David L. Phillips, director of Columbia University’s Programme on Peace-building and Rights, has said that the U.S. administration “has had it” with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over his constant exploitation of anti-terrorism laws for his own party's own political interests.
“The struggle against terrorism is a very valuable phrase, but in Turkey, the law on the struggle against terrorism, whose only purpose is to fight terrorists, is being used to silence journalists and opposition figures. With these laws, the right to freedom of speech of people in Turkey is being restricted,” Phillips told Voice of America's (VOA) Turkish service on May 2.
Phillips served as a senior adviser at the U.S. State Department under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
“These laws are being used for political purposes. This is a very important violation of human rights. Washington has had it with Tayyip Erdoğan for using these laws for his own political interests and causing human rights violation,” he said.
Chomsky: Suffocating regime of Erdoğan is broadening
In similar remarks, U.S. linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky said that Turkey is heading toward a more authoritarian and oppressive regime every day and that the freedom of the press in the country is “under a serious threat.”
“As the suffocating dominance of the Erdoğan regime, which is getting more authoritarian every day, broadens, the freedoms are also being restricted. The oppression against the freedom of the press is increasing,” Chomsky told VOA Turkish.
“If you look at the Reporters Without Borders' World Press Freedom Index, you will see where Turkey's freedom of press stands,” he further said.
The remarks came as journalists in Turkey marked May 3 World Press Freedom Day under severe human rights violations and state oppression.
The Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) prepared a report on the state of journalism in the country, saying that Turkish courts sentenced journalists to a total of 226 years, eight months and 25 days in prison over the past year.
The courts also banned access to 1,411 news stories from 62 different sources in the past year, and ruled for 13 news stories to be removed from the Internet, the TGS report further said.