Freedom House Special Report: Corruption, Media, and Power in Turkey

In a report issued this week, Freedom House as highlighted once again the worsening human rights situation in Turkey.   The report highlights tightening government control of the press in Turkey and urges the AKP government “to recognize that its efforts to control a free debate are further alienating Turkey’s citizens and could potentially threaten the
country’s stability.”

Freedom-House-LogoThe report highlights a number of on-going issues including:

1. Government intimidation of journalists or their employers.

2. Mass firing of journalists, including “at least 59 journalists were fired
or forced out in retaliation for their coverage of last summer’s Gezi Park protests. The December corruption scandal has produced another string of firings of prominent columnists.”

3. Pressure on “media moguls,” including lucrative contracts to “friendly companies” and fines and investigation of “unfriendly ones.”

4. Wiretapping of journalists.

5. Imprisonment under “broadly defined anti-terrorism laws.”

Freedom House argues that

The intentional weakening of Turkey’s democratic institutions, including attempts to bully and censor Turkey’s media, should and must be a matter of deep concern for the United States and the European Union.

The report is accompanied by this timeline, which highlights the growing pressure on independent journalism in Turkey and the varied means by which the government has worked to stifle opposing voices.

Howard Eissenstat
Department of History, St. Lawrence University


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