Turkey’s enlightenment languishes, like the journalists in its prisons

March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

, March 13, 2012

The record number of reporters imprisoned in Turkey threatens to extinguish the flame of democratic reform.


Turkish journalist Ahmet Sik (C) hugs his friends after he being released from prison in Istanbul. Photograph: Sinan Gul/Anadolu Agency/EPA


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 »


Press-ganging the Turkish Media

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 »

Turkish prime minister distorts state of press freedom – CPJ

March 7, 2012 § Leave a comment


New York, March 7, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed by the Turkish prime minister’s repeated use of CPJ statistics to misrepresent and undermine the serious repression faced by journalists in Turkey.

“Prime Minister Erdoğan should take no solace from our 2011 finding that eight journalists are in jail for their work,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Turkey is among the democratic countries with the highest number of journalists in prison. Our review of the charges and indictments in more than 100 outstanding cases of imprisoned journalists in Turkey is ongoing, and we will issue a comprehensive report later this year.”

In a speech today, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan cited CPJ’s 2011 imprisoned list to portray general alarm about press freedom as an exaggeration. In a letter to Prime Minister Erdoğan in December, CPJ made clear that his effort to downplay media repression in Turkey was misguided. To date, there has been no response.

Responding to Turkey’s appalling press freedom record

December 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hundreds of Turkish journalists march to protest detentions and demand reforms to media laws in Ankara on March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Hundreds of Turkish journalists march to protest detentions and demand reforms to media laws in Ankara on March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would like to take credit for Turkey’s economic growth and increasing regional influence, but when challenged on his country’s abysmal  press freedom record he tends to blame others, including the media itself which, he says, exaggerates the problem.

But the facts speak for themselves, as I noted in a letter CPJ sent yesterday to the prime minister. In it, we condemned the recent raids that have rounded up at least 29 journalists and we criticized the government for the politicized legal process that has led to the imprisonment of dozens of other journalists across the country. « Read the rest of this entry »

CPJ condemns journalist arrests in Turkey

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

December 22, 2011

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Ceyhun Atıf Kansu Caddesi No. 122
Ankara, Turkey

Via facsimile: +90 312 473 64 55

Dear Prime Minister Erdoğan,

The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to condemn the arrests of as many as 29 journalists in raids on Tuesday as well as the ongoing media repression that has earned Turkey a reputation as one of the world’s worst press freedom violators and done grave damage to the consolidation of Turkish democracy.

In coordinated raids that stretched from Istanbul to Diyarbakir, and from Ankara to Izmir, police detained 40 individuals, according to state-run media. News reports said many are journalists, although the precise number is not clear. So far, CPJ has been able to identify 29 journalists by name and affiliation, and it continues to examine 11 others. Your government claims that the operation targets “the press and propaganda” arm of the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), but it provides no evidence supporting this assertion. Authorities maintain that the KCK is the “urban wing” of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, a claim that has been widely disputed. « Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey Arrests Journalists It Ties to Outlawed Group

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment


21.12.2011, By AYLA ALBAYRAK

ISTANBUL—Twenty-six journalists were among the suspects arrested on Tuesday in a crackdown on an organization tied to Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a media watchdog said, heightening criticism of the country’s record on press freedom.

If the number is confirmed, the arrests would bring the number of journalists in Turkish jails to more than 90, one of the highest detention numbers for journalists in the world, the Bianet media-rights monitoring group said.

The journalists, most of them working for Kurdish newspapers and agencies, were arrested on Tuesday as part of an operation against the Kurdistan Communities Union, or KCK, an umbrella organization for Kurdish nationalist groups that the government says acts as the urban wing of the PKK. « Read the rest of this entry »

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