The arrest of TELE 1 editor-in-chief Merdan Yanardag is the latest intimidation operation by the Turkish government against the opposition press.
In a televised speech over the weekend, Yanardag said: “[PKK leader Abdullah] Öcalan is the longest-serving political prisoner in Türkiye. If normal execution laws were applicable, he should actually be released… The isolation imposed on Öcalan has no legal basis.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration and the Directorate of Communications, RTÜK – which is under Erdogan’s thumb – took swift action and claimed that Yanardag’s comments praised terrorism and crime.
For a long time in Turkey, criticism of the government’s politics has been criminalised, and lawyers and journalists who report and comment on it are treated as criminals.
The government aims to punish, silence and intimidate Merdan Yanardag as well as all opposition media platforms by criminalising dissent and eradicating voices that do not align with its views.
We must not allow Erdogan and the AKP government to normalise such acts and eradicate the democratic rights of the people of Turkey.
As SPOT, we call on trade unions, including the National Union of Journalists, and labour organisations to stand with the people of Turkey by opposing the one-man regime’s actions through their international relations.
Photo: still taken from Tele 1 broadcast