In the latest example of the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) “parallel” paranoia, the ruling party’s Sinop deputy and head of the Parliamentary Interior Affairs Commission, Mehmet Ersoy, ordered restaurant officials in Parliament to remove a dish called “samanyolu kebap” as it reminds him of institutions affiliated with the “parallel structure,” a daily reported on Monday.
Mr. President, I have spoken many times on the Senate floor in defense of press freedom because it is a fundamental cornerstone of a democratic society. Today I want to briefly draw the Senate’s attention to the situation in Turkey, one of the many countries in the world where this basic right is under threat by officials in the government who seek to silence their critics.
Recently, Two Journalists Who Were Vocal Critics of President Erdogan’s Administration and Were Arrested and Detained—Both Individuals Lead Major News Organizations; Prior To That Incident, Many Journalists Lost Their Jobs for Writing Material That Was Critical of President Erdogan and His Administration
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent attack on the West for “hate speech” and misattributing terrorism during the Paris attacks is ironic. Erdogan is erroneously doing both already: labeling the Gulen movement a terrorist organization and using hate speech to characterize it. In fact, Erdogan is cracking down on religious groups more heavily than ever before.
Members of the US Congress who submitted a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry last month on the dismal state of media freedom in Turkey are standing firm behind their signatures despite intense pressure from the Turkish government and the pro-government media.
On one hand he is a devout Muslim, and former member of the conservative Welfare Party (Refah Partisi), which was thrown out of the government in 1997 after a military memorandum, commonly known as the February 28 post-modern coup. Equally important for Tan is his identity as a Kurdish political figure, seeking political rights for his people and an end to conflict between armed rebels and the state.
Samanyolu TV Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca, who has been under arrest since a government-backed police operation against independent media outlets on Dec. 14, 2014, stated in a letter on Monday that his imprisonment for the last 66 days without legal justification is a result of his being on guard duty for democracy.
US-based watchdog Freedom House has criticized Turkey’s controversial security package, which grants extensive powers to police officersand provincial governors, saying that the passing of the bill in Parliament is a move to undermine democracy in Turkey.