Freedom House has published in 2013 annual report on freedom of the press. This year, yet again, Turkey came away with less than passing marks.
Turkey remained a regional outlier [in the Western Europe region] with a score of 56, deep inside the Partly Free range, as the government continued to crack down on journalists in 2012. Constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press and expression are only partially upheld in practice, undermined by restrictive provisions in the criminal code and the Anti-Terrorism Act. Thanks to detentions stemming from investigations into the alleged Ergenekon coup conspiracy and a crackdown on suspected Kurdish militants, Turkey remains among the nations with the most journalists behind bars in the world.
Turkey’s “grade” of fifty six, puts it near the bottom of the “partially free” category. In fact, Turkey’s ranking this year went down one point from its already poor showing last year.
Freedom House places Turkey in the category of “Western Europe,” where it ranks dead last. Even within the almost universally dismal rankings of the Middle East, however, Turkey ranks behind Israel, Tunisia, and Lebanon, and only slightly better than Kuwait and Libya.
Let us hope that when people talk about a “Turkish Model for the Middle East,” freedom of the press is not what they are referring to.
Update 1: May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. In Turkey, it is less celebrated than commemorated. See here for photos of Amnesty International – Turkey’s protest of restrictions on press freedom.