February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment


Turkey Analyst, vol. 5 no. 3, February 6, 2012

Gareth Jenkins

Most international attention has focused on the more than 100 journalists who are now in jail in Turkey as a result of what they have written or said. But more pernicious – and ultimately much more corrosive to freedom of expression – is the widespread self-censorship and the climate of fear, which extends well beyond the media into Turkish society at large. Yet it would be a mistake to hold the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan solely to blame. The underlying problem goes much deeper and is considerably older than the AKP government. Indeed, it could be argued that the main responsibility for the deteriorating state of freedom of expression in the country lies with the Turkish media itself.

BACKGROUND: The recent rapid rise in the number of journalists being imprisoned in Turkey has led to an increase in international expressions of concern about the deteriorating state of freedom of expression in the country. In its annual Press Freedom Index for 2011, which was released on January 25, 2012, the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders or RSF) ranked Turkey 148th out of 179 countries worldwide, down from 138th in 2010. Despite Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s repeated declarations that, since it first came to power in November 2002, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been creating an “advanced democracy”, it was the fifth year in succession that Turkey had slipped down the RSF rankings. « Read the rest of this entry »

Ragip Zarakolu, symbol of freedom of expression and human rights in modern Turkey

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment


Posted by Bulent Gokay in Current AffairsGeopoliticsInternational RelationsPolitics

February 9, 2012

Ragip Zarakolu, symbol of freedom of expression and human rights in modern Turkey
Ragıp Zarakolu, arrested journalist, publisher, writer and human rights advocator, has been nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize by Swedish parliamentarians. A group of MPs from the Swedish Left Party and the Green Party stressed that Zarakolu was an internationally recognized human rights defender who became a symbol for press freedom and freedom of expression. For his courage, patience, intellectual rigour and pursuit of genuine democracy, Ragip Zarakolu received rewards of the IPA in 1998 and 2008; in 1995 and 2007 he was awarded by the Turkey Publishers Association; in 2003 he was awarded by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture and in 2010 he was given the National Library Award of Armenia. « Read the rest of this entry »


February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment



Reporters Without Borders takes note of a government bill aimed at loosening Turkey’s legislative straightjacket, especially as regards the media, and hopes that it represents a first step towards more significant reforms, or else its impact will be minimal.

“By finally addressing certain major failings in the Turkish judicial system, this bill is a step in the right direction,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This recognition of the shortcomings is welcome, contrasting as it does with the usual denial on the part of senior officials. « Read the rest of this entry »


February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment



Reporters sans frontières prend acte de l’initiative gouvernementale visant à atténuer la portée du carcan législatif turc, en particulier sur la presse. L’organisation espère vivement qu’il s’agit d’un premier pas vers des réformes plus significatives, sans quoi son impact restera nul.

« En s’attaquant enfin à certains travers majeurs de la justice turque, ce projet de loi va dans le bon sens, a déclaré l’organisation. Il constitue d’ailleurs un aveu bienvenu, en contraste avec le déni constant manifesté par les plus hautes autorités. Mais il ne prévoit que des aménagements, dont les effets demeureront très limités si le législateur s’en contente au détriment de véritables réformes de fond. Colmater les brèches ne suffit pas : les libertés publiques ne seront réellement garanties que lorsque la Loi antiterroriste (LAT), le Code pénal et le Code des procédures pénales seront complètement débarrassés de la logique répressive qui les imprègne. » « Read the rest of this entry »


February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment



Reporters sans frontières est abasourdie par la décision de l’entreprise européenne Eutelsat de suspendre la diffusion de la chaîne kurde Roj TV sur ses satellites.

