PKK

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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.

Istanbul, February 11, 2013--The release of at least seven journalists and media workers from pretrial detention is a positive step toward restoring the press freedom climate in Turkey, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

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?

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.

Last week, suspected supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, took their confrontation with the Turkish state to Western Europe, attacking the French and German offices of one of Turkey's most influential newspapers, Zaman.

Suppression Under the Cover of National Security

A police trooper stands guard on a police vehicle outside a state security court in Sanaa, Yemen. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

By Mohamed Abdel Dayem

Relying on an extensive network of sources in the military, government, and Islamist groups, Yemeni freelance journalist Abdulelah Shaea had become a frequent and pointed critic of the administration's counterterrorism efforts. By July, President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government had enough, dispatching security agents to seize and roughly interrogate Shaea for several hours about his reporting.

New York, August 13, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Turkish authorities to release American journalist Jake Hess, who is being detained in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir, according to the Turkish daily HürriyetHess is accused of collaborating with the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), referred to in news reports as the "urban wing" of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)  

New York, June 9, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Istanbul's Yargıtay High Court to overturn on appeal a 15-month prison sentence given to Turkish journalist Irfan Aktan on Friday. Aktan was found guilty of "producing terrorist propaganda" in an article published in an issue of the biweekly Express in October 2009.

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