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Censorship in Turkey: When the censor is censored

2019-07-27T06:43:22.874Z

Now it meets the former prime minister.



Read the Turkish original here. The text has been edited editorially for the German version.

The 24th of July has been celebrated for 111 years in Turkey as the anniversary of the abolition of censorship. On that date, the Constitution and Parliament were established in 1908, which restricted the authority of the Ottoman sultan. Unfortunately, the Turkish press commits this special day in an atmosphere, as a president with sultan's powers has curtailed Parliament's authority and suspended the constitution.

Censorship is officially not, self-censorship, however, massive. The sharply controlled media must pay close attention to what they are writing. An example:

The fact that Merkel commemorated the Hitler assassin on July 20 brought only a few websites short in Turkey, because most were afraid that these days, as the attempted coup against Erdoğan on 15 July 2016 would be condemned, they would create false associations. The Turkish prisons are full of journalists arrested as a result of false associations. Nevertheless, the Turkish government continues to dispute that journalists are behind bars.

During her visit to Turkey in 2016 Merkel held a press conference with her Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoğlu. When the world correspondent Deniz Yücel asked him about the prisons in the prisons, Davutoğlu replied: "Not a single journalist in Turkish prisons is jailed for journalistic activity."

I was detained solely on account of my journalistic work and was watching this lie on television in the cell. But then the following happened:

Three months after his words in February 2016, Prime Minister Davutoğlu had to go for Erdoğan's pressure. For a long time he lingered silently in his corner. Then, as the AKP government staggered, he hoisted the flag against Erdoğan and campaigned for the founding of a new party. Erdoğan accused him of betrayal and "splitting the community of believers". That was a threat to him and the message to the media: do not let him speak! The troll army of the government blew the attack. Davutoğlu, however, gave a full interview to three journalists last week for Sputnik Turkey . "Unfortunately, we are currently experiencing a phase of massive self-censorship," he regretted. "For example, I approached TV stations before the constitutional referendum to express my concerns, and nobody wanted to get involved."

This is said by an ex-prime minister, one of the architects of pressure on the press, who was watching when we were arrested. Now he himself is a victim of the repressive atmosphere he has created and complains about self-censorship.

You can imagine how it went on: in times of best relations between Erdoğan and Putin, the Sputnik administration dismissed the journalists who had conducted the interview that could possibly harm Erdoğan the next day.

Also this year we celebrate the abolition of censorship with the desire that the censorship is abolished. That this wish is now joined by a former Prime Minister who is partly responsible for the censorship, we note with mild astonishment and as a lesson.

From the Turkish by Sabine Adatepe

Source: zeit

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