« Nous sommes choqués par cette décision unilatérale et scandaleuse, prise au mépris de la liberté d’expression. En suspendant la diffusion de Roj TV, Eutelsat prend une initiative dont s’est bien gardée la justice danoise. La cour n’a jamais ordonné la fermeture de la chaîne, qui a d’ailleurs fait appel de sa condamnation à une peine d’amende », a rappelé l’organisation. « Read the rest of this entry »

“Kill All The Lawyers”: Stifling Dissent in Turkey

February 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

William Jones, February 4, 2012


Turkey’s jailing of writers has received increasing attention in both the Turkish and the international press, enough to force Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to defend the fact that Turkey has more journalists in prison,  describing them as “so-called journalists” who “ are actually “police murderers, sexual molesters and supporters of a coup”.

In 2011 Turkey imprisoned 104 journalists, causing Reporters Without Borders to drop Turkey’s press freedom ranking to 148th in the world.  Either the country has one of the most vicious and corrupt press corps in modern history or these arrests are politically motivated.  However, the Prime Minister will have none of this.  When American Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone stated that he was unable to understand the massive arrests, he was dismissed by Erdogan as a “rookie ambassador” who just didn’t understand Turkey. « Read the rest of this entry »

A Brawl Over Turkish Press Freedom

February 4, 2012 § Leave a comment


Susanne Fowler, February 4, 2012

PARIS — A war of words between an American novelist and the prime minister of Turkey over press freedom is playing out in a befittingly public venue: in newspapers and on Web sites.

Author Paul AusterLucas Dolega/European Pressphoto AgencyAuthor Paul Auster

Paul Auster, author of “The New York Trilogy” and other works, told Rendezvous by telephone from his studio in Brooklyn on Friday that he had told a Turkish journalist that he would not visit Turkey, nor China for that matter, as a way to protest the jailing of scores of journalists and writers there. « Read the rest of this entry »

Erdogan vs. Auster: Why Is the Turkish Prime Minister Feuding with a Brooklyn-based Writer?

February 4, 2012 § Leave a comment


Pelin Turgut, February 4, 2012

An Internet-fueled war of words raged across the Atlantic this week between the unlikeliest of opponents: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an Islamic-leaning politician of fiery rhetoric and oft-bellicose disposition, and the erudite Brooklyn-based American novelist Paul Auster. At issue was the state of press freedom in Turkey, which currently ranks alongside China in the number of journalists it has jailed. « Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Auster hits back at Turkish PM

February 4, 2012 § Leave a comment


Alison Flood, February 3, 2012

After Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the novelist ‘ignorant’, Auster reiterates protest against country’s free speech prohibitions

American novelist Paul Auster has hit back after the Turkish prime minister described him as “an ignorant man”.

Auster, author of the acclaimed New York Trilogy, told Turkish paper Hurriyet earlier this week that he refused to visit Turkey because of imprisoned journalists and writers. “How many are jailed now? Over 100?” Auster, a popular author in Turkey where his new book Winter Journal has just made its first appearance, said. “Us Democrats got rid of the Bushes. We got rid of [former vice president Dick] Cheney who should have been put on trial for war crimes. What is going on in Turkey?” « Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey’s shrinking media freedoms – Europe – Al Jazeera English

January 29, 2012 § Leave a comment


Turkey ranks 138th in a global press freedom index, with hundreds of journalists in jail and many websites banned.

Video: Turkey’s shrinking media freedoms – Europe – Al Jazeera English.

Hrant Dink, a Turkish editor and journalist who campaigned for many years for the Turkish government to recognise the genocide of Armenians, was murdered in 2007 in what many believe was a police-related incident.

His is just one case concerning press freedoms which have lead many in the country to believe the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AK Party, has broken its promises to protect liberties.

According to recent accounts, nearly 100 journalists in Turkey are in prison while 1,000 of the country’s 16,000 cases pending at the European Court of Human Rights are related to media freedom.

In the first of a three-part series on reforms within the country, Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Istanbul, takes a closer look at the state of press freedom.

