Sinn Féin’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Seán Crowe TD, has strongly criticised the lack of press of freedom in Turkey. Crowe’s comments come after the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) made a presentation to the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee on the crackdown on media organisations and the arrests of journalists in Turkey.

Deputy Crowe said:

“I want to thank the NUJ for giving an informative presentation on the repression that their journalist colleagues in Turkey are facing.

“Since the attempted coup over 130 media outlets have been closed and 2,500 journalists and media workers have lost their jobs. At least 90 journalists are in jail and 330 have had their press accreditation removed.

“On Monday, 31 October, the Turkish police launched a mass operation against the liberal newspaper Cumhuriyet, one of the last remaining sources of independent news and information in Turkey. Police arrested at least 13 journalists at the newspaper, including the editor-in-chief. Last year this paper bravely published information on how Turkey was militarily supporting Syrian jihadists through covert channels.

“In August the Turkish Government forced the pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily newspaper to close. The 25 year old daily has faced a barrage of State intimidation and violence before it was forcibly closed down after a heavy handed police raid.

“Four journalists have been charged for participating in a solidarity campaign with Özgür Gündem and writers, editors, and board members will face charges of links to Kurdish militants on 15 December.

“It’s clear that the Turkish Government is using the attempted coup to achieve its long term goal of quelling and silencing any independent or critical voices in the country. Many of those who have been arrested and detained are at the opposite end of the political spectrum when compared with those who supposedly carried out the attempted coup.

“The Turkish Government’s attacks and intensified crackdown on the media needs to stop.”