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Turkey

2012

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Under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government, Turkey has been one of the world's top jailer of journalists. (AFP/Burhan Ozbilici)

For the past several months, CPJ staff has been researching pervasive press freedom problems in Turkey, including the criminal prosecution of journalists, the use of governmental pressure to engender self-censorship, and the presence of a repressive legal structure. This month, CPJ will release an in-depth report on Turkey's press freedom crisis. In advance of our report, we are publishing this illuminating interview with Yavuz Baydar, ombudsman for the Turkish newspaper Sabah and columnist for Today's Zaman. The interview was conducted via email.

Nedim Sener (AFP)

For the past several months, CPJ staff has been investigating pervasive press freedom problems in Turkey, including the widespread jailing of journalists. This month, CPJ will release an in-depth report on press conditions in Turkey. In advance of our report, we are publishing this interview with Nedim Șener, an investigative reporter who was jailed for more than a year in 2011-12. The interview was conducted via email and translated from the original Turkish.

Journalists and activists call for press freedom in Ankara on March 19, 2011, after the arrest of 10 journalists as part of investigations into the alleged Ergenekon plot. (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

In Istanbul, the trial of several suspects in the case of Odatv, an ultranationalist website harshly critical of the government, continues to great consternation. When the case began in early 2011, a dozen journalists were charged, 10 of whom were incarcerated. The prosecution said Odatv staffers, along with prominent investigative reporters Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, were involved in the alleged Ergenekon plot--a supposed large-scale conspiracy to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan instructed the country's journalists not to cover soldiers' deaths or other news related to the conflict with Kurd separatists. (AP)

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey is known to lash out publicly at journalists of whose coverage he disapproves. He has called on media owners and editors to discipline reporters and columnists critical of his policies, particularly when it comes to the sensitive Kurdish issue. In more than a few cases, to avoid trouble, newsroom managers have listened and dismissed the staffers in question.

 Isik Yurtçu

The Committee to Protect Journalists is saddened by the death of Isik Yurtçu, who died Saturday in Istanbul of cancer at the age of 67.

In July of 1997, a bus full of international and Turkish journalists pulled up to the plain iron gate of Sakarya Prison east of Istanbul. Cameras rolling, representatives of CPJ, the International Press Institute, Reporters Sans Frontieres and Turkey's Press Council and Union of Newspaper Editors pressed toward the startled guard who swung the gate open just a foot or two and peered out.

CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington on Wednesday, highlighting global attacks on press freedom and, in particular, assaults on the press in Honduras, Russia, and Turkey.

Turkish journalist Adem Özköse, pictured Monday at the Istanbul office of his newspaper Milat, and freelance cameraman Hamit Coşkun were released Saturday from detention in Syria. (AP/Chris Torchia)

New York, May 14, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Syria's release of several journalists and press freedom activists over the weekend, but condemns the continued detention of at least nine journalists--and likely several more--including two journalists arrested without charge in the past month.

Judges hear a case in the European Court of Human Rights. More than 60,000 people sought the court's help in 2011. (AFP/Frederick Florin)

The European Court of Human Rights is a victim of its success. In 2011, more than 60,000 people sought its help after exhausting all judicial remedies before national courts. But now, some member states of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe are pushing for reforms of the prestigious institution and are pointing at the number of cases to make their argument. Instead of enhancing the court's capacity to deal with the backlog of cases, their moves would clip the court's prerogatives and undermine a citizen's capacity to defend his most fundamental rights.

New York, March 26, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is outraged by the one-month suspension of pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, and calls on the Turkish government to allow the newspaper to function. 

Journalists Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık were threatened shortly after their release from prison. Here, colleagues protest the journalists' imprisonment, which lasted more than a year. (AP)

New York, March 22, 2012--Turkish authorities must immediately dismiss the new criminal investigation against journalist Ahmet Şık and should thoroughly investigate threats made against Şık and investigative journalist Nedim Şener, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

2012

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Killed in Turkey

21 journalists killed since 1992

18 journalists murdered

14 murdered with impunity

Attacks on the Press 2012

49 Imprisoned on December 1, making Turkey the world's worst jailer of the press.

Country data, analysis »

Contact

Europe and Central Asia

Program Coordinator:
Nina Ognianova

Research Associate:
Muzaffar Suleymanov

nognianova@cpj.org
msuleymanov@cpj.org

Tel: 212-465-1004
ext 106, 101
Fax: 212-465-9568

330 7th Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY, 10001 USA

Facebook: CPJ ECA Desk

Blog: Nina Ognianova
Blog: Muzaffar Suleymanov