September 21, 2015

GYV says government trying to silence critics with recent attacks on media

The Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) has said the interim Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government is trying to silence its opponents by increasing pressure on the media.

"Recently, [they] are trying to silence people who have no kind of connection with terrorism, by showing them as if they are linked to terrorism. The government, which is obviously unsuccessful in its fight against terrorism, is trying to silence opponents by making use of the current atmosphere. In this regard, the managers of the Zaman, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, STV, İpek and Doğan media groups are being openly threatened," the GYV said in a statement released on Sunday.

Mentioning that well-respected journalists Hasan Cemal, Ahmet Altan, Cüneyt Özdemir, Gültekin Avcı, Levent Kenez, Aytekin Gezici and Osman Özsoymore have been added to the list of members of the press who faced politically-motivated probes in the past week, the statement said freedom of expression has been put under obvious pressure with the abuse of the judiciary and police force, which it said is unacceptable. "All other freedoms of a society which has lost its freedom of expression are under threat as well. We are sorry to note that every article and TV program which criticizes the government has been risky and being objective and being an opponent require more courage than ever," it added.

Stating that those who try to make the regime of oppression look like stability should know that stability only comes after guaranteeing fundamental rights and freedoms, the GYV said they should also know that journalists will never keep silent. "Journalists know very well that a society which keeps silent in the face of injustice has no future. In this regard, we announce that we stand against any kind of pressure and injustice and we stand together with those who are oppressed," the statement added.

The pressure on journalists in Turkey has manifested itself in various forms. Some media organizations such as the Koza İpek Media Group and the Zaman daily have been raided by police. In other cases, journalists have had criminal cases filed against under Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) for “insulting the president.” Another method used by the government to ban access to news websites is by accusing them of promoting “terrorist propaganda,” which has led to the websites of outlets such as and the Dicle news agency being blocked. Many journalists, most famously from the Milliyet daily, have also lost their jobs for their coverage and criticism of the government.

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 20 September 2015, Sunday