Press freedom in Turkey
Only 25 percent of the Turkish public has trust in the presidency, according to a recent poll from the ArtıBir research company. Some 17.3 percent of those polled said that they did not have trust in any of the country's institutions, while the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) was the most trusted institution with the confidence of 38.2 percent of those responding to the poll.
Newspaper circulation in Turkey declined by 48 percent between 2013 and 2019, according to a report prepared by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). The number of media workers also dropped rapidly within the same period, from 51,843 in 2013 to 36,263 in 2019.
Turkey's media watchdog issued a five-day blackout to two news broadcasters that are critical of the government. Both broadcasters will lose their licenses if they receive another broadcast interruption fine.
The presidential communications director of Turkey, which is the country that ranks near bottom of various press freedom indexes and is the world's biggest jailer of journalists, condemned the wounding of TRT World journalists by police in the United States and urged press freedom. "Press freedom is the backbone of democracy," Fahrettin Altun tweeted late on June 1. "I will raise this issue with the relevant U.S. officials without delay," he also said.
Turkey’s media watchdog head backtracks on earlier remarks, says death threats on TV are ‘unacceptable’
RTÜK head Ebubekir Şahin has backtracked from his earlier remarks on the unnecessity of fining a pro-government channel over an Islamist commentator's remarks on her family's “capability” to kill at least 50 people if a new coup attempt is undertaken in Turkey, saying that the remarks are "unacceptable." No one should doubt that the RTÜK will do what's necessary in line with its founding objectives," Şahin said on May 18 following backlash.
Turkey's media watchdog RTÜK head Ebubekir Şahin has refused to fine the pro-government Ülke TV channel over Islamist commentator Sevda Noyan's remarks on her family's “capability” to kill at least 50 people if a new coup attempt is undertaken in Turkey. "If a penalty will be given, it should not be one that makes coup lovers and praisers happy," Şahin said. "We're not in a position to sentence the statements made against those who praise a coup," he added.
Turkey ranked at 154 in a ranking of press freedoms in 180 countries, in decreasing order. Turkey's "the world’s biggest jailer of professional journalists," press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) noted in their annual World Press Freedom Index.
Turkey's internet watchdog has banned access to The Independent's Turkish website, a week after Saudi Arabia banned the websites of Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency and state-broadcaster TRT's Arabic service. "There are problems in accessing our website. Some of our readers come across this warning," Nevzat Çiçek said, as he shared the screenshot of the BTK warning on the administrative measure adopted for the website.
CNN Türk barred seven field reporters and nine videographers from its building, relocating them to prefabricated sheds in the parking lot. “Is this your understanding of a precaution?” Turkey’s Journalists’ Union said in a tweet March 22.
Six journalists, who were arrested last week over a report covering the funeral of a member of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) killed in Libya, are being kept in isolation, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Utku Çakırözer has said upon visiting them in Silivri Prison. "I call on the prison authorities and the Justice Ministry to end this practice," Çakırözer told Duvar on March 11.
Osman Kavala has deemed new "political or military espionage" charges against him "more ridiculous" than the previous accusations. "It's clear that this baseless allegation, which is more ridiculous than the previous ones, aims to invalidate the ECHR's violation ruling and the limitation on imprisonment before the preparation of an indictment to two years that was introduced by the judicial reform package," Kavala said.
OdaTV's editor-in-chief Barış Pehlivan has filed a criminal complaint against a prison guard who he said battered him upon his arrival at the Silivri Prison. Pehlivan was arrested last week over a report covering the funeral of a member of an intelligence operative killed in Libya.
Turkey's former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan has said that a group of 15 to 20 university students would govern the country better. He also said that the lack of freedoms is the biggest problem in Turkey. "If I were to list Turkey's problems, I would put the lack of freedoms, especially the freedom of expression, on top. When people can't talk and say, 'There are problems,' you can't begin finding solutions to them," he said.
Access to OdaTV has been blocked as a result of “an administrative order” imposed by the Turkish Telecommunications Authority (BTK). The move came after two OdaTV journalists were arrested over charges of violating intelligence laws by disclosing the identity of an intelligence operative even though an opposition MP had revealed the name a week prior to the publication of the OdaTV story.
The Kremlin hopes that the Russian media outlets in Turkey will not face situations similar to what Sputnik journalists experienced, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on March 2, a day after four Sputnik journalists were detained. The Journalists' Union of Turkey said the intimidation of reporters and their detention were unacceptable.