Situation for journalists in Turkey is hopeless, EU Parliament told

A hearing in Parliament heard that the situation for journalists in Turkey is hopeless.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan | Photo credit: Press Association

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

31 Mar 2017

The hearing was organised by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) to help highlight the current crackdown on the media in Turkey.

A Turkish journalist, who is in exile in Belgium, also said that some media outlets in the country were themselves culpable for the fate facing many journalists in Turkey.

The female journalist, who said she did not wish to be named for fear of reprisals, said some Turkish newspapers and broadcasters were, effectively, a mouthpiece for the Erdoğan regime.


"They even accuse their fellow journalists of being involved in terrorist activity. What these people are doing is poisoning society," said the woman, who has been in exile in Belgium for a year.

The exiled journalist, who used to work for one the largest English language media outlets in the country, told he hearing the free media in the country is in its death throes and she believes the situation for reporters there is "hopeless."

She added, "This is indisputable. But it is some of the media in Turkey itself which is, arguably, even worse by acting as mouthpiece for the regime. The narrative they spread is feeding oppression."

Her concerns were echoed by Ricardo Gutierrez, of the EFJ, who said his organisation's aim was to help those journalists in the country who found themselves in difficulty.

He said, "One of the problems is the absence of a clear legal framework in which journalists can operate and then applies in other countries, not just Turkey."

Yavuz Baydar, a Turkish-born journalist and former president of the Organisation of News Ombudsmen, who said, "Sadly, there has always been a moral issue with elements of the Turkish media. It is a sickness and I see no answer to it. It is one of the reasons I gave up being a journalist in Turkey."

The conference heard that there were now 152 journalists in custody in Turkey including and that 173 media organisations had been closed down since the attempted coup, including magazines, newspapers, radio stations, news agencies and websites. More than 2500 journalists have been laid off because of the closures and 800 journalists have had their press cards cancelled by the authorities.

It comes after the recent arrest in Turkey of a German newspaper correspondent which was condemned as an assault on freedom of expression and attempt at intimidating foreign press in the country.

Deniz Yücel, a Turkish-German journalist for Die Welt, was arrested on charges of propaganda and incitement to hatred.

The journalist's arrest, it was said, was the latest in a broad crackdown on the media in Turkey after a failed coup last July.

Turkey now has the dubious honour of being the world's biggest jailer of journalists.


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