Talin Suciyan, an ethnic Armenian journalist for the liberal Turkish Nokta magazine, has been apparently dismissed for reasons that connect to her background.

I personally suspect that Suciyan’s recent article about the Mardin mass grave (aka collaboration) for Diaspora’s The Armenian Reporter might have been a factor for her dismissal.  Perhaps Nokta would not want to be associated with Armenian groups outside Turkey.

A group e-mail from Suciyan concerning her dismissal, posted below, was received by us in Turkish and then in English.

Those emails concerning my dismissal from Nokta magazine contain remarks about a presumed environment of pressure related to/caused by the news pieces authored by me, rather than attributing it to my “ethnic background”.  I am not aware whether or not such an environment of pressure caused my dismissal, or for that matter, whether or not such an environment existed. The justification of my dismissal as told to me does not point to that direction.   Of course, when a journalist is let go, one is most curious whether the subject matters of the news pieces authored and the quality of the news were ever in question.  There cannot be anything more natural than that.  During my 18 week s of employment at Nokta magazine I had 15 news pieces (including 1 translation), of which 7 were related to the Armenians.  And I believe they were mindful of professional ethics and in accordance with the basic tenets of journalism.    The situation being what it is and the justification of my dismissal as told to me is so unfounded that no one gives credence to it, opening the way to various views and interpretations.

The justification of my dismissal as told to me by Alper Gormus is my having a “negative” attitude and the inability of, especially, my editor Ferda Balancar (in addition to himself and Hasim Akman) to work with me.   I inquired as to why it was not communicated to me earlier, why we had not debated this issue previously, and why Ferda had not openly shared her discomfort with me.  In the same vein, when I mentioned I did not think this was the real reason, I received the answer “let’s not argue any further”.   If he could not work with me in a weekly magazine for 18 months, how could the 15 news pieces/articles be published?

In my opinion, what needs to be debated is the dismissal of a journalist not on the basis of one’s profession but in a capricious and baseless fashion.   When I was being let go, none of the reasons of my continued employment as a journalist in a magazine were mentioned, such as the quality of my work, its contribution to the magazine, what kind of responses my wok elicited, and how my work was received in the national and international press (some of my news pieces were translated to 4-5 other languages and placed in a multitude of newspapers, magazines and internet news sites).   In this case, I was laid off from a media organization without a due consideration of my work, without an objective and professional evaluation, and without prior warning.  On the other hand, there can be no justification for the “negative” attitude displayed towards me because there is no incident that can be described as “quarrel” with my co-workers or with the aforementioned individuals; there is no case of someone insulting somebody else; or there is no case of a disgraceful crime.   If all these are not true but there is still discomfort due to “negativity”, would the appropriate first step be dismissal from work?  Be as it may, if you start laying one off for being “negative” and another for being “positive”, what can we call this?

There is an email issue which is said to be the “last straw” involving my forwarding of a professional invitation for me to visit abroad to Alper Gormus before I forwarded it to Ferda Balancar.   Apparently intimating an action against the ruling hierarchy, I was told by A. Gormus it was a “mistake” and the “last straw”.  We are facing here a non-democratic, non-transparent, non-egalitarian, capricious and unjust practice by the editor-in-chief of a media organization that claims to have adopted the values of democracy, transparency, deliberation, egalitarianism, human rights and freedom of speech.   In my opinion, if there is to be a debate, it should be along those lines.