Ahmet Taner Kislali

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| Turkey
In December 1999, the European Union (EU) finally agreed to accept Turkey's application for membership. Yet questions remained about the government's committment to the human-rights reforms needed to actually join the EU.

If press freedom is any indicator, Turkey has a long way to go. Government censorship, criminal prosecutions, physical attacks, and imprisonment were among the perennial challenges to local reporters and editors in 2000.
[Click here for full list of documented cases]


At its most fundamental level, the job of a journalist is to bear witness. In 1999, journalists in Sierra Leone witnessed rebels' atrocities against civilians in the streets of Freetown. In the Balkans, journalists watched ethnic Albanians fleeing the deadly menace of Serbian police and paramilitaries. In Indonesia, they recorded the violence of Indonesian-backed militias against supporters of political independence. Some who wrote about what they witnessed ended up dying because of the stories they told.

| Turkey
For years, Turkey has had one of the liveliest yet most restricted presses in the region. This paradox was again on display in 1999. Print and broadcast media continued to cover sensitive social and political topics and were often unbridled in their criticism of the government--notably during the authorities' sloppy rescue efforts after the devastating August earthquake in northwestern Turkey.

Even so, reporters and pundits who criticized the armed forces or tackled sensitive topics such as the Kurdish question and political Islam remained vulnerable to swift reprisal from the Turkish state. Throughout the year, authorities continued to punish independent and dissident journalism by prosecuting reporters and editors under an array of legal statutes used to criminalize expression. At year's end, at least 18 Turkish journalists were in prison, mainly because of their affiliation with leftist or pro-Kurdish publications.

Calls on Prime Minister to Launch Immediate Investigation and to Bring Perpetrators to Justice

New York, N.Y., October 21, 1999-The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed outrage at the assassination today of prominent academic and journalist Ahmet Taner Kislali.

Kislali, a regular columnist for the daily Cumhuriyet,was killed today in a bomb attack in front of his suburban Ankara home. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital after reportedly sustaining shrapnel wounds to his face and chest. His left arm was also torn off.

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