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Germans calls for press freedom in Turkey

September 6, 2016

More than 100 journalists have been detained in Turkey since a failed coup attempt. Germany's press freedom organizations have called on Berlin to take a clear stance against the crackdown.

A protest rally in Ankara calling for the government to end its crackdown on press freedom
Turkish journalists cover their mouths with black ribbons before the trial of Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet and Erdem Gul, the paper's Ankara representative, outside the courthouse in Istanbul.Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/E.Gurel

Leading press freedom organizations in Germany launched a petition in August for the German government and European Commission to pressure Turkey on its abuse of freedom of expression after July's coup attempt.

"We urge Germany's federal government and the EU Commission to adopt a clear and resolute position on the current state of freedom of expression in Turkey," the organizations said in a statement attached to the petition.

"When freedom of expression comes under attack and is subject to massive restrictions in Turkey and other countries throughout the world, the German federal government and the EU Commission are obliged to re-evaluate their policies with regard to the countries in question," the statement added.

The petition, launched by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association and Reporters Without Borders' Germany office, has garnered nearly 75,000 signatures in two weeks.

The organizations said Germany is obliged to provide aid to affected journalists and publishers, including issuing "non-bureaucratic" emergency visas.

Deutsche Welle has experienced first-hand the abuse of press freedom after Turkish authorities confiscated video footage of an interview with Akif Kilic, Turkey's minister of youth and sports, that took place on September 5 for the talk show "Conflict Zone."

"This incident is proof of a blatant violation of press freedom in Turkey. What we are experiencing constitutes an act of the Turkish regime's coercion. It no longer follows the rule of law and has nothing to do with democracy," said DW Director General Peter Limbourg.

The Turkish government has detained more than 100 journalists and closed over 100 broadcasters, magazines and publishers since July 15, when a group in the armed forces launched a violent coup to overthrow the government.

Press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders has ranked Turkey 171 out of 179 countries, saying "President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has embarked on an offensive against Turkey's media."

Turkey confiscates DW's video interview with Minister


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