Turkey’s Censorship Puzzle

January 29, 2012 § Leave a comment


Jody Sabral, January 26, 2012, Huffington Post

Turkey has surpassed the likes of China, Iran and Russia, when it comes to the number of journalists/authors in prison, many of whom are being held without charge. At the time of writing this, anywhere between 70 to 100 journalists/authors sit in Turkish cells, their pens silenced for having an opinion on events unfolding in their own country. Many are internationally recognised for ground breaking work, uncovering corruption and organised crime. This can mean only one thing – free speech is becoming a thing of the past in Turkey, or is it? « Read the rest of this entry »

Erdogan Pledges ‘No Revenge’ as Turkish Press in Spotlight

January 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ayla Albayrak, January 27, 2012, Wall Street Journal


Turkey’s economy may have made giant leaps forward in 2011, but press freedoms appeared to take a significant step back. Scores of arrests and high-profile firings have fanned a growing international outcry that media freedoms here have been heavily compromised.

Late on Wednesday, Reporters Without Borders confirmed in its annual report that perceptions of freedom of expression in Turkey fell sharply in 2011. According to the Paris-based NGO, Turkey — an EU candidate country — sunk 10 places to 148th of 179 countries ranked; six places below Russia and followed by Mexico and Afghanistan.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Newspapers are displayed at a newsstand in Istanbul.

The tide of negative publicity appears to be of growing concern to Ankara. Just hours after the report Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered his response, denying accusations that his ruling AK Party has restricted freedom of expression and pledging to drop cases against a number of journalists accused of crimes that could not result in more than five years in prison. « Read the rest of this entry »

Court Defense of Dogan Yurdakul, January 27, 2012

January 27, 2012 § 2 Comments


File No: 2011/14

Defendant: Dogan Yurdakul

Plaintiff: K.H

Re: Service of my pre-defense

Your Honor, Esteemed Court,

I stand before you because of my thoughts.

The entirety of the accusations raised against me is directed at my personal thoughts. I consider these accusations, as an insult to my personality and to the freedom of thought and expression in general, since they cause me to defend myself, by aiming at my thoughts and at expressing such thoughts in written or at expressing such thoughts during my telephone communications.

In the meantime, even though indicating and refuting various and fictitious assumptions which constitute the basis of the criminal charge are already like a punishment in the first place, I have to do that so.

Your Honor, when commencing the first hearing, you have suggested as ‘facts and fictions shall be separated’ by the court. By considering your suggestion as an assurance, I am going to try to indicate and answer the fictions mentioned in the criminal charge against myself, on the purpose of simplifying this separation process. « Read the rest of this entry »

Erdogan, Justice and the Rule of Law

January 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

January 10, 2012; Financial Times


Since coming to power in 2002 Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has led his country some way down the road to becoming a more open and liberal democracy. But a report on Turkey’s judicial system published by the Council of Europe this week highlights the increasingly halting nature of this advance.

The report cites “longstanding, systemic shortcomings in the administration of justice in Turkey (that) adversely affect the enjoyment of human rights”. These include lengthy proceedings and detentions, sometimes up to 10 years; the use of secret witnesses; arrests of scores of journalists; and uncertainty about the judiciary’s independence from the executive. « Read the rest of this entry »


January 10, 2012 § 1 Comment

Judicial system presses on with absurd trial of Oda TV journalists

PUBLISHED ON FRIDAY 6 JANUARY 2012, http://en.rsf.org/turkey-judicial-system-presses-on-with-06-01-2012,41639.html

This week’s hearings in the Istanbul trial of investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener and eight journalists employed by the Oda TV news website – Soner Yalçin, Dogan Yurdakul, Baris Pehlivan, Baris Terkoglu, Muhammet Sait Cakir, Coskun Musluk, Yalçin Küçük and Müyesser Ugur – have confirmed that the prosecution has no case against them.

“By pressing on with this absurd prosecution and keeping the defendants in detention, the Turkish judicial system is just discrediting itself,” Reporters Without Borders said. « Read the rest of this entry »

A Guide to Understand the OdaTV Trial – 1: What are the journalists accused of? What is the evidence?

