Turkey

2014


Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burma, Cameroon, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

China is world's worst jailer of the press; global tally second worst on record

More than 200 journalists are imprisoned for their work for the third consecutive year, reflecting a global surge in authoritarianism. China is the world’s worst jailer of journalists in 2014. A CPJ special report by Shazdeh Omari

An Egyptian protester calls for the release of freelance photographer Mahmoud Abou Zeid, also known as Shawkan, who has been imprisoned since August 2013. (AP/Amr Nabil)

Alerts   |   Turkey

Turkish authorities target media in nationwide crackdown

New York, December 14, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's raids on media outlets in which police detained journalists and media workers on politicized anti-state charges. Among those detained today were Ekrem Dumanlı, editor-in-chief of Zaman, one of Turkey's largest dailies, and Hidayet Karaca, chairman of the Samanyolu Broadcast Group, reports said.

Blog   |   Turkey

Engaging Turkey's leadership

Last month, a delegation from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Press Institute met with senior Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey's reform fatigue, the EU's enlargement fatigue, and press freedom

A full Turkey membership would have a major impact on the EU domestic order and foreign standing. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

"The European Commission expressed serious concern about developments in the area of rule of law and fundamental rights (in Turkey)." It is progress report season in Brussels. As every year in early October, the commissioner in charge of enlargement unveils documents that judge the progress of all candidate countries in adopting European Union (EU) laws and standards, and Turkey is at the forefront.

Statements   |   Turkey

Turkish prime minister publicly chastises Economist correspondent

New York, August 8, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by comments made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against a journalist on Thursday. At an election rally in southern Turkey, Erdoğan called Amberin Zaman, local correspondent for The Economist, "a shameless militant disguised under the name of a journalist," and urged her to "know your place," the Economist reported. The prime minister was reacting to remarks Zaman made when she interviewed an opposition leader on TV the day before. Pro-government supporters took to social media and condemned Zaman's comments.

August 8, 2014 2:23 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Ethiopia, Internet, Russia, Security, Thailand, Turkey, USA

No press freedom without Internet freedom

Four years ago, when CPJ launched its Internet Advocacy program, we were met with lots of encouragement, but also some skepticism.

"Why do you need a program to defend the Internet?" one supporter asked. "You don't have a special program to defend television, or radio, or newspapers."

But the Internet is different. Increasingly, when it comes to global news and information the Internet is not a platform. It is the platform.

Case   |   Turkey

Turkish prime minister sues journalist for insult on Twitter

The state-run Anadolu news agency reported on July 10, 2014, that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked the Ankara Public Prosecutor's Office to launch a criminal investigation against Bülent Keneş, editor-in-chief of the English-language daily newspaper Today's Zaman, on charges of "insulting a public official."

Case   |   Turkey

Turkish journalist on trial for insulting prime minister

Erol Özkoray, Turkish journalist and author, appeared in court for the third time on June 18, 2014, on charges of insulting the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his book, The Gezi Phenomenon, according to news reports. The book covered the popular anti-government protests that erupted in Turkey in 2013 after the government announced its decision to turn a park in downtown Istanbul into a shopping mall.

Case   |   Turkey

Turkish cartoonist jailed for insulting religious leader

On June 12, 2014, Mehmet Düzenli, a cartoonist, was taken into custody to begin serving a three-month prison term he was given after being convicted of insulting controversial religious leader and TV figure Adnan Oktar (also known as Harun Yahya) in his drawings. The daily pro-opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet reported that Düzenli was convicted by the 2nd Penal Court of Peace in Serik, Antalya province, on April 10, 2014. Düzenli is serving his term at Alanya Prison in the Alanya district of Antalya, the reports said.

Alerts   |   Turkey

Reporter disparaged in Turkish parliament, journalists harassed

New York, June 3, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by today's reports that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Parliament called CNN journalist Ivan Watson a "flunky" and said the foreign press was "literally executing their duties as agents" in connection with the coverage of protests in Istanbul. The move follows the brief detention and manhandling by police of Watson and multiple Turkish journalists on Saturday, according to news reports. 

