Turkey has an embarrassing lead of detained journalists within Europe. As listed by a recent international report of 2018, Turkey is seen as the leader of oppressing the press.
According to the annual report of the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists, 110 of the 130 journalists who were detained in the CoE’s member countries last year were imprisoned in Turkey. This means that almost 85 per cent of journalists put behind bars across Europe is in Turkish jails.
The platform claims that Ankara has not yet responded to any of the 92 active alerts from last year (up to December 31, 2018), or the 14 new alerts this year, 2019.
Turkey is not the only country that seems to ignore the alerts, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Italy, and the Russian Federation also leave the Council of Europe’s alerts unanswered.
According to the report, over 200 journalists have been arrested or detained in Turkey since the aborted coup in 2016. The arrests of media representatives intensified particularly in the southeast of the country throughout 2018.
Some cases of journalists being judged by Turkey were specifically mentioned in the report include Deniz Yucel, Sahin Alpay, Nazli Ilicak, Mehmet Altan and Ahmet Altan. These journalists’ human rights violation appeals to the European Human Rights Court were also detailed in the report.
The greater part of journalists becoming the target of the political crackdown in Turkey are charged with terrorism-related incidents, the report says. However, many international institutions and organisations, including the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, denounce Turkey’s definition of terror offences on dissident citizens.
The new report criticises Turkish judgments, claiming that mere shreds of evidence used against journalists are seen as valid, even those obtained through torture, threat, and solitary confinement. The platform argues that press freedom is at the edge of collapse with increasing pressure on journalists in Europe too. More and more journos are facing obstruction, hostility and violence,
With the rule of right-wing government, Italy has become the country with the sharpest increase in the number of media freedom violations last year.
Partners of the platform for the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists include 12 institutions, including the European Federation of Journalists, Reporters without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists and PEN International.