By Yavuz Badar
In the latest report, Freedom in the World 2013, Freedom House defines Turkey as ‘partly free’.
Authorities in Ankara – both the government and bureaucrats – refute these claims, although the Ministry of Justice openly admits that there are serious shortcomings when it comes to providing for freedom of expression, both in law and implementation.
Some international organisations, such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meanwhile, help build the myth that Turkey tops the world rankings for one of the worst ‘oppressive’ states because of the number of jailed journalists there. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that there are 49 journalists in prison, while Reporters Sans Frontières put the number at 72, if the number of people includes all jailed media professionals. But claims that the country is entirely free or grossly oppressive are both wrong. These extreme views must be taken with a pinch of salt; the truth is somewhere in between.