Destinations Magazine

Turkey and the European Union: Media Freedom RIP?

By Stizzard

“WE HAVE no concern about what the EU might say, whether the EU accepts us as members or not.” The latest outburst from Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, sent the lira down by 4% against the dollar amid growing worries over the direction the country is taking.Mr Erdogan was responding to a rebuke by the European Union over arrests on December 14th of a police chief, journalists and soap-opera screenwriters linked to Fethullah Gulen, a Sunni cleric based in Pennsylvania. The EU’s foreign-affairs boss, Federica Mogherini, and enlargement commissioner, Johannes Hahn, warned that Turkey’s hopes of becoming a member depended on “full respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights.” They called the arrests “incompatible with the freedom of media, which is a core principle of democracy”. Mr Erdogan said the EU should “mind its own business and keep its opinions to itself”.The arrests mark an escalation in Mr Erdogan’s unremitting war against Mr Gulen and his followers. He insists they have set up “a parallel state” with the goal of overthrowing his Justice and Development (AK) party government. Until his fall from grace, the preacher was AK’s unofficial ally. Critics say Gulenists in the security forces and the judiciary helped to forge evidence against hundreds of Turkish army officers charged with fomenting a coup.Thousands of them have now been arrested or purged on…

The Economist: Europe


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