Aydın Doğan, the founder and honorary chairman of Doğan Holding, has released a written statement, after writing an open letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sept. 26.
The Turkish president claimed on Sept. 22 that Doğan had once told him during a meeting at an Istanbul hotel years ago that “there were times when we made governments come and go.”
In his “final statement” on the issue, the Doğan Holding honorary chairman said he did not want to continue the debate over President Erdoğan’s repeated criticism in the “painful period” that Turkey is going through.
Here is Doğan’s latest statement:
A MANDATORY PUBLIC STATEMENT
A final statement to the Turkish public is necessary after President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan again targeted me personally in a recent speech delivered to village heads.
My statement addressing to the esteemed president on Saturday [Sept. 26], was a response to protect my dignity.
I expressed in the statement that I had not said “there were times when we made governments come and go,” the words he quoted me as saying in a meeting years ago.
I stand behind my words and I repeat it: I have never said such words to anybody, including the esteemed president. I did not imply any such a meaning.
But the esteemed president continued his accusations targeting me in the previous day.
It is not possible for me to accept the accusations uttered by him. I reject these accusations.
I am not a politician. So I cannot be anyone’s political opponent or foe. Making a polemic with the country’s president is not my duty, nor would I ever resort to it. The answer I give is only self-defense to protect my dignity.
Moreover, I don’t approve of continuously occupying the country’s news agenda with such a debate during such a painful period, when martyrs’ coffins are coming home every day, burning our hearts just a month before our people go to polls.
I always live as a transparent person. I paid my taxes, I fulfilled all my duties as a citizen. I have no fault to hide and no account to give.
Nor I have legal immunity that politicians enjoy. I always fight against slanders in legal ways. I emerge from all of them honestly and my conscience is clear.
I am a publisher and I make the maximum effort to do this to international standards. I would like to repeat again to my readers that I will hold on to my pledge to continue our independent editorial policy.
I leave the judgment regarding the recent attacks targeting me and our group to the conscience of our readers and the public.