Impact   |   Brazil, Iraq, Kenya, Turkey

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, May 2014

CPJ's Brazil report spurs government meetings on press freedom

CPJ board member María Teresa Ronderos and CPJ Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría traveled to Brasilia this month to launch a new special report, "Halftime for the Brazilian press," and met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, as well as other high-level government officials. CPJ also presented President Rousseff with the report's recommendations.

Brazil is home to a vibrant investigative press, but journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free, CPJ's report found. Brazil is the 11th deadliest country in the world for journalists, and at least 10 have been killed in direct reprisal for their work since President Rousseff came to power, CPJ research shows. 

May 30, 2014 12:29 PM ET

Statements   |   Turkey

Turkey releases five more journalists

New York, May 12, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from jail today of five Turkish journalists--Nurettin Fırat, Yüksel Genç, Turabi Kişin, Ertuş Bozkurt, and Ramazan Pekgöz. The journalists were arrested in December 2011 as part of the Turkish government's crackdown on pro-Kurdish news outlets and were accused of membership or participation in the banned Union of Communities in Kurdistan party, or KCK. The journalists are under a travel ban and still face charges, according to reports.

Alerts   |   Turkey

Journalists released from Turkish jails pending appeal

Journalists demonstrate for freedom for the media in Ankara February 15, 2014. The banner reads, 'If the press is free, society is also free.' (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

New York, May 9, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from jail on Thursday of Fusün Erdoğan, former general manager of Özgür Radyo, and Bayram Namaz, a columnist for the weekly Atılım, and urges Turkish authorities to remove restrictions on their travel and lift their prison sentences on appeal.

Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Ten journalists to free from prison

On World Press Freedom Day,
CPJ calls for the release of all jailed journalists


Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste is in prison in Egypt on charges of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

By Shazdeh Omari/CPJ News Editor

New York, April 29, 2014—Uzbek editor Muhammad Bekjanov has been in jail for 15 years, one of the longest imprisonments of journalists worldwide. Prominent Iranian journalist Siamak Ghaderi was imprisoned in 2010 and has been beaten and whipped in custody. Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai, serving a 12-year jail term, could barely walk or talk during a prison visit in July 2013, his family said.

Statements   |   Turkey

UNESCO awards Ahmet Şık annual press freedom prize

New York, April 11, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists congratulates Turkish investigative journalist and book author Ahmet Şık on being awarded UNESCO's prestigious Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The annual prize, named after slain Colombian journalist Guillermo Cano Isaza, honors a journalist or organization that "has made an outstanding contribution to the defense of press freedom." Şık will receive the award on May 2 at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris, as part of the UNESCO celebrations for World Press Freedom Day.

Letters   |   Turkey

Turkey should reverse all anti-press measures and laws

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: We are writing to express our concern about the Turkish government's recent steps to restrict the independent Turkish media. In the recent past, your country was hailed as a model for a region aspiring for freedom, democracy, and tolerance. But today Turkey is being criticized as a country that is drifting away from the principles and practices that define true democracy.

April 9, 2014 12:41 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Turkey

Turkish courts release eight journalists in two days

New York, March 27, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release this week of at least eight imprisoned journalists in Turkey, but calls on Turkish authorities to scrap the charges against them and release all of the journalists jailed in the country. 

Blog   |   Internet, Turkey

When the rule of law isn't: Turkey at the crossroads

A board shows alternative ways to access Twitter at an election campaign office of the main opposition Republican's People's Party in Istanbul March 25, 2014. (Reuters/Murad Sezer)

In less than a week, Turkish voters will cast their ballots in local elections widely seen as a test of support for embattled Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has faced growing questions about official corruption since a high-level probe first became public in December. Although many observers believe Erdoğan will survive the current political crisis , the prime minister's increasingly autocratic posturing has given rise to questions about his long-term political viability.

