President Erdoğan speaks during a ceremony in Istanbul. AA Photo
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
has accused the international media of waging a “psychological war” against Turkey, also slamming local media outlets for collaborating in this campaign.
“There is a psychological war against Turkey in the western media, based on complete lies,” Erdoğan said during a speech at Bezmialem University yesterday. “Each day, some international newspapers come up and conduct a perception operation. Turkey is not a country that will bow either to domestic treason networks or to perception operations abroad,” he added.
The president cited examples for what he called “lies” about a range of issues, including Ankara’s press freedom record, its stance on the war in Syria, as well as its religious education policies.
Erdoğan said an international journalism association recently came to visit him with “almost automatized orders in their hands,” in apparent reference to his Oct. 2 meeting with a joint delegation of the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The situation of imprisoned journalists in Turkey was one of the central issues investigated by the press freedom mission.
“I asked them which journalists they met and gathered their information from,” he said, adding that the visiting delegation refused to provide the names of their sources. “I know who told you these things, but only seven journalists are in prison, not 100 like you said,” he quoted himself as replying.
Erdoğan also reiterated the government’s position that all imprisoned journalists are in prison for crimes such as terrorism, murder and robbery, while ruling out their retrial.
“Whenever something happens to our citizens in your countries, your governments tell us that the judiciary is independent and they can’t do anything. Now I’m telling you the same: The judiciary is independent,” Erdoğan said, addressing the international media on the issue of jailed journalists.