Scary predictions for Turkey: ‘Erdoğan’s House of Cards’

Here is an excerpt from a column by Abdullah Bozkurt, Ankara Bureau Chief of Today’s Zaman:

The prime minister’s constant bashing of the press with slanderous accusations that national media professionals are working on behalf of global imperialist powers, when in fact they have just been trying to do their best under the circumstances to provide coverage on important issues such as the corruption investigation, has now become a major concern for us. A demonization campaign in the pro-government media and social media by Erdoğan’s trolls amounts to intimidation and open harassment. Even writing in an English-language daily or tweeting in English is enough for these people to conclude that you are working for foreign powers. If you chat with a foreign diplomat in Ankara over lunch, that will itself be enough for some of these people to label you a “traitor” who is selling the country’s deepest secrets. Unfortunately, Erdoğan’s harsh rhetoric has fuelled such paranoia in Turkish society that each and every critic of the government must be part of a clandestine campaign to undermine the Turkish state. Based on extremely dubious evidence, it would not be any surprise to see a case involving media professionals who have only exercised their right to freedom of speech.’

To read full article, go here.

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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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