Media: Speak Softly In Turkey

Turkey is in one respect an amazing story for a Muslim majority nation in the Middle East. It retains the basic ingredients of a democratic society in which people of diverse views and religions can live in peace and harmony. The Justice and Development Party led by Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has rid the country of its long term military elite and allowed civilians to control the nation’s destiny. However, in the process of ending military rule, Prime Minister Erdogan has instituted a semi-democratic government which does not enjoy criticism by members of the media. At this point, Turkey leads the world in placing members of the media in jail. Erdogan does not like either critical articles in newspapers nor people in the streets demonstrating for human rights.

To make the situation even more confusing, President Abdullah Gul is a champion of human rights and supports efforts by the media to present their version of what is the truth. He recently pointed out to Prime Minister Erdogan, “sometimes, because of the nature of the media, it is generally expected to be critical.” He went on to point out that if you attempt to prevent it from being so critical, “then it stops being the media, it becomes something else.”

He emphasized that what makes Turkey important is “its dynamic power, young population, and its industrious people.”

Free the journalists and make Turkey a symbol of democracy!