Turkey’s military operations along the border with Syria and in the Idlib region, its military intervention in Libya, its political manipulation of the Syrian refugee crisis and its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic have all been used to reinforce its authoritarian policies towards critical media and its use of the judicial system for political ends. Even if Turkey is no longer the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, the risk of imprisonment and the fear of being subjected to judicial control or stripped of one’s passport is ever-present.The government controls 90% of the national media by means of regulators such as the High Council for Broadcasting (RTÜK), while the Press Advertising Council (BIK), which allocates state advertising, and the Presidential Directorate for Communications (CIB), which issues press cards, use clearly discriminatory practices in order to marginalise and criminalise the regime’s media critics. All means possible are used to eliminate pluralism.In this “New Turkey” marked by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hyper-presidency, one in which arbitrary decisions by magistrates and government agencies are the new normal, Internet censorship has reached unprecedented levels. Questioning the authorities and the privileged is now almost impossible. If international social media platforms fail to appoint a legal representative in Turkey and apply the censorship decisions taken by Turkey’s courts, they are exposed to an escalating range of sanctions that include fines, withdrawal of advertising and reduction in the bandwidth available to them.
154 in 2020
50.02 in 2020