CHP leader: No free society without free media

CHP leader: No free society without free media

CHP leader: No free society without free media

AA Photo

Turkey’s main opposition leader has again demanded that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the government show respect for the freedom of the press, warning that no society can be free without a free media.

“In a country where the media is not free, society is not free either. If we are talking about democracy in a country, the media is the cornerstone of this,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said Dec. 15, while recalling a visit to Silivri Prison to express solidarity with recently imprisoned journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül.

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“This matter has nothing to do with being left-wing or right-wing, progressive or reactionary. The media needs to be free in all cases and be able to report freely. When we do that, we will strengthen the perception that ‘There is democracy in Turkey.’ In a country where this doesn’t exist, democracy doesn’t exist, and it means that democracy has been wounded,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a parliamentary group meeting of his party.

Kılıçdaroğlu said Erdoğan at the time threatened legal action against daily Cumhuriyet, the newspaper for which Dündar and Gül work, saying the pair would “pay a high price” for a story on alleged government arms smuggling.

“A so-called dictator says, ‘They will pay the price for this.’ You will pay the price for this, you. Nobody has the right to play with Turkey’s honor. Thirty-two of our journalists have been imprisoned,” he said.

A recently released report showed that Turkey’s rank in the latest Human Development Index (HDI) fell slightly from last year’s level.

Turkey ranked 72th out of 188 countries on the HDI with a value of 0.761, which puts it in the high human development category, according to the United Nations’ Human Development Report (HDR) 2015. In last year’s report, Turkey ranked 69th out of 187 countries, with a HDI value of 0.759.

“Who’s gone ahead of us? Lebanon, Costa Rica and Iran. Who brought Turkey into this situation?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked. “Who cast a shadow over Turkey’s international reputation?”