Turkey’s president has become incensed at the temerity of organizations who deign to compile reports on rights violations. He’s incensed because we’re publicizing the rights violations and thefts of labor that he is attempting to make routine. He’s incensed because we’re shining a spotlight on the current state of fascism in the country.
Even if there was a desire to create the impression of a “softening” following the release of arrested journalists Can Dündar, Erdem Gül, Beritan Canözer and Rojda Oğuz, their places in prison were quickly filled with colleagues. Most recently, the number of arrested journalists in Turkey rose to 31 on 14 April with the arrest of Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Meltem Oktay.
The extraordinary authorities extended to the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) have become the most prominent tool of censorship. The number of TİB decisions to block access to websites over the past year has now equaled the same total for the previous nine years. Kurdish and oppositional news sites lead the way among the 106,212 sites that are now banned. DİHA has now been closed 35 times, while access to Sputnik News Agency, which publishes in 31 languages, has also been completely prohibited.
Media outlets that continue to publish and broadcast despite the government’s economic pressures are subjected to fines and other forms of oppression. After imc TV was removed from Türksat’s lineup with an arbitrary decision, RTÜK elected to throw the book at Özgür Gün Tv, Azadi TV, Jiyan Tv and Van TV for their coverage of news from the areas of conflict in Southeast Anatolia.
At the same time, a number of journalists have seen their employment terminated after trustees seized control of their media organizations.
Day by day, we will continue to record all instances of pressure targeting the media sector and freedom and thought and expression. Societies survive thanks to their shared memory; we will continue to keep our diary of events and make life uncomfortable for the powers that be to ensure that no one escapes responsibility for their deeds and that citizens are not duped by that most euphemistic of terms, “official history.”