Prime Minister Erdogan is not the first Turkish politician to use lawsuits as a means of cowing the press. But few have used it as frequently or to as great effect.
Most recently, Prime Minister Erdogan has filed a lawsuit against the newspaper, BirGün, for having published a photograph representing him with a black tape across his face and listing columnists who would be soon writing for the paper.
As the Committee to Protect Journalists has noted, these lawsuits are part of a network of strategies aimed at keeping the press under control:
Authorities have imprisoned journalists on a mass scale on terrorism or anti-state charges, launched thousands of other criminal prosecutions on charges such as denigrating Turkishness or influencing court proceedings, and used pressure tactics to sow self-censorship. Erdoğan has publicly deprecated journalists, urged media outlets to discipline or fire critical staff members, and filed numerous high-profile defamation lawsuits.