Bad news from Turkey: RIP press freedom

Commentators have noted some danger signs in Turkey over the last year or two, including the cancellation of joint air exercises with Israel, which suggested that the armed forces (hitherto the bastion of secularism) have been brought under control by the pro-Islamic regime.

This is an alarming report on the suppression of press comment. Compliments of Michael Warby and his prolific publication of  links. These relate to film, media and art.

… The calamity is exacerbated by the tendency of the foreign media to repeat, without scrutiny, the very idiocies peddled in the Turkish press, where the range of opinion on offer has become severely limited. The result is the growth of a grossly distorted and dangerous consensus about Turkey, here and abroad — to wit, that Turkey under the AKP has become more democratic and politically healthier, even if it is a bit up the duff with Islamism. …
The AKP has by this means brought under its influence most of the media in Turkey, and what it hasn’t purchased or neutered, it has terrified. Since taking office in 2003, Erdogan has launched an energetic series of lawsuits against Turkish journalists and cartoonists for character defamation. No one knows how many have been sued, though the number is probably in the hundreds, and Erdogan has refused to answer this question when asked in parliament. …
The Turkish Penal Code clearly prohibits incitement on the basis of religion, but no one is ever prosecuted for writing this garbage, although the prime minister has, par contre, sued a cartoonist for depicting him as a cat caught in a ball of string — after all, that was really offensive. Turkey’s religious affairs department has recently been given the right to request the banning of anti-Islamic and sacrilegious websites. They are duly banned.
… you don’t need to establish laws based on religious sources to pursue Islamist objectives, you just need to enforce laws based on religious sources. If you enforce the tax code, laws on foreign financing of the media and laws on religious incitement selectively, well then, voila! — you’ve got yourself an Islamist press, all without writing a single law based on religious sources …
The foreign media’s willingness to relay uncritically the government line on Turkey’s obstreperous foreign policy (“not Islamist, just Ottomanist”) the Ergenekon trial (“not persecution, just democratisation”), the proposed reforms to the Turkish constitution (“not Weimar, just Germany”) and the general realities of the Turkish political system can only be described as collective journalistic malpractice.

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4 Responses to Bad news from Turkey: RIP press freedom

  1. C.L.

    Turkey’s gone – perhaps headed for civil war in the longer run. Benedict XVI (and a few others) were right to block its admission to the EU.

  2. Infidel Tiger

    Demography in action. The hillbilly islamists from the east outbred the westerners.

  3. I’ll try to publish the bad news of the week regular in my blog.
    Thus my country may fix the mistakes…

  4. .

    A very sad development given the promise of democracy and free speech elsewhere.

    Turkish reffos?

    Let em in I say.

    IT is right – demography is sometimes scary and you cannot fight it. The “Turkish hillbillies” would have to see that they are materially suffering to change their mind.

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