Early on the morning of Dec. 14, while waiting at an Istanbul airport for my flight to Amsterdam, my phone rang. It was Hasan Cemal, a colleague and a prominent veteran of Turkish journalism. He said he was on his way from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, where he had delivered a speech on the occasion of the Armenian edition of his book, “1915: Armenian Genocide.” He was on his way to Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, to catch a flight to Istanbul.
He asked if I had heard “the big news.” I was still in Istanbul, and I did learn the news of a police operation directed against 31 people, among them Ekrem Dumanli, editor-in-chief of the country’s largest-selling daily, Zaman, and the head of Samanyolu TV. Both are affiliated with Fethullah Gulen, the religious personality in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania for more than 15 years now, who has been turned by his former ally, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, into “public enemy No. 1.”