It’s time to say goodbye to freedom of the press in Turkey. The increasingly authoritarian government led by president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was already one of the leading jailers of journalists worldwide, but they’ve just stepped it up a notch:
— CNN (@CNN) October 31, 2016
— Aykan Erdemir (@aykan_erdemir) October 31, 2016
Cumhuriyet is the leading secular daily in Turkey. The journalists and executives of the newspaper are critics of the Islamist Erdogan regime, which is undoubtedly what set off these razzias.
Those detained are accused of working with two terrorist organizations: the Kurdish PKK and the organization led by Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who resides in Pennsylvania and is accused of masterminding the failed coup that took place on July 15.
Turkish Prosecutor’s Office: Cumhuriyet Newspaper executives accused of committing crimes in name of PKK and Gulenist terror organization pic.twitter.com/yLhu39oQRr
— CNN Türk ENG (@CNNTURK_ENG) October 31, 2016
As Turkish intellectual and former member of Parliament Aykan Erdemir rightfully puts it on Twitter, this accusation is “ridiculous, ludicrous, farcical, insane, asinine…” There is absolutely no way in which Cumhuriyet has worked with any terrorist organizations, let alone with the mythical FETO group of Gülen. The paper’s name is translated as “The Republic,” which says it all: it’s a newspaper that celebrates and shares the ideas of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
This marks the real end of freedom of the press and freedom of speech in Turkey. These natural rights were under pressure for a long time, but they’ve truly been abolished now. This is just the latest power grab by the president and his henchmen.