Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Michael Werz issued the following statement after the arrest of 31 people in Turkey, including journalists, editors, and media figures who have been critical of the governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP:
We condemn the arrest of prominent editors and journalists by Turkish authorities this weekend and call for their release. Those arrested have been critical of the AKP and include Ekrem Dumanlı, the editor-in-chief of Zaman, an outlet for the political opposition and one of Turkey’s most-read newspapers. The Turkish government’s action is intended to stifle dissent and weaken freedom of the press and expression.
This is the latest in a long line of steps taken by the AKP that have led to outright censorship, greater party control of the judiciary, political intimidation, and consolidation of media ownership under government pressure. These actions increase doubts about the Turkish government’s commitment to open democracy and the rule of law. The United States and other allies and partners of Turkey should re-evaluate their military, economic, and political cooperation with the government in Ankara in light of these steps toward authoritarianism.
Related resource: Freedom of the Press and Expression in Turkey by Max Hoffman and Michael Werz
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