Turkey: The World’s Leader In Jailing Journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has just issued a report finding that the number of journalists imprisoned worldwide reached a record high this year, many of whom were jailed on the untenable pretext that they were terrorist sympathizers. The world’s leading jailer of journalists- even exceeding Iran and China, which came in second and third respectively – is Turkey. Its ruler is the Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who once said “Democracy is like a train. We shall get out when we arrive at the station we want.”

Turkey, like Iran and China, “made extensive use of vague anti-state laws to silence dissenting political views, including those expressed by ethnic minorities,” the CPJ report concluded.

In Turkey’s case, according to the CPJ, “the authorities held dozens of Kurdish reporters and editors on terror-related charges and a number of other journalists on charges of involvement in anti-government plots.”

The CPJ reported that “more than 80 percent of the journalists in Turkish jails today have not been convicted of a crime. They are being held in open-ended detentions as their cases await court verdicts.”

Normal newsgathering activities such as fielding tips, covering protests, taking photos and conducting interviews are deemed evidence of a crime.

Neither Turkey’s Mission to the United Nations or its foreign ministry has responded to my request for comment on the CPJ report.

The United Nations Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said during his daily press briefing on December 13th that, while the UN Secretariat has respect for the work of the CPJ, he had no comment to make on this particular report.

In response to my inquiry to the U.S. State Department for comment, they provided the following statement from an unnamed State Department official:

We have seen the CPJ report that global imprisonment of journalists reached a record high in 2012.  The United States opposes detentions based on the peaceful exercise of freedoms of association, assembly or expression.  A free media, online and offline, is essential to fostering innovative, successful, and stable societies.

We believe that Turkey’s long-term stability, security, and prosperity is best guaranteed by upholding the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly, and association.  These freedoms are crucial to a robust democracy.  We have concerns about freedom of expression in Turkey, particularly the arrests of prominent academics, intellectuals, journalists, and political activists.  We encourage Turkey to respect the right of citizens to express differences of opinion in the public square.

This is a fairly bland comment on the brutal treatment of journalists reporting on Kurdish dissent, which the CPJ described in great detail in its report.

For example, one victim of Turkey’s political imprisonment of journalists is Tayip Temel, editor-in-chief of Azadiya Welat, the nation’s sole Kurdish-language daily, who faces more than 20 years in prison on charges of being a member of a banned Kurdish organization. As evidence, the government has cited Temel’s published work.

Özlem Ağuş, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency, who helped expose the sexual abuse of juvenile detainees at Pozantı M Type Juvenile and Youth Prison in Adana, Turkey, was being held at Karataş Women’s Closed Prison. She faces up to 22 years in prison upon conviction. According to her defense attorney, authorities had questioned Ms. Ağuş about her published news coverage and her newsgathering practices.

Other Dicle reporters have also written about the Kurdish children at the Pozantı prison, whom were subjected to rape, periodic beatings by the guards, ethnic humiliation, and forced labor. Dicle thus became a favorite target of the Turkish police. Thirteen editors, writers, and managers with the Dicle News Agency were among at least 27 journalists still detained during 2012, after being arrested in a massive sweep in December of 2011.

The Turkish government also censors the Internet, blocking domestic news sources, including oppositionist and pro-Kurdish media. Last October, in a separate report entitled “Turkey’s Press Freedom Crisis,” the CPJ said that “news sites covering Kurdish issues, such as Özgür Gündem and Keditör, have been blocked within Turkey. The people behind these journals have faced criminal charges, including ‘propaganda for an illegal organization’ and ‘encouragement to armed action.’”

The censorship and criminalization of journalistic activities seen by the government as sympathetic to the Kurdish cause are all part of Turkey’s brutal crackdown on the Kurdish people who are seeking to realize their inalienable right to self-determination. However, Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Erdoğan has not stopped with imprisonment of journalists. Kurdish politicians have also come under increasing attack. The Turkish government has arrested about 200 Kurdish mayors and local officials of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which promotes bilingualism and democratic autonomy for the Kurds but does not go so far as to demand a separate independent state for the Kurds.  Although the BDP is represented in the Turkish parliament, several BDP lawmakers were prevented from taking up the parliamentary seats they won in 2011 and are in jail. Others who currently serve in the parliament and are supposed to have parliamentary immunity are being threatened by Erdoğan with the loss of their immunity and possible prosecution for the speeches they make in the parliament advocating the Kurdish cause.

“Yes, mayors and other officials are being arrested,” Prime Minister Erdoğan said last year, according to the Anatolian news agency. “But, brothers, they are no innocents. They have all been up to something.”

Worst of all, Erdoğan, who libeled Israel as a “terrorist state” during an address in Istanbul to Muslim religious leaders last month and falsely charged that “Israel violently massacres innocent children,” commands a military force which has conducted lethal airstrikes against Kurdish families, including children, in Turkey and Iraq. According to a figure published by Institute for Human Development (Children Rights Institution), 152 Kurdish children have been killed in Turkey under the rule of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party.

These were not accidental casualties, as the following quote reportedly attributed to Erdoğan demonstrates: “Our security forces will use the necessary force and intervene against anybody who agrees to be a tool of terror, including children and women. I want this to be clearly understood.”

Apparently, none of this fazes President Obama, who regards Prime Minister Erdoğan as “an outstanding partner and an outstanding friend on a wide range of issues.” Does the wide range of issues on which Erdoğan and Obama see eye to eye include freedom of the press? Back in 2009 when Obama visited Turkey, he was effusive in describing to his audience how Turkey has “reformed the penal code and strengthened laws that govern the freedom of the press and assembly.”

