March 6, 2016 - Updated on March 8, 2016

Will the EU let itself be humiliated over media freedom in Turkey?

On the eve of another European Union-Turkey summit about migration, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the EU to show all the necessary firmness in response to the attacks on media freedom in Turkey.

“The European Union must not settle for just reminding the Turkish authorities of the principles of media freedom,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “It must exercise all of its potential leverage. There can be no question of resuming EU accession talks while Ankara visibly tramples on basic European values. If the EU continues to yield to blackmail regarding migrants, it will give the impression of abandoning the principles on which it was founded.

“Until now, the European Union has demonstrated culpable weakness in response to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attacks on the media. But ‘business as usual’ would be incomprehensible after he seized control of the main opposition media group in such a brutal manner while Donald Tusk was in Ankara. Is the EU determined to let itself be humiliated?”

After a court issued an order for the authorities to take control of the opposition Zaman media group, the police stormed its headquarters on the night of 4 March and used teargas and water cannon against the hundreds of protesters outside. Zaman’s management was then dismissed and the Zaman daily newspaper is now taking a pro-government line that borders on caricature.

Turkey is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in RSF’s latest World Press Freedom Index.