Turkey: “Treatment of Journalists Has Deteriorated Under Erdogan”

In an article for Radio Free Europe, Robert Tait describes “the dangers to life and liberty faced by Turkish journalists who dare to probe figures of authority.” Citing the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI), he writes that 48 journalists are currently imprisoned in Turkey, and another 700 face “lengthy sentences” after being charged with violating press and antiterrorism laws. Often, Turkish journalists are prosecuted for publishing publicly available documents. According to Ferai Tinc, the chairperson of the IPI’s Turkey National Committee, “The prison sentences regarding the journalists were introduced [by the AKP] during the Turkish reforms which Turkey was obliged to make for the European Union,” including press and antiterror laws. Regarding Turkey’s EU ambitions, Richard Howitt, a British member of the European Parliament, argues: “It will do Turkey’s membership ambitions good if reforms take place that ensure that human rights are fully respected…In the long run, if a free, independent, and pluralistic media is embedded within Turkey, that is going to advance Turkey’s European ambitions, and I have to say, it’s good for Turkey as a democracy itself.”