EP says Erdoğan’s ‘treason’ accusation ‘totally unacceptable’


Date posted: December 13, 2013

BRUSSELS

Two of the most senior politicians of the European Parliament (EP) have strongly criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “treason” remarks against the Taraf daily and its reporter Mehmet Baransu, calling the prime minister’s comments unacceptable.

Hannes Swoboda, the leader of the second-largest group in the EP, said he was “gravely concerned” by Erdoğan’s remarks and the subsequent cases filed against the daily and its reporter Baransu.

Swoboda, the leader of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the EP, said the tactic of accusing journalists and newspapers of treason is often used by state authorities when they read something they don’t like. “This is another way of intimidating journalists and newspapers. It is totally unacceptable. The authorities should not intervene in press freedom,” he said.

Another EP heavyweight, Liberal Group Vice Chairman Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, said the Turkish government was wrong to sue the newspaper and called on the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government to amend the rules of storing confidential documents instead of punishing journalists who publish them. He also stressed that it was “completely ridiculous” that the Hizmet movement had been put under surveillance since 2004, adding that this was “really irritating.”

“One aspect I find really irritating is there is a document that proves the Hizmet movement was put under surveillance since 2004. This is completely ridiculous given that it is a domestic group that has done nothing to threaten the security of Turkey. This is not about the [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK operating in northern Iraq, this is not about other intelligence services giving away Turkey’s secrets to Iran, for example. This makes it clear that the government is spying on its own citizens, which is clearly irreconcilable within an open society,” he said.

Lambsdorff said the case filed against Taraf was unfortunately another cause of concern for media freedom in Turkey and making the practice of the profession even more difficult. “The latest action on the part of the government confirms that the understanding that the media is free and must remain free even when they publish or write uncomfortable things is not apparently there within the AK Party leadership,” said Lambsdorff.

Swoboda: Gravely concerned

Stressing that he was gravely concerned about the cases against Taraf, Swoboda said these were “absolutely not good signs” for Turkish democracy and would not help its relations with the EU. “This is not good for Turkey’s own sake and for its democracy. This is damaging Turkey’s image,” he insisted.

Commenting on the upcoming visit by Erdoğan to Brussels on Jan. 21, during which he is expected to meet with the leaders of political groups in the EP, Swoboda said he would convey the message that he strongly believed Turkey should be with the EU and would lend his unconditional support to sort out the Kurdish question.

While commending Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani’s visit to Diyarbakır as “historic” and praising the initiative by Erdoğan, Swoboda characterized the Turkish prime minister’s proposal of becoming a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) instead of the EU as a mistake. “It is a mistake to see the SCO as an alternative to the EU. It is not. The SCO is not about values which both we and Turkey cherish,” underlined Swoboda.

Hélène Flautre, the co-chair of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, has already called the investigations against Taraf “scandalous.”

Lambsdorff: Irreconcilable within open society

Lambsdorff, the shadow rapporteur of his group on Turkey, gave two very well known examples from Germany and the US in which the judiciary upheld the right of journalists to do their job in a secure environment free from state pressure.

The German politician said the publisher and a reporter of German weekly Der Spiegel were arrested 50 years ago for publishing documents detailing problems within the armed forces but were released by the court which upheld the principle of freedom of the media and expression. “You have a very similar case in the US which is more famous because it happened there. In the 1960s, The Washington Post published the so-called ‘Pentagon Papers.’ The government sued the newspaper but the court said ‘No, this is what journalists are there for, to inform the public about problems in the government and politics’,” he added.

Lambsdorff stressed that freedom of the press is usually superior to the need of the state to protect secrets in the hierarchy of a functioning democracy. “What has become apparent is that the state was not capable of protecting its secrets or else the Taraf newspaper could never have obtained it,” he said.

Source: Today's Zaman , December 13, 2013


Related News

Gulen movement shows faith can purify reason

Randy David MANILA, Philippines—It is fascinating to read Pope Benedict XVI’s speech the other day before members of the British parliament. The Pope spoke on “the proper place of religious belief within the political  process.” Having just visited Ephesus and Urfa, two of the most important religious sites in Turkey, I could not have been […]

Hate Speech is Undermining Turkey’s Fragile Democracy

Many TV viewers could not believe their ears upon hearing the terms “blood sucking vampires, leeches, traitors, spies, worse than Shiites, and assassins” uttered by then Turkish prime minister Erdogan in his political rallies.

Turkish trade’s center of gravity shifting in TUSKON bridges

Over the last six years, the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) has introduced a new concept to trade fair organizations: World Trade Bridges. These programs have evolved over time and become internationally recognized trade events in Turkey.

86-year-old man in 11th month of his arrest on coup charges

Ali Osman Karahan, an 86-year-old Turkish man with walking and speaking difficulties has been kept in an Isparta prison for almost 12 months over alleged links to Turkey’s Gülen group, which Turkish authorities accuse of being behind a failed coup attempt in July of last year.

‘Islam and I’

The number of books written by Western academics on Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s ideas and Hizmet, the faith-based social movement he has inspired, is growing.

Film “Love is a Verb” portraying Hizmet Movement met with audience in NY

The film directed by Terry Spencer Hesser who has won Emmy three times informs audience about Gülen who inspired Hizmet Movement — a volunteer-based grassroots movement that works in the field of education around the world and encourages interfaith dialogue.

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

Gülen warns against adventurism, using force against Kurds

Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) at center of political storm

Kimse Yok Mu opens education complex in Kenya

Turkish educator says Demirel stood with Turkish schools abroad

Kimse Yok Mu continues relief efforts in Bosnia

Fethullah Gulen: ISIL Actions Contradict Quran

Erdoğan…a factionist PM?

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News