Turkey’s main opposition party says the government has arrested 64 journalists and another 123 are facing trial on charges of terrorism.
The Republican People’s Party(CHP) made the remarks in the “Report on Imprisoned Journalists” released on Tuesday during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Ankara,Hurriyet Daily News reported. CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said that Turkey ranks 154th out of 179 countries in media freedom. He added that 59 journalists lost their jobs over their reports on the Gezi Park unrest. “We are experiencing a process in which the government and the police audits together, [in which] the media bosses are under the rule of political authority and publish the news that the political authority accepts,” Kilicdaroglu said. He stated that the people in power and media bosses were instituting censorship or driving journalists to engage in self-censorship. “We have gone 105 years back in time.” “Mr. prime minister [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] has turned the country into a half-open penitentiary and made it impossible to live for journalists,” Kilicdaroglu noted. The unrest in Turkey began on May 31 after police broke up a sit-in held at Istanbul's Taksim Square to protest against a proposal to demolish Gezi Park. In the first two weeks of June, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters held demonstrations in tens of cities across the country. The protesters say Gezi Park, which is a traditional gathering point for rallies and demonstrations as well as a popular tourist destination, is one of Istanbul's last green public spaces. Five people, including a police officer, have died in the clashes and more than 5,000 protesters and 600 police officers have been injured. Prime Minister Erdogan has been harshly criticized for the way he has handled the crisis. According to a number of political analysts, the popularity of the ruling AK Party -- which has won three straight elections -- could decline if Erdogan does not resolve the crisis in a way acceptable to the general public.