Press freedom continues to be under assault in Turkey. Most recently, Can Dundar, editor in chief of the leading opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, and Erdem Gul, the publication’s Ankara bureau chief, were sentenced to prison after being convicted of leaking state secrets.
State Department Spokesperson John Kirby expressed concern over the guilty verdicts issued by the Turkish court, calling on Turkish authorities “to support an independent and unfettered media, which is an essential element of any democratic, open society.”
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Independent Communication Network media released a report for the first quarter of 2016 stating that 174 members of the press were either fired or forced to quit while 28 journalists and 10 publishers were currently under arrest.
Turkey was also recently listed by U.S.-based think tank Freedom House as “not free” in their 2016 Freedom of the Press report; its score rose six points signifying a “deteriorating” trend.
"As Turkey’s friend and NATO ally," said Mr. Kirby, "we again urge Turkey to abide by its constitutional and OSCE commitments to fundamental principles of democracy, including due process, judicial independence, and freedom of expression. These principles are key elements of every healthy democracy and are enshrined in the Turkish constitution."