19 July 2016 – There are disturbing signs of an intensified crackdown on freedom of expression, including online freedom, as well as attacks on journalists by non-state actors in Turkey, following the attempted military coup on 15 July 2016, PEN International, PEN America, English PEN, PEN Turkey, PEN Germany, Swedish PEN, and Danish PEN said in a statement today.
Since the coup attempt, which the government has blamed on the followers of the Gulen movement¹ some 20 websites suspected of “endangering national security or public order” including those of six news outlets & two TV channels have been blocked from access by the High Council for Telecommunications (TIB) at the request of the prime minister’s office.
‘Once again, the Turkish authorities are trying to stifle the access of individuals in Turkey to information. It is the height of irony that the government is resorting to blocking access to information given that President Erdogan relied on the Internet to disseminate his message to Turkish citizens and to mobilise his supporters and others who wanted to defend Turkish democracy during the coup,’ said Salil Tripathi, Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International
‘Such measures should only be considered as a last resort, and with judicial oversight. Given Turkey’s record on free expression, and the mass arrests, the immediate future looks grim.’
At least one journalist – Arzu Yıldız from haberdar.com – is facing an arrest warrant. Speaking today, Yıldız said: