Turkey not going in right direction in press freedom: US
ISTANBULThe United States reiterated its concern over the backsliding state of press freedom in Turkey on World Press Freedom Day on May 3, calling the trend in the country “worrisome.”
“We’ve talked about before that the trend we’re seeing in Turkey is not a good one. It’s not going in the right direction. I think I’ve described it as worrisome, and I think we still believe that. We don’t believe that restricting freedom of the press is healthy for any democracy, and yet, we still believe that Turkey can live up to all its democratic principles, the ones that are enshrined in its constitution, and we want to see them do that and we want to see Turkey succeed. We don’t believe the path to success, democratically speaking, is by harassment or – of the media or restricting their ability to do their job, and we’ve said that many, many times,” U.S. State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said while speaking at a daily press briefing.
Kirby also added that the U.S. would continue to issue the case with Turkish authorities “as clear and as concise” as they can.
“We’re going to continue to make that case as clear and as concise as we can privately and publicly with Turkish leaders. I don’t think you’re going to see that diminish. I don’t think you’ll see, as long as there’s issues of press freedoms there, you’ll see me shying away from it here from this particular podium either because it matters to us, not just because it matters to us – and the [U.S.] Secretary [of State John Kerry] talked about how much it does – but because Turkey matters to us, and we want to see, again, Turkey succeed,” he said, noting that the bilateral relations would be stronger with improved press freedom trend in the country.
According to a report by Turkey’s Independent Communication Network (BİA) Media for the first quarter of 2016, a total 174 members of the press were either fired or forced to quit while 28 journalists and 10 publishers were currently under arrest.
Turkey was listed as a “not free” country in U.S.-based think tank Freedom House’s 2016 report on press freedom, with its score going up six points and thus signifying a “deteriorating” trend.