Top Turkish daily fires commentator over anti-Erdogan tweet

The Milliyet daily fired commentator Kadri Gursel as his critical tweet was not in line with their editorial policies (File photo: Reuters)

A leading Turkish daily has fired one of its most senior commentators after he sent a tweet bitterly critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s policy on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters, reports said on Thursday.

The Milliyet daily said that commentator Kadri Gursel’s employment had been terminated as the tweet was not in line with its editorial policies.

“It’s embarrassing that foreign leaders call the person who is the number one cause of the ISIS terror in Turkey to present their condolences for Suruc,” Gursel said in a Turkish-language tweet that has been retweeted 3,000 times.

From his Twitter account, the journalist accused Erdogan of being the main factor behind the rise of ISIS and said it was shameful that world leaders were addressing to him condolences for a suicide bombing in the town of Suruc blamed on the ISIS.

“The comments by our writer Mr Kadri Gursel are incompatible with the understanding and responsibility of the ethics of our group of journalists,” Milliyet said in a statement.

Crackdown on press freedoms

Thirty two people were killed in Monday’s suicide bombing in Suruc on the Syrian border which the government blamed on ISIS fighters.

Turkey has been repeatedly accused of colluding in the past with ISIS extremists in the hope they might prove useful in its aim of knocking out Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Ankara has denied such claims.

There has been growing concern about deteriorating press freedoms in Turkey and in particular over the numbers of journalists facing legal proceedings on accusations of insulting Erdogan.

Gursel is one of Milliyet’s most senior writers. He started working for the paper in the late 1990s and was first given a column in 2007.

Milliyet is a mainstream daily respected for its reporting but is generally careful about overtly criticising Erdogan.

It is owned by the Demiroren Group, one of Turkey’s largest conglomerates with interests in energy, construction and media. Its chief Erdogan Demiroren is widely seen as close to the president.

Last Update: Thursday, 23 July 2015 KSA 12:06 - GMT 09:06

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