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‘Press Freedom’ in Turkey: 800 journalists fired and nearly 160 arrested in 2015

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'Press Freedom' in Turkey: 800 journalists fired and nearly 160 arrested in 2015

Turkish journalists hold a banner reading “Journalism is not a crime” during a demonstration in the capital Ankara, January 10, 2016.

Originally appeared at PressTV

Some 800 Turkish journalists were fired and nearly 160 others arrested last year, a senior member of the country’s main opposition party says. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy head, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, said on Monday that last year 774 Turkish journalists were sacked, 156 others were detained, and court cases were opened against 238 member of the press.

Recalling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Sunday message on respect for press freedom, Tanrıkulu said the message should be embraced by everybody, adding, however, that the current situation in Turkey resembles one in which democracy is “bankrupt.” There has been growing concern about deteriorating press freedom in Turkey and, in particular, over the number of journalists facing legal proceedings on accusations of insulting or criticizing top officials.

Many media reports in recent months have revealed Ankara’s role in providing support to the terror groups active in Syria. In June last year, center-left Turkish daily Cumhuriyet released a video, implicating the country’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in assisting the Daesh Takfiri terrorists operating against the Syrian government.

Irked by the revelations, the Turkish president threatened that Can Dundar, the daily’s editor-in-chief, would “pay a heavy price” for publishing the video. Also in June 2015, Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman revealed that Ankara allows Daesh terrorists to freely walk on the streets of the Akcakale border district in the Turkish province of Şanlıurfa.

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