Turkey’s despotic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed a BBC reporter who commented on the high number of jailed journalists and closed-down media outlets in Turkey, telling the reporter that she has more freedom than he does. Erdoğan’s remarks came during a BBC program called “Hard Talk,” hosted by Zeinab Badawi, which will be aired on July 14.
When Badawi reminded Erdoğan that 160 media outlets were closed down and 2,500 journalists or media workers were sacked from their jobs in Turkey in the aftermath of a failed coup on July 15, 2016, Erdoğan disputed the figures, telling the BBC: “No one is jailed because of journalism here.”
“Just two actual journalists are in jail right now,” he said.
Slamming the journalist for her remarks, the Turkish president continued: “You see, you speak more than me, you have more freedom than me. And now you aren’t giving me the opportunity to exercise that right. You are interviewing me, but you don’t give me the opportunity to speak.”
Erdoğan claimed that jailed journalists were affiliated with terrorist organizations and that some were arrested because they were involved in robbery.
“They have employee ID cards, they don’t have official press cards, they claim to be journalists with employee ID cards. The figure of 170 [jailed journalists] you mentioned, is a lie. We have said this so many times,” added Erdoğan.
Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 264 journalists are now in jails as of July 12, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 239 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 105 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.
Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com) July 12, 2017