President Erdogan has claimed that under his rule media has become “more vocal and more free” in Turkey. The reality is that Turkey remains the worst jailer of journalists globally and is 154th inin the 2020 World Press Freedom Index.
Speaking on the occasion of January 10 Working Journalists’ Day, Erdogan said “As Turkey, we will never give up on freedom of the press”. These lies by Erdogan cannot mask the reality that journalists across Turkey that dare to write, speak, publish or broadcast anything critical of Erdogan and the AKP face criminalisation and harassment. The severity of the repression of the media can be see in the increasing number of systematic investigations, prosecution, intimidations and harassment towards journalists and is a constant reminder of Erdogan’s total lack of respect for freedom of press and the freedom of expression in Turkey.
At least 808 journalists have been arrested during the AKP rule and 87 journalists were sent to prison in 2020 alone. For example Evrensel, a daily newspaper in Turkey, was fined for an advert featuring a girl holding a yellow, green and yellow scarf.
International solidarity is crucial to oppose the oppression by Erdogan’s government against freedom of press.