a story which he said was aimed at pitting the government and the military against each other.

The daily’s announcement also came after a statement from the General Staff, which accused the daily of distorting its statements.

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