Can Dundar gets straight to the point. The former editor of the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, who has spent 92 days behind bars and has a five-years-10-months prison term hanging over his head for “revealing state secrets,” was among the finalists for the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought. As a nominee, his mere presence here in the European Parliament is a provocation in itself.
“Today I speak to you as a terrorist, according to my government,” he said.
He speaks about Western contradictions and relations between the European Union and Turkey. While the refugee admission process to the E.U. is frozen, Ankara remains an adamant NATO ally. “They want a country-soldier and a container of refugees. We immediately reached a dirty agreement: money and entry visas in exchange for refugees.”
He adds: “Europe has also called for an amendment of the anti-terrorism law, but that will never happen. That law is the main tool against opponents like me. But it was my duty as a journalist, it was my job to denounce that deal.”
Just as it was his duty to denounce the delivery of weapons by the Turkish secret services to active Islamist groups in Syria, as proven with videos and photos published in Cumhuriyet in 2015. The report cost him and the Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül a prison sentence, but he reiterates it was “a true story. No one in the government has ever denied it.”