Turkey’s leader has a worsening record on press freedom. There is no truth in his claims about this newspaper’s views on his country
Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan likes to dish it out to the press. Last week he personally threatened an editor with espionage and “crimes against the government” that could mean a life sentence for Cumhuriyet’s Can Dündar.
Turkey’s youth are bearing the brunt of their state’s authoritarian tendencies. Why are they being targeted, and how can the new members of Parliament bring it to an end?
Young boy with HDP flag at rally in Diyarbakir, Turkey. Aurore Belot/Demotix. All rights reserved.Turkey’s general election on 7 June 2015 is a political milestone for the country: the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to garner enough votes to form a single party government, while the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) crossed the 10 percent election threshold to gain seats in the Grand National Assembly (Meclis). For many Turkish youths, the 2015 general election represents their first time voting, and although many have grown up without experience of military rule, they have experienced an environment of increasing authoritarianism and socio-cultural conflict.
“I can rest, finally!”
To be honest, this was my first thought when my brain started working at June 8th. I was feeling tired, worn out. And still feel the same. My guess is the elections affected a lot of people living in here similarly.
Yes, I’m also an digital activist, including lots of other things I’m doing. But politics, especially daily politics in Turkey is nothing but a total mess. It’s not my area, I can’t fit in. I can comment or report some basic news but I’m not doing it with joy. It felt like a duty, I have to spread (translate) what’s going on in here. It was an abrasive experience, just like last two months in Turkey.
Turkey’s election result is a tribute to its vibrant democracy. But there are hard political and economic tests to come.
At the peak of the protests of May-June 2013 in Turkey, spurred by plans to transform Gezi park in central Istanbul, the country’s then president, Abdullah Gül, made a statement that would go down in political folklore: “Democracy does not consist only of the ballot-box” (“Demokrasi sandıktan ibaret değildir“). He had a point: a democracy worthy of the name is also about other things – the rights of minorities, freedom of speech and association, the rule of law, transparency and accountability – all of them in scarce supply in Turkey, both historically and in more recent days.