Wednesday, June 03, 2015

No press freedom in Turkey

In the USA, if you blow the whistle on government lies and wrongdoing, they prosecute you as a spy. Sadly, it appears to be the same in Turkey:

Lawyers for the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have accused a newspaper editor of espionage and want him jailed for life, the paper said, the latest salvo in a bitter dispute that has alarmed defenders of media freedom in Turkey.

In the countdown to a parliamentary election on 7 June, the Cumhuriyet newspaper infuriated Erdoğan by publishing video footage it said showed the MIT state intelligence agency helping to send weapons to Syria.

In an article posted on its website, Cumhuriyet – long critical of Erdoğan and of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) – said its editor, Can Dündar, was now facing charges that included “crimes against the government” and “providing information concerning national security” over the video footage.


The witness testimony contradicts Turkey’s denials that it sent arms to Syrian rebels and, by extension, contributed to the rise of Islamic State, now a major concern for the Nato member.

The prosecution is effectively an admission of guilt from the government, in that the newspaper can only have "compromised national security" if the video is accurate and the allegations are true. But then, surely its not in the public interest to prosecute the media for revealing that the government was lying to the people? Or do Turkish politicians believe they should be able to lie about what they are doing and get away with it?