World’s press deliberately ignores Turkey’s success – Erdoğan

Speaking at a press awards ceremony on Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the international press of deliberately downplaying Turkey’s successes, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The Turkish president was unhappy with the way international press organisations have represented Turkey, and went on praised his country’s media sector.

“Turkey’s successes are deliberately not seen in the international press”, Erdoğan said.

“We wish for a more pluralistic Turkey, with an even freer press. We want a press where all ideas can be expressed”, said the president. “Our country has one of the most dynamic media sectors in the world.”

International rights groups, media watchdogs and the European Union have expressed grave concerns about media freedom in Turkey.

The Committee to Protect Journalists placed Turkey as the worst jailer of journalists in the world for the third year running in a December 2018 report.

Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2019 report said Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) had “asserted partisan control” over the media since coming to power in 2002, and noted biased coverage from Turkish press outlets, the majority of which are owned by businesses linked to the ruling party.

But Erdoğan and the AKP have asserted that Turkey’s media is the “freest in the world” and say that no journalists are in jail for their work.

During his speech on Thursday, the Turkish president expressed serious concerns about the internet, saying it had led to more disinformation being dispersed than ever before.

Erdoğan singled out fake news as a “threat to democracies”, also warning of threates he said the internet posed in areas ranging from election security to spreading propaganda for outlawed organisations.

“Fake news is a threat not only to people, but to democracies as well. Turkey and Turkish democracy, like many other countries, is not free of this threat”, Erdoğan said.

“We have seen this bitter truth many times in the events that have befallen us over the past six years”, he said.

That period has seen the AKP faced with serious challenges to its rule ranging from mass protests and mounting economic problems to a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

Erdoğan has attributed much of the domestic opposition to his rule to a plot backed by foreign powers.