Information hero

Hasan Cemal

“If this is journalism, then down with your journalism!” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not mince his words when he accused the daily Milliyetof jeopardising the peace process with Kurdish rebels in March last year when it published the minutes of the negotiations. His blast was aimed partly at the noted columnist Hasan Cemal, who defended his newspaper and said he believed each must do his job. He was forced to resign shortly afterwards. Yet, if anyone believes in peace and reconciliation, it is him. But he is also used to breaking taboos. At the height of the fighting between Ankara and the PKK, he was among the handful of journalists who went to interview the rebels in their stronghold in the Kandil mountains. In 2012, he published a book whose title alone would have landed him in prison a few years earlier: “1915: Armenian Genocide”. It quickly became a best seller and its success was was a sign that Turkish society was changing. The 70-year-old journalist, who now works for the news website T24, is still the regular target of hate campaigns and smears by the far right.