Turkish Editor Can Dundar: Why I Am Forced Into Exile

Dundar, center, after his release from jail.
Dundar, center, after his release from jail.
Ozgur Ogret
Can Dundar

Can Dündar, a recipient of the *Committee to Protect Journalists' 2016 International Press Freedom Awards who served jail time this past year and was facing another prosecution, announced in his column that he was resigning as editor of the opposition daily newspaper Cumhuriyet. He is believed to be in Germany, and wrote Monday that he would not return to Turkey until the government lifts the state of emergency declared after a July 15 failed military coup. Here is an excerpt of the column:

ISTANBUL â€" What I have experienced over the last one-and-a-half years, since I became the editor-in-chief for Cumhuriyet, adds up to an entire lifetime: attacks, praise, threats, being made a target, trial, arrest, prison, isolation, armed assault, insults, awards, new investigations, upcoming trials …

In July, I had asked for a short break from my newspaper: I would rest a little after this tiring adventure, write my book and then come back to work.

Then the bloody coup attempt on July 15 came, and it showed how serious indeed were our warnings up until that point. But the government held us accountable instead of answering for their deep involvement with the coup plotters. They tried to have their old partnership forgotten and their opponents eliminated while they have the chance.

On July 16, two of the high judges who had approved for the release of (Ankara bureau chief) Erdem Gül and myself, after three months of imprisonment, were detained. Some 140 members of the Supreme Court of Appeals, the court that will hear our appeal on the prison sentence of five years and 10 months, had investigations opened against them, and 11 of them were detained. The prosecutor who asked double life sentences for each of us, meanwhile, became the Chief Prosecutor of Istanbul 10 days after that. Two days later, the court that started a new trial against me and Erdem with the accusation of “aiding and abetting” asked the police directorate for the cancellation of our passports.

All signs were pointing to a new lawlessness and a long period of imprisonment. The state of emergency allowed the government to control the judiciary anyway it likes. Trusting such a judiciary would be like putting your head on the guillotine. We would no longer face a court, but the government itself. No higher court would be able to oppose the lawless state. That is why I decided to not to surrender to this judiciary, at least until the state of emergency ends.

I will continue at Cumhuriyet as a columnist. My friend who will take over as top editor will carry the flag even higher. We will see that this too will pass as many coups and periods of oppression have. Cumhuriyet and the craft of journalism, instead, is not and cannot ever be finished.

*Editor's note: Ozgur Ogret, who is Turkey's representative for CPJ, is also a Worldcrunch contributor. He translated this column.

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In Argentina, A Visit To World's Highest Solar Energy Park

With loans and solar panels from China, the massive solar park has been opened a year and is already powering the surrounding areas. Now the Chinese supplier is pushing for an expansion.

960,000 solar panels have been installed at the Cauchari park

Silvia Naishtat

CAUCHARI — Driving across the border with Chile into the northwest Argentine department of Susques, you may spot what looks like a black mass in the distance. Arriving at a 4,000-meter altitude in the municipality of Cauchari, what comes into view instead is an assembly of 960,000 solar panels. It is the world's highest photovoltaic (PV) park, which is also the second biggest solar energy facility in Latin America, after Mexico's Aguascalientes plant.

Spread over 800 hectares in an arid landscape, the Cauchari park has been operating for a year, and has so far turned sunshine into 315 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the local provincial capital of Jujuy through the national grid.

It has also generated some $50 million for the province, which Governor Gerardo Morales has allocated to building 239 schools.

Abundant sunshine, low temperatures

The physicist Martín Albornoz says Cauchari, which means "link to the sun," is exposed to the best solar radiation anywhere. The area has 260 days of sunshine, with no smog and relatively low temperatures, which helps keep the panels in optimal conditions.

Its construction began with a loan of more than $331 million from China's Eximbank, which allowed the purchase of panels made in Shanghai. They arrived in Buenos Aires in 2,500 containers and were later trucked a considerable distance to the site in Cauchari . This was a titanic project that required 1,200 builders and 10-ton cranes, but will save some 780,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

It is now run by 60 technicians. Its panels, with a 25-year guarantee, follow the sun's path and are cleaned twice a year. The plant is expected to have a service life of 40 years. Its choice of location was based on power lines traced in the 1990s to export power to Chile, now fed by the park.

Chinese engineers working in an office at the Cauchari park


Chinese want to expand

The plant belongs to the public-sector firm Jemse (Jujuy Energía y Minería), created in 2011 by the province's then governor Eduardo Fellner. Jemse's president, Felipe Albornoz, says that once Chinese credits are repaid in 20 years, Cauchari will earn the province $600 million.

The Argentine Energy ministry must now decide on the park's proposed expansion. The Chinese would pay in $200 million, which will help install 400,000 additional panels and generate enough power for the entire province of Jujuy.

The park's CEO, Guillermo Hoerth, observes that state policies are key to turning Jujuy into a green province. "We must change the production model. The world is rapidly cutting fossil fuel emissions. This is a great opportunity," Hoerth says.

The province's energy chief, Mario Pizarro, says in turn that Susques and three other provincial districts are already self-sufficient with clean energy, and three other districts would soon follow.

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