The issues of press freedom and freedom of expression in Turkey have for several years
attracted a great deal of attention and provoked extensive debate both in Turkey and
in other Western countries. Dozens of journalists critical of the government have been
jailed, and hefty fines have been levied against media outlets seen as opposing the ruling
Justice and Development Party, or AKP.1
The perceived deterioration of the situation
has raised concerns about the course and character of Turkish democratic development.
This brief provides political context, historical background, and strategic analysis of this
problem, and offers steps that the United States can take to help address the situation.
The intention is to broaden the discussion and improve understanding of the issue
among a wider audience, particularly in Washington, D.C., in the hopes of encouraging greater U.S. engagement. What follows is based on secondary research, extensive
interviews with Turkish journalists, editors, and outside experts, and working-group
meetings in Istanbul and Washington, bringing together prominent Turkish journalists
and U.S. and European experts….