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IPI, SEEMO Condemn Turkish Leaderís Latest Outburst Against Media
02 February 2009
Reporters jostled by crowd at opening ceremony of an Istanbul metro system station on 30 January 2009. (HŁrriyet / Sefa ÷zkaya)
This latest call follows the 30 January assault on journalists during a public speech in which the prime minister condemned the press for being biased in their coverage of the recent
"Although entitled to his opinions, the prime minister should exercise greater restraint when speaking about the media publicly," IPI Director
The assault occurred during the opening ceremony of an
These comments stirred the audience to jeer at the approximately 70 reporters of both the national and international media present at the speech, according to correspondents at the scene.
During his talk Erdogan invoked the history of the Ottoman Turksí battle at Canakkale, the Turkish name for the first world war Gallipoli campaign, after which the audience chanted "Ask us to shoot, we will shoot, ask us to die, we will die."
Local media report that, following this, a woman shouted a comment in support of Erdogan, which others in the audience apparently misunderstood as criticism. The crowd booed and jostled her, forcing Erdoganís bodyguards to intervene.
Journalists attempted to take pictures of the incident, but the crowd then turned upon them –first verbally with chants of "media out!", then physically. The police stepped in, creating a barrier between the mob and the media.
The crowdís attack on the journalists lasted over five minutes but there were no serious injuries. Erdogan made no attempt to calm the angry crowd, instead chastising the journalists for taking pictures of the disturbance rather than doing "what they had come here to do," namely reporting on his speech.
These events took place the day after Erdogan angrily stormed off the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, following a heated discussion with Israeli President Shimon Peres about
Erdogan has recently made several public attacks on the media.
On 10 September 2008, reacting to media coverage of the Deniz Feneri e.V. charity scandal, Erdogan threatened the Dogan
IPI called on the Turkish leader to retract this ultimatum, stating that "there is no place for Erdogan to question or criticise the mediaís right to report on an issue of public importance." Erdogan then attacked IPI at a public rally on 13 September, saying that IPI had "no right to criticise him over his treatment of the countryís largest news organisation."
Erdogan followed this on 19 September by calling on members of his party to boycott media critical of the government, and "not to take these newspapers to your homes." Several Turkish media organisations – including IPIís National Committee in
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IPI: The Global Network for a Free Media
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East Europe and an IPI affiliate.
Read Country Reports on 'Turkey':
2007 World Press Freedom Review
2006 World Press Freedom Review
2005 World Press Freedom Review
2004 World Press Freedom Review
2003 World Press Freedom Review
2002 World Press Freedom Review
2001 World Press Freedom Review
2000 World Press Freedom Review
1999 World Press Freedom Review
1998 World Press Freedom Review
Journalists killed in 'Turkey':
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