UN Rapporteur: We can’t talk of an independent media in Turkey
UN Freedom of Thought and Expression Special Rapporteur Kaye stated that it is no longer possible to speak of an independent media in Turkey and that the State of Emergency has been turned into a tool of oppression against the opposition.
Worldwide human rights violations discussions continue in the 35th United Nations Human Rights Sessions in Geneva. In parallel with the sessions, PEN International, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Article held a panel discussion in the UN to draw attention to the violations of the freedoms of press and expression in Turkey.
Speakers in the panel discussion were UN Freedom of Thought and Expression Special Rapporteur David Kaye, PEN Executive Board Member Burhan Sönmez and arrested journalist Turhan Günay’s daughter Elif Günay.
KAYE: STATE OF EMERGENCY TURNED INTO A TOOL FOR OPPRESSION
UN Rapporteur David Kaye stated that the State of Emergency has been turned into a grand tool of oppression in Turkey, and added: “The price of being a journalist or a writer in Turkey may be very high.” Kaye also spoke of the pressure on the Kurdish press and the numerous arrests of Kurdish journalists.
“WE CAN’T SPEAK OF AN INDEPENDENT MEDIA IN TURKEY”
Kaye stated that large scale attacks have been carried out against freedom of thought and expression under the guise of “anti-terror efforts” and that the opposition has faced great pressure with the statutory decrees issued in line with the State of Emergency.
Kaye stressed that it is impossible to speak of a truly independent media in Turkey and added: “It’s like there is a black list and people are arrested according to it. It would be a mistake to only expect something to be done about this from the government. At this point, we need to act more universally.”
SÖNMEZ: ALL THE OPPOSITION IS IN PRISON
PEN International Executive Board Member Burhan Sönmez mentioned the arrest of CHP MP Enis Berberoğlu and the detention of actor Barış Atay and continued. Sönmez stated that all who oppose the government are facing great pressure and that hundreds of journalists are imprisoned with allegations of terrorism, ignoring journalism as a profession. “Kurds, socialist, all who oppose the government are in prison,” said Sönmez and pointed out the dubious outcome of the April 16 referendum.
Elif Günay, daughter of arrested Cumhuriyet writer Turhan Günay, stressed the amount of pressure on the newspaper and stated that journalists, including her father, have been arrested with terror charges without a shred of evidence.