Erdoğan defends press freedom in Turkey, cites 16 journalists killed in Israel’s Gaza operation
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has defended Turkey’s press freedom record by pointing to the 16 journalists killed during Israel’s recent military operation against Gaza.
Erdoğan accused those who criticize Turkey over press freedom of not mentioning the killed journalists in Gaza during a speech in Ankara at the 2nd International Ombudsman Symposium on Oct. 21.
“Unfortunately, some politicians in Turkey and some international media outlets are harshly criticizing Turkey, saying there is no press freedom in the country,” he said. “But the 16 journalists who were killed by Israel during the Gaza attacks have been never brought up while Turkey was being criticized without limit over those who were convicted due to murder, terrorism and theft. I have never heard or read about it.”
The president added that there were many journalists who were subjected to peer pressure and fired in Israel during the Israeli military’s operation in Gaza.
Erdoğan also targeted the international media over the way it covered the police interventions into clashes that recently erupted in Turkey during protests against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He said the incidents resulted in a total of 42 citizens and police officers being killed, properties being damaged, and workplaces being plundered, and could not be discussed within the boundaries of freedom of expression.
“I am asking this to the international media and Western politicians who criticized us: Can they call this vandalism, plundering and violence that claimed the lives of people a democratic right?” he said, denouncing “double standards.”