What we have read over the last few days about Turkey is almost unbelievable: a Turkish public prosecutor demanding a life sentence to punish a journalist for his independent reporting. Can Dündar is the editor-in-chief of a newspaper, Cumhuriyet, critical of the government, that published images (from January 2014) showing the Turkish intelligence agency smuggling weapons into Syria. After the scoop, Turkish President Erdoğan, already known for his tough position against media freedom, warned Dundar that he would pay a ” heavy price ” for the revelations.
The prosecutor accused Dündar of espionage activity and of revealing State secrets, and asked for a life sentence.
This case is rather symptomatic not only of the lack of respect for basic freedom of the press in the country, but also of the very low level of independence of the judiciary in Turkey. The case provides worrisome evidence that the country does not respect the fundamental and basic standards of a democracy.
The harsh attack on the Cumhuriyet director and, additionally, the fact that this attack was launched just a few days before the vote, has provoked a wave of solidarity at the international level.
The CMPF strongly condemns such threats on liberty, freedom of expression, the independence of journalism and democracy. Freedom of the media and freedom of the press are basic pillars for any democratic society.