Really amusing comments by Erdoğan
President Tayyip Erdoğan’s appeal to international media for freedom of press sounds amusing! Really amusing!
The President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, made the following appeal to the world press organisations recently, with Al Jazeera in mind: “And on the other hand we are going to talk about ‘press freedom.’ Here I would like to appeal particularly to press organisations; what are you waiting for, what are you good for? For one thing, currently, the activities of an international media corporation, whose freedoms of the press have been usurped, are being repressed. How is that you are doing nothing against this? Your voice should be heard. Yet they remain silent.”
Let us share a press release by Al Jazeera Media Network, dating back to the beginning of May:
“Our team at Turkish Digital, for the last few years, have worked to bring you last minute news, special features and key developments both from Turkey and from across the world. We thank you for your support of quality, independent and credible journalism.
We would like to regretfully inform you that the operation of Al Jazeera Turkish Digital will cease to continue as of 3 May 2017 as part of the workforce optimisation currently conducted by Al Jazeera Media Network. Although it is in line with developments taking place in media industry across the world, our decision has been a hard one to take. As Al Jazeera Media Network, we thank our colleagues at Turkish Digital for their dedication, sacrifice and professionalism.
Turkey still presents a great significant for Al Jazeera Media Network in terms communicating both news from the country as well as from neighbouring countries. Even though the operation of Turkish Digital will discontinue, Al Jazeera Media Network will continue to broadcast current news and views from the region and is dedicated to Turkey and its future. Regards,” (Milliyet, 3 May 2017)
One wonders why Turkey, despite its regional significance, has lost attraction as a location for a base for the world media?
Another news which may answer this question, about its recent state. The headline reads: “Deported journalist Del Grande: I have been made a victim of institutional violence.” The news further continues: “Subsequent to arrest in Turkey on 9 April, Italian journalist Gabriele Del Grande, detained at Muğla Expulsion Centre, has been deported on Monday morning.” (Övgü Pınar, BBC Turkish, 24 April 2017)
Yet another piece of news about the issue are the words of Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu during a meeting with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel: “Allegations against Yücel (Deniz Yücel) are to do with terrorism, not journalism. A lawful independent inquiry relating to Yücel is currently ongoing. Secret services have begun to employ journalists in Turkey as agents. Recently, a journalist of another country took images of military bases in Turkey and went over to Iraq. (Gabriele Del Grande) Once an inquiry is opened on the issue, ‘no sir, it’s journalism’. The law is in operation about the case.” (Evrensel, 5 June 2017)
The law operated by deporting the Italian journalist Gabriele Del Grande.
I do not now feel the need to give their names but know for a fact that there are a good many foreign journalists working in Turkey who are anxious. Further, the number of journalists from Turkey working for Turkish offices of foreign media organisations, who regularly face police repression on the street is not negligible either
And also, let us recall that there are currently 170 journalists in prison, with most waiting to hear allegations. Let us not forget either that 200 media outlets have been forced to shut down, press cards of hundreds of journalists invalidated and with many whose passports have been cancelled.
When this is the tableau we face, with us firmly in the forefront of countries with the worst record of freedom of the press in the index of international media organisations, President Erdoğan’s appeal to international media for freedom of press sounds amusing! Really amusing!