Almost 800 journalists were fired in Turkey last year, while 156 were detained and nearly 500 legal actions were taken against journalists by judicial authorities, according to a senior member of the country’s main opposition party.
In 2015, 774 journalists were fired, 484 legal actions were taken by judicial authorities, 200 press members and seven media companies were subjected to an investigation, 156 journalists were detained, court cases were opened against 238 journalists and at least 32 journalists were currently under arrest, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu said on Jan. 11.
Congratulating reporters on the occasion of Working Journalists’ Day, which was marked on Jan. 10, Tanrıkulu recalled a message released by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
on the same occasion.
“Media should be free; to the extent those working in the press, journalists and reporters are free, the democracy of the country will be stronger to the same extent,” Erdoğan said in his message.
Speaking at a press conference on Jan. 11, Tanrıkulu said Erdoğan’s message should be embraced by everybody, however adding the current picture in Turkey resembled one in which democracy was “bankrupt.”
Press freedom is a rising concern in Turkey, which ranked 149 out of 180 on the 2015 World Press Freedom Index prepared by Reporters Without Borders. Turkey was also categorized as “not free” in Freedom House’s annual Freedom of the Press report.