(more) shameful examples emerge of press censorship in Turkey

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by Orhan Kemal Cengiz

In February Milliyet, daily national, printed an interview with Abdullah Ocalan. PM Erdogan openly criticised the paper for doing so. As a resul the paper censored an article by Hasan Cemal, their chief columnist who then resigned and now writes for t24, an online paper run by a handful of leflist and liberal intellectuals.

Here are excerpts from his July 3 article:

“It is a bleak time for journalists who are skilled and dedicated to their profession and who have conscience and dignity. I would even say that things are now going berserk.”

“Each and every day, Prime Minister Erdogan tightens the screw further. He is seeking to create a media that fully submits to him and obeys him like a slave.”

“He doesn’t want to hear any dissenting voice.”

“He wants to have a ‘Rockefeller’ media that would never annoy him and be only the voice of its owner.”

“He fails to see that this is impossible in our times, in a society so mature and diverse, and in a country where only democracy could be the social glue. Sadly, he fails to realize — despite the message of the Gezi Park resistance — that putting Turkey into a screw press will only make it explode.”

“The problem is grave. But unfortunately, it is being ignored. The mechanism of censorship and self-censorship is at work — big time.”

“Endless guidance is coming from government quarters about how print and television journalism should be, what commentaries should be avoided and what the coverage should contain.”

“Government quarters in Ankara are being asked about who should be appointed as a manager and where, or who should write a column in which newspaper.”

“I repeat: None of this is new. But those unpleasant and sad examples of journalism are constantly growing.”


One of the most striking of the unpleasant incidents that Cemal refers to concerns Yavuz Baydar, the ombudsman of Sabah, one of Turkey’s largest newspapers (and a contributing writer to Al-Monitor).

Baydar took a critical stance on his paper’s coverage of the Gezi protests. Like many pro-government papers, Sabah’s coverage depicted the protests as an anti-government conspiracy.


Sabah refused to print Baydar’s article but published a reader’s letter criticising Baydar.

One thought on “(more) shameful examples emerge of press censorship in Turkey

  1. Pingback: Review: Censorship – The Knot That Binds Power and Knowledge | Thoughtspad

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