Euro Parliament head slams arrest of scribes in Turkey

Euro Parliament head slams arrest of scribes in Turkey

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Euro Parliament head slams arrest of scribes in Turkey

European Parliament President Buzek walks into the Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s Mausoleum in Ankara on Nov 25, 2011. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The head of European Parliament strongly criticized the “unusually high number of journalists imprisoned and arrested in Turkey,” rejecting the reasoning behind the arrests that the “[journalists] were active against the government.”

“The argument that journalists are active against the government is unacceptable. It is typical for journalists to write and question the government. That should not be surprising,” European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek told reporters in a press conference Nov. 25 after his discussions in Ankara.

Buzek said he and the EU body he represented were concerned with the current state of affairs in Turkey regarding freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

“I understand that your authorities say it is an issue of antiterrorism and not an attempt to stifle freedom of expression issue. But we disagree,” Buzek said.

He stressed the need for amendments in Turkish anti-terror laws and media laws. Buzek also suggested training judges and prosecutors to handle these cases properly. He said these problems could be resolved with a new constitution.

Asked if there were similar cases in EU countries in which “journalists conspire against the government,” Buzek said there could be journalists being investigated under those pretenses, which happens from time to time.

“But the unusually high number of journalists that are arrested and imprisoned in Turkey is very alarming,” he said.