Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
has slammed a recent New York Times editorial as “shameless,” calling on the U.S. daily to “know its place.”
“Who are you? Can you write such a thing [writing a critical editorial] against the U.S. administration? If you do, [the administration] would immediately do what is necessary,” Erdoğan said during a panel organized by a think-tank in Istanbul on May 25.
“A certain media group in Turkey tries to sustain its tutelage by taking support from certain places. The new constitution and switching to a presidential system will eternally seal the path of these coup-makers,” he added, describing the editorial as “meddling in Turkey’s affairs.”
In its editorial on May 22
, the New York Times noted that Erdoğan had a long history of intimidating and co-opting the Turkish media, but new alarms were set off this week when criminal complaints were filed against the editors of daily Hürriyet over a headline on its website.
“Mr. Erdoğan appears increasingly hostile to truth-telling. The United States and Turkey’s other NATO
allies should be urging him to turn away from this destructive path,” the editorial read.
Hürriyet addressed Erdoğan to defend its independent line in an editorial on May 19. “If you mean that we are afraid of defending our right to freedom of the press, free speech and freedom to criticize, which are all guaranteed by the constitution, then you should know that we will defend these freedoms with no fear,” the daily said.
On May 22, members of the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI)’s Executive Board called on Erdoğan and his supporters in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to “immediately halt a disingenuous campaign of vilification against the Doğan Media Group and its daily newspaper Hürriyet.”
This is not the first time that Erdoğan has targeted the New York Times. He had also slammed the U.S. daily for a September 2014 story claiming that Turkey is one of the biggest sources of recruits for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).