(By an author who wishes to remain anonymous, wanting to travel to Turkey one day. Based on an interview with an American student that lived in Turkey.)
Freedom of speech in Turkey is in peril. The country is 155th out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index. Authorities and top-level politicians do not want their actions to be seen. Journalists are harassed, prosecuted, intimidated, and censored by the government on a daily basis.
All of the newspapers in Turkey are controlled by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. If they dare to publish something critical of the government, they are shut down.
Journalists in the Cümhuriyet newspaper tried to report on Turkish weapons deliveries to ISIS. The media outlet had obtained video footage showing a delivery truck loaded with weaponry. Politicians in power, however, took severe measures to silence the press. The whole publishing house was shut down, with many journalists arrested. Still being tried, they could face life imprisonments.
When Istanbul Gezi Park protests erupted, CNN Turkey aired a documentary on penguins, instead of covering the important local developments.
After the Parisian Charlie Hebdo attack, a well-known Turkish publication wanted to print copies of Mohammed caricatures. The whole newsroom was surrounded by the police, and the copies were instantly destroyed. President Erdogan said that the pictures had violated the freedom of religious belief in Turkey.
In the western part of the country, more affluent and educated citizens can get more information from social media and foreign newspapers. In poverty-stricken areas, such as the southeast, though, people do not have access to the internet. President Erdogan has controlled education in Turkey for the past fifteen years. Mandatory English and French classes have been replaced with Ottoman Turkish instruction, so that civilians could not get information from the foreign press. There is no way that Turkish people from rural southeastern regions can obtain truthful information about their own country.
Outside of Istanbul, there is a special prison intended solely for political prisoners, including journalists.
Text vznikl v rámci kurzu Angličtina pro žurnalisty pod vedením Mgr. Aleny Proškové.
Foto: AFP Photo – Ozan Kose