After the attempted coup d’état on July 15, journalism in Turkey turned from a dangerous career into a forbidden one.
One right after another, employees of Turkish mass media outlets ended up in prison. According to the latest data, the number of arrested journalists is higher than 140. After the 15th of July, more than 100 news outlets in Turkey were shut down as a result of the implemented State of Emergency.
Journalists were charged with maintaining contacts with the Turkish theologian, Fethullah Gulen, who, according to the president of the country, Receb Tayyip Erdogan, was the organizer of the attempted military coup.
Three Turkish journalists told “Novaya Gazyeta” their impressions of the situation in the country. They are not afraid to use their own names, because they work in international media companies or have already left the country to work elsewhere.
” Freedom of Expression and the Press have always been in an unfortunate situation in Turkey. While I was growing up, I always heard the word ‘thought-crime’ from adults. First the authorities were fighting against the Kurdish politicians. But after the coup, they started fighting against the journalists and the writers who did not condemn the work and movement of Fethullah Gulen. It was unimportant whether they had the smallest relation to the coup itself. They were deemed “accomplices of terrorists.”
Today in Turkey its rather difficult to organize any form of protest or public complaint which would not end up in arrests or tear gas. I remember well the demonstrations of 2013 in Gezi Park. We no longer live in that country. This is a different Turkey, and here, street protests are impossible.
But I would say that the situation with individuals that dare to think differently is better here than in Russia. Support for the current Turkish regime is still 50 / 50 in society. And protest against Erdogan, despite the large number of people who support him, is much stronger than it is in Russia. ”
” I have been involved in journalism for the past 20 years. I was 3 years old when the 1971 coup took place and 12 when it was repeated in 1980. I got the best of both times. In Turkey, journalists were killed for their work, as was your Anna Politovskaya.
A very close friend of our family, the well – known journalist Ugur Mumju, was killed in 1993. My good friend, an Armenian, Hrant Dink, was killed in 2007. But what is happening these days to journalists is much worse than what was happening in those days.
There was a period recently when we all thought that, at last, we are becoming a truly democratic society. And what is happening now. . . We are deeply disappointed when we see what is happening in the country. Life for independent journalists here is completely without perspective. An independent and honest journalist in Turkey will never have it easy.
More than 2500 journalists have lost their jobs after the attempted coup. The authorities don’t want journalists to produce any investigative reporting that could be read by easily – influenced people.
I moved to London. I was lucky: I had the opportunity to leave, and I had the means to do so as well. Our society is discouraged, and everyone is afraid. My colleague Asli Aydintasbas wrote in her article in the Washington Post: “One thing that happens to people that live in the conditions of authoritarian systems is the numbing of their senses. ”
I have been working in journalism since 1993. Then, the armed forces placed pressure on the free press. The Kurdish journalists had it the hardest –– many of them were killed. But I have never even seen or heard of anything like what is currently happening today in Turkey.
I was 10 years old when there was the most ferocious military coup d’etat, in 1980. There was no freedom of expression, no freedom of the press, and many journalists were arrested along with other political activists. And those who ended up in prison during those times said: “It hadn’t been as bad since then. . . because this has all been regulated by the law. Yes, it’s a state of emergency. . . But this is governed by the law!”
The linguist and writer, Nekmi Alpey, who was in jail then and is now in jail again, says that after the 90s there was a commercial explosion, but now…it’s all repeating itself.
The peak of the murders of journalists took place in the 90s. But if you want to talk about the oppression of people in our profession, then of course one has to speak about 2016.
The Turkish government doesn’t want independent mass media to have the slightest influence on society at large. They want them to obey Erdogan’s every word, and to applaud his every action. Which brings up the question: and what about the right of people to know the truth? What is the duty of the journalist in our time?