April 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images
March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
Fiachra Gibbons, March 13, 2012
A year ago, police burst into the homes of two of Turkey’s best investigative journalists, Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik, and carted them off to prison where they remained until last night, charged with crimes so nebulous even prosecutors can’t explain them. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
Andrew Finkel, March 13, 2012
ISTANBUL — The British say it about the police force, but the same may be true of the press: that a country gets the one it deserves. Woe is Turkey.
Turkey recently marked the 15th anniversary of what pundits call the “postmodern coup”: the military’s success at pushing out the Islamist-led coalition that was in power back then. The generals managed that in large part by press-ganging the print media, even forcing newspaper owners to fire prominent columnists who did not support their campaign to discredit the government.
The tables have since turned. Now the politicians have the military in retreat. Some 15 percent of senior officers are on trial for participating in the Ergenekon conspiracy, an alleged campaign of really dirty tricks intended to force the ruling AK Party out of office. « Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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 § Leave a comment
By Pelin Turgut / Istanbul Friday, Jan. 06, 2012
This picture taken on December 26, 2009 shows Turkish Chief of the General staff Ilker Basbug speaking at the army headquarters in Ankara.
Turkey’s democratically-elected government has broken a decades-old taboo on holding generals accountable to the law by detaining the former head of the country’s armed forces in the course of investigating an alleged coup plot. General Ilker Basbug, who stepped down in 2010, was taken in for questioning on Thursday, making him the highest-ranking officer to be detained over an alleged plot to overthrow the moderate Islamist-oriented government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Basbug is accused of giving his approval, while serving as army chief, for several anonymous websites run by military staff that published anti-government propaganda. This, prosecutors say, links him to Ergenekon, an alleged shadowy illegal and armed network of military men, lawyers and businesspeople under investigation since 2007, which had sought to destabilize Turkey to create a pretext for the military to oust Erdogan from power. « Read the rest of this entry »
December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
NOVEMBER 23, 2011
By Ayla Albayrak
- AFP/Getty Images
- Journalists and human right activists protest in front of the courthouse in Istanbul during the trial of two prominent Turkish journalists on Tuesday.
ISTANBUL — Thirteen people went on trial Tuesday accused of involvement in a plan to topple Turkey’s AK-Party government, including two investigative journalists whose arrest and near-nine month detention has become a rallying point for critics of the government’s record on media freedom.
Turkish and international human rights groups say the cases of Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik highlight the poor state of press freedom in Turkey, and see their long detentions as punishment for journalistic work. « Read the rest of this entry »