Sadullah Ergin

6 results arranged by date

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is known for his intolerance to criticism. (Reuters/Peter Dejong/Pool)

Today, hope for peace between the government of Turkey and Kurdish rebels is closer than ever to becoming reality. A resolution to the conflict, after more than 30 years, could have ramifications for Turkey's standing as the world's worst jailer of journalists. According to CPJ research, three-quarters of the journalists imprisoned in Turkey are from the pro-Kurdish media.

Governments exploit national security laws to punish critical journalists. By Monica Campbell

(AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand)

Journalists call for freedom of the press in a 2011 rally in Ankara. (AFP/Adem Altan)

Turkey has no business being the world's leading jailer of journalists. But the numbers don't lie. With 49 journalists imprisoned for their work, according to CPJ's annual worldwide prison census, released today, Turkey holds more individuals behind bars than Iran (45), China (32), or Eritrea (28). How did Turkey find itself in this situation? Unlike the other countries that top CPJ's imprisoned list, Turkey has a relatively open and vibrant media. It is an emerging democracy, a NATO member, and a candidate for European Union integration.

Protesters mark the fifth anniversary of the killing of Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink in Istanbul January 19, 2012. (Reuters/Osman Orsal)

More reporters are jailed in Turkey than in any other country in the world. According to CPJ's recent survey, at least 61 are imprisoned directly for their work, representing the second biggest media crackdown in the 27 years we have been documenting such records. (Only Turkey itself has rivaled the extent of this crackdown, when it jailed 78 journalists in 1996.) In the country hailed as the model moderate Islamic republic, how is this possible?

2. Assault on the Press

Nuray Mert, one of Turkey’s most prominent political columnists and commentators, had a long history as a government critic, but in the view of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, her comments last year opposing administration policies toward ethnic Kurds went too far. Erdoğan lashed out with a personal attack that implied Mert was traitorous, setting off a torrent of public vitriol—including threats to her safety—and prompting her politically sensitive bosses to cancel her television show and newspaper column. 

5. Test of Political Will

On March 25, 2012, the day before the Nuclear Security Summit got under way in Seoul, South Korea, U.S. President Barack Obama met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss a world of troubles. On the agenda were efforts to compel Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, and attempts to contain Iran’s nuclear program. Immediately after the Seoul summit, Erdoğan traveled to Tehran for meetings with the Iranian leadership. And the next week, Istanbul hosted the “Friends of Syria,” attended by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and diplomats from 70 other nations.

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