Reporters Without Borders urges Turkey to rescind draconian state of emergency decrees

A woman holding the Ozgur Gundem newspaper, one of the outlets ordered to close by a Turkish court. Photograph: Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images
A woman holding the Ozgur Gundem newspaper, one of the outlets ordered to close by a Turkish court. Photograph: Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images


Date posted: September 21, 2016

Two months after responding to a coup attempt by declaring a state of emergency, the Turkish government continues to target journalists, pluralism and freedom of information. RSF is today publishing a report that details the many abuses and urges the government to return to democratic principles.

Released on the day that Turkey completes its first two months under the state of emergency, the report analyses the frontal assault on media independence launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

Declared on 20 July, the state of emergency allows the authorities to bypass the judicial system, although it is less independent than ever, and to curtail defence rights. Many journalists have been arrested and charged on spurious grounds and without evidence of their involvement in the coup attempt.

Those who are arrested can be held in police custody for up to 30 days and can be denied access to a lawyer during the first five days.

Taking advantage of the state of emergency, the government has also ordered the permanent closure of more than 100 media outlets, including newspapers, radio stations and TV channels, drastically curtailing pluralism, which had already been under attack.

The state of emergency has also enabled the authorities to impose arbitrary administrative sanctions (withdrawal of passports and press cards) with the aim of discrediting hundreds of journalists and preventing them from working freely.

“Instead of following the example set by the Turkish people, who resisted the putschists on 15 July and defended democracy, the Erdogan government has pursued an ever-broader offensive against freedom of information in Turkey,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.

“The government is using the state of emergency to jail journalists and close media outlets that supposedly supported its former Gülen movement allies, thereby flouting the most fundamental freedom of expression and opinion. But the state of emergency is also being used to attack all opposition media outlets.”

Proclaimed five days after the 15 July abortive coup d’état, the three-month state of emergency allows the authorities to govern by decree. They are going after anyone suspected of “links” with the Gülen movement, which was immediately declared to have been behind the would-be coup.

Hundreds of journalists – not only those working for pro-Gülen media but also for other media outlets critical of the government – have been arrested, questioned, charged or dismissed.

This report was written by RSF Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu, who was jailed for ten days in June for taking part, like many other leading Turkish media figures, in a campaign of solidarity with Özgür Gündem, a newspaper that defends Kurdish rights. It was summarily closed on 16 August under the state of emergency.

Turkey is ranked 151st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

Source: Reporters Without Borders , September 19, 2016


Related News

Court accepts indictment against 9 officers in case seen as political witch hunt

The investigation into the nine police officers is being carried out by Adana Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Ali Doğan. The investigation drew strong criticism, as they were based on claims made in government media outlets’ news reports. This raised suspicions as to whether the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) had kicked off a witch hunt against the Hizmet movement, which the prime minister recently threatened to “punish with a large-scale operation.

When paths part…

ORHAN MİROĞLU The Hizmet movement and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) have arrived at a critical junction in the road. The main problems that have emerged on the route towards this critical junction are of course not limited to the debates and disagreements surrounding the question of the closure of the prep schools. […]

[Alleged] “Coup leader” Gülen’s friendships with the Catholic Church

Erdogan’s propaganda channels and instruments have been referring to Hizmet as the “Gülenist Terror Organisation” for years and over the past months, this full-fledged criminalisation campaign has often seen relations between the Hizmet network and the Catholic Church – including the Vatican – being dragged into it. This has primarily been witnessed in the most staunchly nationalist press channels.

EU calls on Turkey to Investigate abduction cases targeting Gülen Movement

The European Union (EU) on Thursday said it was closely following developments in Turkey including the abductions of people from the Gülen movement, reminding Ankara of its responsibility to investigate these reported cases.

Hizmet-affiliated schools removed from private school incentive list

The Hizmet schools were in the original list of those institutions which met all the criteria for eligibility to receive financial incentives to accept these students. Announced on Monday, the schools were listed on the ministry’s website until Thursday afternoon, when they were taken off without any explanation. However, an official written notice sent from the ministry to governorates on Thursday said: “It was not deemed proper to give such incentives to education institutions whose managers are under fiscal investigation and interrogation within the scope of the Law No. 5549 on the Prevention of Laundering of Crime Revenues and those that had received punishments fiscal irregularities after due inspections before,” and asked the governorates do what the notice requires.

Kimse Yok Mu hosts international experts for social media benefits conference

The Kimse Yok Mu (Is Anyone There?) Foundation hosted an international conference titled “Social Media for Good” in Istanbul on Friday, drawing a wide range of international experts in journalism and social media to discuss ways of making positive contributions via the Internet.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Post-coup purge in Turkey leaves children parentless after mother and father are put behind bars

GYV praised for response to accusations about Hizmet movement

UN Concerned About Albanian Deportations of Turkish ‘Gulenists’

Georgetown University in Qatar professor authors book on interfaith dialogue, Hizmet Movement

Is man living in Pennsylvania responsible for Turkey coup attempt?

AK Party’s Islamism

Overshadowing the graft probe

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News