Erdogan strips media freedoms
Turkey’s response to Tuesday's Istanbul attack is to enforce blanket media bans
Yesterday’s attack in Istanbul by a suspected Syrian bomber is an indication of the wavering tensions Turkey has with its neighbours. The media blackout on the coverage surrounding the attack is another reminder of Turkey’s continuing threat on press freedoms. The increasing control by Recep Erdogan’s administration has led to a deterioration in the last five years as government; introduced new laws to enforce further censorship over news websites and news media.
Turkey is ranked 149 out of 180 on the press freedom index. The number of journalists killed in relation to the 2015 barometer is 63 journalists and 6 media assistants, alongside 19 citizen journalists. This paints a very divisive picture, the government is orchestrating a strict clampdown and ultimately conveying a message for zero respect on press freedoms.
The recent incarceration of the VICE news journalist Mohammed Rasool who was imprisoned for four months on terrorism charges presents a charged media landscape in Turkey that is creating a precarious environment when reporting on state corruption and national security issues. The restrictions are burgeoning due to the government's financial stronghold on media companies. Therefore, using this kind of leverage influences coverage on politically sensitive issues, and those seeking to reference corruption on state television have faced the heavy hand of the law, notably media operator Koza-Ipek which was raided by officers in order to silence dissident voices.
A black day for our democracy, for our freedom and for Turkey- Koza Ipek
Turkey as a country has many questions to answer in order to introduce the much-needed stability in the region. The answer to the Kurdish question the refugee crisis and the Islamic insurgency in Syria will only fuel the media crackdown as these destabilizers are growing concerns for those governing. The level of terrorism experienced by Turkey is becoming a daily occurrence, but as previously Turkey was a funder of state sponsored terrorism it is now facing blowback, consequently having a profound effect on the declining economy.
So is there hope over the Bosphorus or is the fierce hand of the regime presenting a firm stance and not adhering to the calls for a balanced media. The recent election win did not represent a majority win in parliament, and there is a shift to increasing censorship due to focusing on a new enemy the Gulen movement. The American based democracy NGO Freedom House has stated that Turkish press has not been free since 2013, the Turkish parliament has been using very tough methods and exacerbating ethnic tensions in order to ensure the silence is met by its citizens.
Currently, Turkey has issued a “limited media ban” which was signed by deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus. Turkey is following in the footsteps of Syria and Pakistan who have used their authoritarian grip to increase fear and panic to their citizens.