ROME — A prominent Turkish journalist said she has been fired as payback for her Italian husband’s recent interview in La Repubblica with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s arch nemesis, Fethullah Gülen.
In an interview published Thursday in La Repubblica, where her Italian husband Marco Ansaldo is a veteran correspondent, Yasemin Taskin confirmed that she was fired from the Turkish daily Sabah on the same day (March 28) that Ansaldo’s interview of Gülen was published.
Taskin said she received an email terminating her job after nearly 14 years as Sabah's chief correspondent in Italy. “The management of Sabah has decided to suspend this working relationship,” read the email, sent by the foreign editor who didn’t cite specific reasons for her job loss. She added that the editor was clearly embarrassed.
Gülen, a Turkish Islamic leader who is in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, was declared an enemy by Erdogan following the eruption of the corruption scandal in December that implicates the government, the prime minister's closest associates and his family.
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Yasemin Taskin. Photo via LinkedIn
“You could call it a mafioso reasoning: given that the author is an untouchable Italian, they still wanted to make him pay. Through me,” she said to La Repubblica.
“Erdogan has polarized society,” Taskin added. “And the situation risks going up in flames. This summer there will be presidential elections — if the objective is for Erdogan to win rather than the salvation of Turkey, its people and the State, we risk paying a very high price.”
A similar incident happened in 1998 after Ansaldo interviewed Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the PKK Kurdish rebel group then in exile in Rome. After her husband published the interview, Taskin was fired from her job with Anadolu News Agency.