Turkey: Government Stifles Media and Dissent

Washington

In response to the police raid of Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest newspaper, the detention of its editor and several more journalists, and to another emergency order shutting more media outlets, Freedom House issued the following statement: 

“Turkey’s government is attacking the press to a degree not seen since the military coup in 1980, and in the process undermining the foundations of democracy,” said Daniel Calingaert, acting president. “By raiding Cumhuriyet and closing news agencies under the pretext of emergency rule, this government is demonstrating again its utter disrespect for fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. The United States should exert every effort to stop its NATO ally from becoming a dictatorship.” 

Background:
On October 31, police raided the offices of Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest newspaper, detaining 13 staff members including editor Murat Sabuncu, columnist Kadri Gürsel, and cartoonist Musa Kart. The previous editor of Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar, was convicted of revealing state secrets in May and is now living in exile in Europe. Over the weekend, the government used its powers under emergency rule to close 15 pro-Kurdish news outlets, including two news agencies and two national newspapers.

Turkey is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2015, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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