From left to right: Barish Pehlivan, Barish Terkoglu, Soner Yalcin, Mais Alizadeh

From left to right: Barish Pehlivan, Barish Terkoglu, Soner Yalcin, Mais Alizadeh

Two weeks ago, the book "Tagut. Genealogy of Sacred Deception," the 16th book by well-known journalist-author and owner of Odatv portal Soner Yalçın, was published in large circulation by Kırmızı Kedi Publishing House. He answered questions from Turan Information Agency.

"I consider this as a serious journalistic responsibility as well."

Turan: Besides Turkey, readers in Azerbaijan, England, Russia, Germany, and France have known you for years as a writer who tackles deep topics. If I'm not mistaken, you started your journalism career by delving into profound issues. Do you still introduce yourself to Azerbaijani, Russian, and English-speaking readers?

Yalçın: I began professional journalism in Ankara in 1987. The late 1980s and early 1990s were a period of considerable turmoil in Turkey, both economically and politically. Despite numerous unexplained deaths, few journalists were interested in these matters. During that time, I focused on these issues to deliver truths to the public, in line with the demands of journalism. My goal was not just to be a journalist who writes about deep issues. In fact, those who do not write about such matters cannot be called journalists. I wrote books about incidents where the motives and perpetrators of many deaths were unknown, based on confessions from the intelligence agency's chief Cem Ersever to the death of drug trafficker Behçet Cantürk.

Turan: Turkey recognizes you as a journalist-author who writes about the truths about important intelligence officials and the struggles within secret organizations, starting from your first books. This has created serious risks in your life. Have you ever considered giving up these activities?

Yalçın: Journalism is a challenging profession, not only in Turkey but in all Middle Eastern countries. It involves significant risks and death threats. I consider myself lucky to be alive. Unfortunately, I have also spent time in prison due to a fabricated case. After two years in detention, I was acquitted. However, in countries like ours, telling the truth comes at a cost. I have never considered giving up this profession. Journalism has become my way of life, and I see it as a profound responsibility to deliver the truth to the people.

Turan: Currently, Odatv is not only one of the most read and respected Turkish-language media outlets in Turkey but also globally. Would you share the principles you established when founding Odatv with your readers?

Yalçın: Odatv has one publishing principle: to write the truth. We are not concerned with who is accused or praised. We exist not to create narratives or perform propaganda but solely to report the truth. If the public wants to learn the truth from you, over the years, you become a credible media outlet when you consistently tell the truth. The success Odatv has achieved is the trust it has awakened among the people.

Turan: Due to its uncompromising struggle against FETÖ, Odatv and you as its chief editor and your colleagues have been among the toughest pen owners FETÖ has tried to punish. After 74 months of investigation and court proceedings, you, your colleagues, and Odatv won in court. Is FETÖ completely finished in Turkey?

Yalçın: We cannot say "completely finished" for FETÖ. However, its power has greatly diminished. Like all movements throughout history, it too will eventually disintegrate. When concepts that pollute faith in religion and large sums of money are involved in these matters, society does not benefit. When I say "FETÖ is finished," I take these into account.

Turan: When you were taken into police custody on February 14, 2011, a search was conducted at your home, and the materials and notes for a book you were preparing about the former prime minister of that time and today's head of state, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, were lost. However, you later successfully completed writing the book "Erdoğan's Stolen Gate." What would you like to say about this?

"I consider defending the truth as defending the homeland."

Yalçın: My book "Tagut: Genealogy of Sacred Deception" was published about two weeks ago, my 16th book. I always keep documents, information, and notes for the books I will write in the future. At that time, during the raid by FETÖ police, I had my notebooks where I collected information for a book about Erdoğan's life. Unfortunately, they stole some of them. I also had information and documents about the places where Fethullah Gülen lived, his family's history, and the towns-villages they lived in, which they also destroyed. The enemies of truth are always known. I consider defending the truth as defending the homeland. As journalists and writers, we are obligated to continue defending the truth. All the good deeds that come out of this struggle become humanity's greatest gain.

"It is necessary not to give up writing the truth wherever you are in the world, whatever media institution you are in."

Turan: In Azerbaijan, both you and Odatv have a large readership. What messages would you like to convey to Azerbaijani, Russian, and English-speaking readers through the independent media institution Turan Information Agency, which is 34 years old, and the ASTNA analysis center?

Yalçın: The only message I can give is this: I have a 38-year career as a professional journalist and writer. Indeed, when you write the truth, you armor yourself with a great shield. Dark forces do everything possible against a true journalist-writer to break that shield. However, because that shield is bestowed upon you by the people, it is unbreakable. Journalism-writing must be seen as a gateway to truth. One must be devoted to the truths. As long as you do this, you fulfill your duty. No matter where you are in the world, whatever media institution you are in, you must not abandon this. Because victory is ultimately won by truths. History shows us this, history tells us. As a journalist-writer who investigates history, I also see this. Those who write truths-facts always prevail. Others come and go.

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