Association says Erdoğan calling jailed journalists in Turkey ‘terrorists’ unfortunate
ISTANBULThe head of the Turkish Association of Journalists (TGC) has stated that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks describing jailed journalists in the country as “terrorists” were unacceptable and amounted to great injustice.
“The ones who have been sentenced and who have been imprisoned are not journalists. Most of them are terrorists. Many have been involved in burglaries and some have been caught red-handed as they were trying to empty ATM machines,” Erdoğan said, speaking at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York on Sept. 20.
“Everyone else seems to think they’re journalists just because they say so,” he said.
In a statement issued after the president’s remarks, TGC head Turgay Olcayto noted that there were currently 175 journalists in jail in Turkey and the profession had always been the most prosecuted under coups and state of emergencies throughout the country’s history.
“It is impossible to comprehend on what grounds Erdoğan’s characterization of journalists as terrorists is based on. It is a great injustice to press laborers who have dedicated their lives to journalism for years to enlighten the public without definitive adjudication,” Olcayto stated.
“Mr. President should first find the answer to why Turkey is shown among unfree countries in terms of press freedom in the world. We are persistently saying that journalism is not a crime and our colleagues are not terrorists. Our colleagues in prison only wrote, draw and spoke to protect the public’s right to get information,” he added.