Friday, December 23, 2011

Foreign Policy:

Turkey's War on Journalists

December 22, 2011

Alia Malek writes about the growing lack of tolerance against dissent and its toll on journalists. In this long article, Malek addresses larger issues with the state of journalists in Turkey as well as locating Turkey in the political framework of the Middle East--the dynamics with Syria, United States, and so on.

"ISTANBUL —When the terrorism trial of jailed Turkish journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener began in Istanbul on Nov. 22, only a handful of their colleagues -- far fewer than expected -- gathered in protest outside the courthouse that will decide their fate."


"Sik and Sener have been detained since March, on charges that seemed at first too ludicrous to stand. They are accused of being members of Ergenekon, a shadowy, ultranationalist group that allegedly has been trying to foment a coup against the Turkish government - despite the fact that Sik is known in Turkey for having written the definitive exposé on the group.

Sik's supporters believe he ran afoul of the Turkish justice system when he began to investigate the influence of the Fethullah Gulen movement, a powerful Islamist network that is one of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's most important pillars of support. Sener's research into the murder of the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink -- which asserted that the police and the state were involved in his killing -- touched on another of Turkey's taboo subjects.

Sik and Sener's detention are hardly an anomaly in today's Turkey. Currently, 76 Turkish journalists are in jail, more than in any other country. In a Dec. 20, roundup, several more journalists were among those newly detained when the Turkish government jailed roughly 40 people, accusing them of links to Kurdish militants.

In addition to journalists, Erdogan's government has jailed lawyers, academics, and students, also ostensibly on terrorism-related charges that critics counter are transparent attempts to stifle freedom of expression and dissent."

To read the rest of this comprehensive article, please see the link below: