Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has always received a lot of flak for his authoritarian tendencies, one of which is his unsettling tendency to shut down press and media that disagrees or opposes him. And his tendency has only gotten worse since the failed Turkish coup, with his following purge eliminating more than 120 media outlets, and with more than 125 journalists still in prison.
In a damning report, Reporters Without Borders added Erdogan to a list of 35 ‘Enemies of Press Freedom’, made up of anti-free press leaders and organizations. In the report, RSF (as their French acronym goes) stated that Erdogan only allowed media that was “submissive and docile and sang his praises”. It also stated that Erdogan hid his “aggressive dictatorship under a veneer of democracy”.
Turkey’s ranking in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index has also gone down since last year, from 149th to 151st. The list includes 180 countries, so that ranking is quite bad. In 2008, when Erdogan ally Abdullah Gul first took charge as president of Turkey, Turkey’s ranking was 102nd.
More recently, Erdogan has come under fire for detaining the top staff of a popular opposition newspaper, Cumhuriyet. Turkey may have a ways to go before its media can recover from the blows dealt by the Justice and Development party.