Freedom of media in Turkey - At rock bottom?

3 December 2015

Recent years have seen the systematic erosion of media freedom in Turkey. While the country has never had complete media freedom, the situation today has reached a point that is unprecedented and continues to worsen on an almost daily basis. Journalists who criticise the President, members of the government, or, in some cases, issues related to security are being arrested and charged in increasing numbers. There are now 31 journalists in jail. This was recently witnessed with the arrest of Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief Can Dündar and Head of the newspaper’s Ankara office, Erdem Gül on spying and terrorism charges, for the publication of an investigation into the delivery of arms to Syria from Turkey. As well as the charging of journalists, companies have been seized by the Turkish authorities such as Koza Ipek Holding which has which has interests in the media and other sectors. Despite all of this, the issue seems to have become somewhat lost on the international agenda, with the current refugee crisis and the recent shooting down of the Russian plane by Turkey occupying considerable political and media attention.

The European Policy Centre (EPC) and TUSKON organised this Policy Dialogue in order to understand more about the deteriorating situation in Turkey, what is behind it and why it is growing at such a pace. The Dialogue, chaired by Amanda Paul, Senior Policy Analyst, EPC,included a panel of experts from Turkey and the EU who presented their own personal experiences of the situation and considered how the international community can better respond.