Transparency International condemns forced takeover of media organisations in Turkey

Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organisation, is calling on the government of Turkey to respect its own constitution, refrain from seizing control of media outlets and pressuring those who criticise its actions.

Transparency International is calling on the international community to ask Turkey to respect freedom of expression and to protect the space for civil society.

On Friday 4 March, the Turkish government took control of Zaman Group, one of Turkey’s leading media outlets, the latest in a series of moves aimed at controlling major media outlets in the country, and harshly suppressed those who took to the streets to protest the move.

“This is part of a worrying trend in Turkey where the government is moving towards autocratic rule. These actions threaten the very foundations of democracy. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right, guaranteed by the Turkish constitution. A country that lacks a free press also limits its ability to fight against corruption. A government that stifles all protest, cannot be said to represent its people,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.

Turkey’s constitution protects media organisations and their property.

Turkey ranks 149th among the 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index. Turkey’s score on the 2015 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index slipped to 42 down from 50 in 2013, indicating a worsening problem with corruption.

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