Alerts   |   Turkey

CPJ condemns Twitter ban in Turkey

Turkish citizens hold signs protesting Twitter being blocked in the country. (AFP/Adem Altan)

New York, March 21, 2014--Turkey banned access to the social media platform Twitter on Friday, hours after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened in a public speech to shut it down, according to news reports. The move comes just ahead of March 30 elections and follows Erdoğan's threats to ban Facebook and YouTube.

Statements   |   Turkey

CPJ welcomes release of journalists in Turkey

New York, March 11, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release this week of five Turkish journalists who were imprisoned after being sentenced to jail in connection with the controversial Ergenekon case. Three of the journalists--Yalçın Küçük, Deniz Yıldırım, and Merdan Yanardağ--were convicted because of their work, according to CPJ research. In the cases of Tuncay Özkan and Hikmet Çiçek, CPJ had not been able to establish a connection.

Attacks on the Press   |   Turkey

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Turkey

For the second year in a row, Turkey was the world's leading jailer of the press, with 40 journalists behind bars, according to CPJ's annual prison census. Authorities continued to harass and censor critical voices, firing and forcing the resignation of almost 60 reporters in connection with their coverage of anti-government protests in Gezi Park in June. The government tried to censor coverage of sensitive events, threatened to restrict social media, and, in one case, used social media to wage a smear campaign against a journalist. Peace negotiations between the government and the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, did not result in the expected release of Kurdish journalists. Legal amendments undertaken by the government did not result in meaningful reform of anti-press laws. In March, the Turkish Parliament began examining a bill known as the "fourth reform package," aimed at aligning the country's laws with international standards. The bill, adopted in September, introduced modest advancements, such as limiting the scope of a provision of the anti-terror law—"making terrorist propaganda"—that has been used against journalists, especially those who had reported on opposition parties. But the amendments did not address one of the most problematic articles of the penal code—"membership of an armed organization"—under which more than 60 percent of the imprisoned journalists in Turkey as of December 1, 2013, were charged. The jailing of journalists, the conflation of criticism with terrorism, and the government's heated anti-press rhetoric, which emboldened prosecutors to go after critics, marred Turkey's press freedom record and thwarted its aspirations to be regarded as a regional leader and democratic model.

February 12, 2014 1:18 AM ET

Statements   |   Turkey

Turkish president should veto Internet bill

San Francisco, February 6, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Turkish President Abdullah Gül to veto the Internet bill passed Wednesday by the Turkish Parliament. The bill would grant the Turkish government unprecedented control over the Internet by allowing Web pages to be blocked without a court order, requiring mandatory data retention by Internet Service Providers, and authorizing the government to seize user data on demand, all without meaningful procedural safeguards.

February 6, 2014 11:18 AM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Turkey

Turkish Internet bill would deepen press freedom crisis

Riot police use a water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against Internet censorship in Istanbul on January 18, 2014. (Reuters)

The Turkish parliament is on the verge of voting on radical censorship measures that, if approved, would allow the government to block individual URLs without prior judicial review, mandate Internet data retention for periods of up to two years, and consolidate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) into a single association, among other changes. If passed, the amendments to Turkey's already restrictive Internet law would compound a dismal record on press freedom in the country, which is the leading jailer of journalists worldwide. Unsurprisingly, the proposed amendments are causing outrage among free expression activists and journalists in Turkey and around the world.

February 3, 2014 5:01 PM ET

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Statements   |   Sweden, Syria, Turkey

Three abducted journalists released in Syria

New York, January 8, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the news that three abducted journalists in Syria have been freed this week. The Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed today that freelance Swedish journalists Magnus Falkehed and Niclas Hammarstrom, both of whom were abducted in November, were released. On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkish intelligence services had helped secure the release of Milliyet photojournalist Bünyamin Aygün, who had been held for more than a month.

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