January 21, 2015

Report: Ankara instructs Brussels rep to return EP’s resolution on media freedoms

The Turkish government has instructed the Permanent Delegation of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels to return the European Parliament's (EP) resolution, which condemns police raids and the detention of a number of journalists and media representatives on Dec. 14, without even opening it, a Turkish daily reported.

According to a report from the Hürriyet daily published on Wednesday, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government doesn't find it appropriate that the detailed resolution be delivered to Ankara.

“You don't need to send the EP's resolution when you receive it. Return it with a [diplomatic] note even before opening its cover in a way that is suitable for diplomatic practices,” Ankara reportedly told its diplomats in Brussels.

Last week, in a strongly-worded resolution unanimously voted on by political parties, the EP condemned the Turkish government's Dec. 14 attempt to silence critical media by launching raids on media institutions and detaining journalists, saying the steps taken by the Turkish government against the media raises questions about the rule of law and freedom of the media in the country.

The resolution, seen as harsh warning to Turkey in terms of press freedom, was approved with 551 votes for it, 11 against it and 31 abstentions in Strasbourg.

The government-backed operation against independent media outlets, which resulted in the detention of dozens of individuals including Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı, Samanyolu TV network top executive Hidayet Karaca, script writers, producers and directors, caught the attention of the European Union. The detentions sparked reaction across the world, from Canada to France. Foreign government officials and human rights watchdogs defined the media crackdown as another blow to freedoms in the country and called on Turkey to respect media freedom.

Published on Today's Zaman, 21 January 2015, Wednesday