January 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yiğit Günay, January 9, 2012 (translation: Ege M. Diren)


The soL news portal published a series of articles concerning the background and the ongoings of the infamous OdaTV case. Signed Yiğit Günay, the articles investigate the trial’s judicial peculiarities as well as its political context and historical implications. Assuming the responsibility of providing English information on Turkey with a political perspective that is compatible with our stance, we decided to translate these articles for the English-speaking audience.
This first article of the series is freely translated from the Turkish original, titled “Odatv davasını anlama kılavuzu 1: Gazeteciler neyle suçlanıyor, kanıtlar neler?”, published on December 23rd, 2011.
The first hearing of the Odatv trial was cut short for the evaluation of the recusation demand; so, in a sense, the trial will start on the second hearing on December 26th. « Read the rest of this entry »

Court Defense of Ahmet Şık, January 5, 2012

January 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

My friends and foes, they both know who I am.
I am a journalist.

Since my friends know me, some of them are sitting here in this courtroom today to follow the hearing. The majority who couldn’t make it inside the room – including those who stand by me despite knowing me in person – have been out on the streets for months.  That is to say, I am here simply because I am a journalist who is mindful of professional ethics and is in the pursuit of truth. That’s the reason why my friends are right next to me. And of course since my foes know me as well I am here at this courthouse today as one of the detained defendants.

I have witnessed so many things in my profession over the last 20 years. Without exception, I reported everything factually and accurately. I have never made any news under instruction of any organisation, institution or person. I have never resigned from the news that I wanted to cover due to the interference of any organisation, institution or person either. That’s the reason why both my friends and foes know what kind of a journalist I am. It’s not my intention to explain you my professional background today. However, I have to mention what kind of a journalist I am so that some things can be clearly understood. « Read the rest of this entry »

Charges Against Journalists Dim the Democratic Glow in Turkey

January 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Daniel Etter for The New York Times

Protesters in Istanbul last month denounced the detention of at least 38 people, many of them journalists, suspected, the police said, of ties to Kurdish separatists.

Published: January 4, 2012

ISTANBUL — A year ago, the journalist Nedim Sener was investigating a murky terrorist network that prosecutors maintain was plotting to overthrow Turkey’s Muslim-inspired government. Today, Mr. Sener stands accused of being part of that plot, jailed in what human rights groups call a political purge of the governing party’s critics. « Read the rest of this entry »

‘Friends’ of the West, Enemies of Press Freedom

December 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Thursday, 29 December 2011


A Year-End Look at 10 Press Freedom Offender States on whose Strategic Support the West Depends

VIENNA, 28 Dec. 2011 – At the close of the year, the International Press Institute (IPI) takes a look at 10 states that have poor records on press freedom, but on whose strategic support the west depends. These ‘Friends’ of the West, Enemies of Press Freedom are listed in no particular order below.




Relations between the west and Turkey – a NATO member since 1952 and still theoretically a candidate to join the European Union – have cooled in recent years, but U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta earlier this month said on a visit to Turkey that the country remains a “key ally”. Western powers have often turned to Turkey, which serves as a bridge between the west and the Muslim world, for help in supporting the transitions to democracy in Iraq, Egypt and Libya, and in confronting the regimes in Syria and Iran.

Press Freedom Enemy:

Turkey presented one of the worst press freedom pictures in Europe, with a judge from the European Court of Human Rights saying in November that the country had taken the lead among Council of Europe members in violations of freedom of expression, including press freedom. « Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey: Court Acquits Journalist Who Interviewed Kurdish Separatist

December 30, 2011 § Leave a comment


Reporters Without Borders

December 29, 2011

Reporters Without Borders said Thursday it hailed journalist Ertugrul Mavioglu’s acquittal by an Istanbul court earlier today on a charge of “propaganda in support of a terrorist organization” for interviewing Murat Karayilan of the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), which the authorities regard as the urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). « Read the rest of this entry »

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the censor category at Turkey press freedom.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.