Homeland Security

Wall Street Journal Runs Editorial from Erdogan—World's Biggest Jailer of Journalists

Wall Street Journal Runs Editorial from Erdogan—World's Biggest Jailer of Journalists
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meets with media in Ankara on March 22, 2017. (Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Press Service, Pool Photo via AP)

One-third of all journalists jailed worldwide sit in the prisons of Turkey’s Islamist autocrat, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

So it’s startling that the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has opened up its opinion page to him today.

Remarkably, this comes after Turkey imprisoned WSJ reporter Dion Nissenbaum for two and a half days in December 2016, refusing to allow him to contact his colleagues or his family and later deporting him.

Then in October 2017, the Turkish regime convicted WSJ reporter Ayla Albayrak in absentia on charges of publishing “terrorist propaganda.”

And just today the Erdogan regime arrested another Western journalist:

Today’s Erdogan op-ed follows another New York Times op-ed by the Turkish dictator just a month ago — published on the same day the NYT editorial board questioned whether Turkey was still an American ally:

The bizarre love affair of the American corporate media continues as 169 journalists sit in Turkish prisons:

This has earned Turkey the title of the world’s largest jailer of journalists:

But Erdogan has not been content with just jailing journalists.

Since the so-called “coup” attempt in July 2016, Erdogan associates have taken over many of Turkey’s newspapers.

Just last week one of the few remaining independent newspapers, Cumhuriyet, had a new board installed, which promptly sacked the editor-in-chief and prompted the resignations of more than a dozen of its reporters.

And Erdogan doesn’t hesitate to show his contempt for media criticism, such as comments he made just two weeks ago:

When called out by the international media for jailing journalists, he’s defended his actions by saying that they’re not journalists but terrorists:

Not content to limit his attacks on the media to just Turkey, Erdogan’s regime has used a number of avenues to attack journalists abroad.

Just a few days ago Gissur Simonarson was notified by Twitter that one of his tweets reporting on the attacks by Turkish troops operating inside Syria had been proscribed by Turkish courts:

Turkish hackers have also targeted American media personalities, in some cases hijacking their Twitter accounts:

It was reported this past January that social media death threats targeting Belgian journalists had come from IP addresses assigned to the Turkish embassy in Brussels.

What explains the ongoing love affair between the American media and dictators around the world? What would compel a media outlet to give space or airtime to a brutal dictator who holds one-third of all journalists jailed worldwide in his prisons?

That’s a good question for the editors at the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.