Tayyip Erdogan’s stranglehold on the media should be a major issue of concern for everyone who believes in Democracy. He is now effectively the ‘editor-in–chief’ of all media in Turkey. Only he decides what stories should be printed and what comments on social media are acceptable. Any media organisation which dares to criticise him is seen as the enemy and is closed down and taken over by his state apparatus.
In recent weeks the IMC television channel was taken of air and the Zaman newspaper was seized. Both of these had been critical of Erdogan and his government’s policies – Zaman in particular was considered to be the last effective voice speaking out against Erdogan’s excesses. There is now no effective media organisation left to criticise the AKP’s abuses.
Last week Erdogan again displayed his dictatorial tendencies when he told a constitutional court which had released two newspaper editors of the opposition Cumhuriet newspaper that such actions could bring its very existence into question – in other words he will not tolerate any court decision which goes against his whims and desires.
The EU would be absolutely crazy to accept Turkey as a member of the European Union as long as Erdogan is leading it. A leader who cannot tolerate freedom of speech and expression, a leader who only promotes his cronies and brutally suppresses his critics has no place in the EU.
Free speech is a universal human value and any leader who can’t tolerate even the slightest bit of criticism is nothing other than a brutal dictator.