US Ambassador John Bass underlines importance of press freedom while visiting Hürriyet
Ambassador Bass visited daily Hürriyet's newsroom on Sept.16.U.S. Ambassador to Ankara John Bass underlined the importance of press freedom in democratic societies during a visit to daily Hürriyet headquarters in Istanbul on Sept. 16. The visit came after the Hürriyet’s headquarters was physically attacked by protesters twice in two days.
“Let me just say how pleased I am to be here to see the work you are doing, which from my perspective is among the most important things that happen in a democratic society. The profession you are part of is incredibly important to the vibrancy and quality of democracy in democratic societies,” Bass said during his visit.
“You are providing your fellow citizens with a range of information and opinions about what is happening in society. The policy choices and the challenges that are faced in society and from our perspective freedom of the press [and] freedom of expression are universal rights and essential components of healthy, vibrant, democratic societies and I am here today to make sure that all of you know how important those rights are in democratic societies and how strongly we believe that they should be freely exercised in democratic societies,” Bass said.
“Personally, I really appreciate what you do in helping me to understand what is happening in the [Turkish] society at a critical point in its history. It is a pleasure to be here and a privilege to be here with professional journalists,” he added.
Less than 48 hours after an attack by pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) protesters who retreated only after riot police arrived, the Hürriyet building was again attacked by another group on Sept. 8.
All suspects who were detained after the attacks targeting Hürriyet have since been released.
AKP MP Abrurrahim Boynukalın, who was filmed while giving a fiery speech in front of Hürriyet and while threatening journalists, was elected to the AKP’s steering committee at the party’s congress on Sept. 12.
On Sept. 15, Turkish prosecutors launched an investigation into the Doğan Media Group for “terrorist propaganda” following a widely derided front-page story in pro-government daily Güneş.
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district launched the probe on Sept. 15, according to state-run Anadolu Agency, after accepting the front page that the tabloid published five days earlier as a criminal denunciation.