Exiled Turkish journalist Can Dündar said German officials have increased security measures to protect him after a recent state visit to Germany by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish service reported.
In an interview with German TV, Dündar stated that President Erdoğan had a poisonous view of his journalism, never forgetting a news story undermining his legitimacy and making efforts to get revenge.
He said Erdoğan’s remarks increased the level of danger for him.
Erdoğan requested Dündar’s extradition to Turkey from German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a joint press conference in late September, accusing him of spying on his country.
Dündar denied Erdoğan’s allegations immediately after the press conference.
The news story that attracted Erdoğan’s wrath concerned trucks from Turkey’s intelligence agency carrying weapons to rebels in the Syrian civil war. The report included photos showing weapons inside the trucks, frustrating the Turkish government that beforehand had insisted the trucks were carrying humanitarian aid to Turkmens.
Dündar was arrested in Turkey in November 2015 and released pending appeal in February 2016 after a Constitutional Court ruling indicated that his incarceration had violated his personal liberty.
Later Dündar fled Turkey and took up residence in Germany, becoming an outspoken critic of Erdoğan and his government.
Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 237 journalists and media workers were in jail as of October 7, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 169 were under arrest pending trial while only 68 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 148 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.
Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. (SCF with turkishminute.com)