Turkey: Outlaw Nation At Europe’s Fringe

Turkey has sentenced a Wall Street Journal reporter to two years in prison simply for doing her job.

The reporter, Ayla Albayrak, was convicted and sentenced on terrorism charges over an article she wrote two years ago on Turkey’s war with Kurdish militants, the Journal said in a statement.

But journalism is not terrorism.

Thankfully, Ayla Albayrak is in New York and intends to appeal the decision, the Journal said.

But within the country, where the Turkish clampdown on press freedom focuses on local media, more journalists are in prison than anywhere else in the world.

Does anyone – governments, intergovernmental organizations including the UN, civil society groups – have any influence on Turkey at all?

The Turkish clampdown has been part of a rapid decline in democratic and secular values that escalated following a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

When governments jail local journalists and close local news outlets, their actions often don’t get proper attention internationally. Press freedom advocates have forcefully responded, but the general public around the world often doesn’t pay attention. Repressive governments count on this.

Turkey makes no apologies in treating journalists as terrorists. Good men and women are languishing in Turkish prisons. Let’s hope the wrongful sentencing of a Wall Street Journal reporter might bring additional attention and international pressure to bear. Turkish journalists need all the help they can get.

How to help Turkish journalists:

Solidarity and letter writing campaign organized by the International and European Federation of journalists;

Twitter campaign, #FreeTurkeyMedia, from Amnesty International;

Petition from Reporters without Borders.




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