It is easy for President Obama to overlook the fact that Turkey, under the rule of his friend Prime Minister Erdoğan, has climbed the charts to become the world’s top jailer of journalists and is conducting a brutal campaign against the Kurdish people, including children.  After all, who are we to criticize? As the apologist-in-chief told his Turkish audience, “The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history.”

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  • Chezwick

    Perfectly qualified for EU membership!

  • Jakareh

    The Kurds worked hand in hand with the Turks during the Armenian Genocide, which killed around 1.5 million innocent beings. They did it exchange for the land the victims had lived on and because they were "good" Muslims. While a truly exemplary human being would not take joy in seeing these two sets of savages at one another's throats, I cannot claim to be such a human being.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The reason why the Islamist-in-Chief hearts with Erdogan is because they are of like-mind. Both pretend to be 'moderating' forces, but are nothing of the sort. Far from it.

    In fact, ever since Erdogan took over the secular leaning nation, carefully built over many decades, it has become positioned to be as big a danger as the Iranian axis of evil, sans WMD's – for now. And this is exactly why so many journalists – and others who oppose the regime – are locked up, nowhere to be heard from.

    Alas, under the veneer of 'moderate' Islam Turkey is held up as an example. The only example it should be held up as is proof that they are the poster boys of – there is NO moderate Islam – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/21/repeat-until-

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel – wwww.adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • nina

      Perhaps Turkey was moderate, in the Middle Eastern context. But this was before the recent Erdogen Islamist takeover. There is nothing moderate in his proclamations as well as in his deeds.

  • Ahmet Arisan

    And you think this will not happen in the US. I bet Font Page Magazine will be one of the first one targeted because of "hate crimes" under Obama's "third term".Just watch and see.

    • Arlie

      NO third term. All Conservatives and Israel should form some kind of union or some organization to rise money to hire the best PR firm that will get the truth out about the 1400 years of Islam an their Slavery Trade. The true cause of slavery here in the US and how they have joined forces with Communist Russia to take over the USA. We are in big trouble. Just heard today that US banks have been warned of a major Russian cyber attack coming to US banks … this from Panetta. With all the corruption, even him, who to believe any more? All major US TV/News media must be under some kind of threat or they would probably be shut down or jailed by now, just as in Turkey. Freedom of speech is in big trouble here too.

  • Ghostwriter

    Under the Constitution,no Obama probably won't serve a third term. The problem is most of the media are on his side and will court him vigorously.

  • Penny Haulman

    Turkey sucks. Just like all the commie countries of earth. A Muslim state is communistic and worse. Their gods are the same. Bloody and dark. Ignorant to DNA.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "Apparently, none of this fazes President Obama, who regards Prime Minister Erdoğan as “an outstanding partner and an outstanding friend on a wide range of issues.” Does the wide range of issues on which Erdoğan and Obama see eye to eye include freedom of the press? Back in 2009 when Obama visited Turkey, he was effusive in describing to his audience how Turkey has “reformed the penal code and strengthened laws that govern the freedom of the press and assembly.”"

    Well, 0'Bama and Erdoğan are both Sunni Muslim leaders who promised to transform their governments, and they have. We forgot to mention that we wanted republican democracy and free market capitalism with strong inalienable constitutional rights. Oops. It's actually our fault for electing the traitor 0'Bama instead of a leader who would deal correctly with the likes of Erdoğan.

  • SoCalMike

    State Department parasites are among the most disgusting and nauseating.
    They need to be removed!

  • Johnconrad

    Admittedly, the thought of jail for Chris Matthews does bring a smile.

  • LindaRivera

    Please DON'T ever let warmonger Turkey into the EU! Wicked British and European leaders have already colonized Britain and Europe with many millions of Muslims causing great suffering. Ruthless rape jihad is waged across Europe, especially Britain where many thousands of non-Muslim British children have been gang raped by Muslim monsters.

    Allowing Turkey into the EU will flood Europe and Britain with many millions of Turkish Muslims. The jihad will be horrifying.

    Abu Baseer in London: “One of the goals of immigration is the revival of the duty of jihad and enforcement of power over the infidels. Immigration and jihad go together.

    “The whole of Europe will become Islamic. Like the army of the sultan we will conquer Rome.”
    − Former Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, June 2002


  • LindaRivera

    “One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.”
    – Houari (Mohamed) Boumedienne, President of Algeria, 1965 – 1978, in a 1974 speech at the UN

  • LindaRivera

    UK ruling elites ALLOW and are COMPLICIT in the cruel massive Muslim rape jihad against many thousands of Britain’s defenseless children. GOD HELP THE CHILDREN! End all Muslim immigration!

    South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council Are Complicit in Child-Rape
    …thousands of predominately Pakistani Muslim gang rapes of white English girls in the Rotherham area… http://britishfreedom.org/south-yorkshire-police-

    British Schoolgirl’s Testimony – Muslims Threaten Children With Violence & Rape Outside School Daily http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO1yN-eKjmo

    Muslim Gangs Drug & Rape Children All Over The UK – Britain Finally Starts To Wake Up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLzhI7rEYqE

    Join and support British Freedom, Britain's last great hope ! http://britishfreedom.org/

    • Gerald


      Keep up the good work awakening the public.

      But whey the hell did the stupid gullible public vote for the criminal Blair, who flooded the nation with these savages, instead of the BNP?

      They can still vote for BNP.

      Or amend the constitution to allow national referenda and ban immigration.

      The police must wake up and start a war on these muslims animals, or the people will start taking the law into their own hands and start killing Muslims themselves if the police will not.

  • Edward


    Thanks for the great article. And the libbarbarians want Turkey in the EU/NATO and give it weapons!!

    And give more visas to these Muslim savages.

    With so much 3rd world immigration, will the West Survive?