I am following with deep concern the events unfolding in Turkey. The arrest yesterday of journalists and media workers is a serious setback for media freedom in the country. Irrespective of the reasons which may have motivated them, such measures are disproportionate and unnecessary in a democracy. They are as worrying as the waves of arrests of journalists in 2011 which were condemned by my predecessor in his report on media freedom in Turkey.
Indeed, media freedom has been a long-standing problem in Turkey and such measures carry a high risk of cancelling out the progress Turkey has painstakingly achieved in recent years. They send a new chilling message to journalists and dissenting voices in Turkey, who have been under intense pressure, including facing violence and reprisals. They are also likely to polarise Turkish society further and to increase public mistrust in the state’s ability to uphold human rights.
I urge the authorities to stop the crackdown on press freedom and to act in compliance with the rule of law and human rights.