Turkey media raids an assault on basic rights and democracy, EU must respond firmly
In a debate requested by the GUE/NGL group on recent attacks on media freedom in Turkey, Left MEPs have denounced the Turkish authorities' repression and the recent arrest of 32 journalists.
French MEP Patrick Le Hyaric said what happened last Sunday in Turkey “was a meticulously prepared raid against independent journalists”.
“In thirteen cities, journalists, editors and media workers including the president of a TV channel were rounded up and thrown in jail. Their only crime was to investigate the regime's policies and to tell the truth about corruption. And now, according to reports, 150 journalists have been threatened with arrest by the end of this month.”
“The European authorities must be extremely firm in the face of these serious violations of press freedom. There is no democracy without it. The European Union must stop placing its trade or foreign policy above fundamental rights.”
“There is something rotten in the state of turkey,” said Cypriot MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou referring to a range of human rights and international law violations by Turkey from the events of Gezi park to the treatment of the Kurds, from Cyprus to the Turkish government's attitude towards women.
“We in Cyprus want a democratic neighbour that respects its neighbours and international law. Turkish leaders need a tough message from the EU, if not they will just continue to play us,” he said calling for frankness on the country's accession prospects.
Italian MEP Curzio Maltese said Turkey was first in the world when it comes to jailing journalists. “Turkey comes 154th out of 180 in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom ranking and now seems to be trying to climb to the very bottom. Following the arrests of thirty journalists from the two major media outlets (the daily Zaman and Samanyolu television), it seems that having a different opinion to Mr Erdogan or publishing an article on government corruption are considered acts of terrorism. The EU must respond appropriately to the cynical and intransigent attitude of the Turkish government.”
The GUE/NGL group is made up of 52 MEPs from across Europe working for peace, solidarity, social justice, equality, democracy and human rights in Europe and beyond. It is the only gender balanced group in the European Parliament.
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