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Sezin Öney, originally from Turkey, is based in Budapest and Istanbul. She her journalism career as a foreign news reporter in 1999 and she turned into political analysis as a columnist since 2007. Her interest in her main academic subject area of populism was sparked almost decade ago; and now she focuses specifically on populist leadership, and populism in Turkey and Hungary. She studied international relations, nationalism, international law, Jewish history, comparative politics and discourse analysis across Europe.
Almost one year ago, Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova were killed. And this murder triggered a massive change in the country's political landscape. On 30 March 2019, the country's first female president was elected: Zuzana Caputova. She is a lawyer and environmental activist, and she embarked on politics (among other reasons) because of Kuciak's murder.
"Perhaps we thought politics was only a sign of weakness, and today we see it as a sign of strength," Caputova said upon her victory and went off to pay tribute to Kuciak and Kusnirova.
This podcast is an old one; it dates back to the time Kuciak and Kusnirova were killed in February 2018. It is still a relevant one. When we are talking about the resurgence of populism and nationalism in Europe, in certain places we are also talking about corruption schemes and networks in relation to politics. Kuciak's final work is an excellent and tragic reminder of such networks. It is unfortunate that his death, rather than his work changed the political landscape of his country.
But what about a "counter-tide" going against populist resurgence?
Talking to Politico, Caputova said that her
"(...) win could embolden anti-corruption activists and liberals across the Continent. Obviously in the EU but also, more broadly, in Europe, developments in one country influence events in other countries and can have an inspirational effect."
It is too early to foresee the "Caputova effect" in Central and Eastern Europe; let alone the whole of Europe, or even beyond.
But it is time to commemorate Kuciak's and other investigative journalists' work, and see that it was not in vain that they sacrificed their lives, their time and did their duty to report against all odds.