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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, August 20, 2018


EU lawmakers urge Turkey to respect press freedom

European External Action Service

Share on Facebook October 29, 2016, Reporter : BNN/PanArmenian, Reader : 595


PanARMENIAN.Net - The European Union's tricky relationship with Turkey developed another wrinkle on Thursday, October 27 as EU lawmakers called on Ankara to release all the journalists who have been imprisoned without proof for alleged involvement in July's attempted coup d'etat, Deutsche Welle reports.> BNN

Meeting in Strasbourg, the parliamentarians passed a resolution calling on Turkey to "narrow the scope of the emergency measures, so that they can no longer be used to curtail freedom of expression."

They asked the EU's foreign service, the European External Action Service, to continue monitoring the implications of the ongoing state of emergency to ensure Ankara did not use the "broadly defined Turkish anti-terrorism legislation" to punish journalists and others.

Turkey last week extended its state of emergency, declared in the wake of the coup attempt on July 15, for another 90 days. The government has used the emergency measures to launch a wide-ranging crackdown on suspected followers of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of masterminding the coup. At least 32,000 people have been arrested since July, among them soldiers, police officers, teachers, members of the judiciary and the press.

According to the latest figures from watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Turkish authorities have shut down at least 125 media outlets in recent months. The government suspects many of them of supporting the Gulen movement, but other outspoken media outlets have also been targeted, especially those linked to the Kurdish minority.

More than 2,500 journalists have lost their jobs due to the closures, and at least 130 journalists are currently in prison, more than in China or Iran. According to the Turkish Journalists' Association, the journalists have been denied the right of access to a lawyer and are kept in inhumane conditions.

"Turkey has become the world's biggest prison for journalists," said Julie Majerczak, head of the RSF Brussels office. In its latest World Press Freedom index, RSF ranked Turkey 151 out of 180 countries - and, as Majerczak pointed out, the ranking was made before the attempted coup.

"The Turkish government is entitled to investigate anyone who may have been involved with this failed coup, but hellip; they are not entitled to suspend human rights, to suspend the rule of law in their country," said Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a German Liberal member of parliament, at a press conference in Strasbourg. "They must respect the basic human rights in Turkey."

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