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Democracy in Crisis in Turkey

Rayburn House Office Building
Room 2200
Washington, DC 20515
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Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party has been increasingly successful in muzzling the country’s once outspoken press. The dramatic decline in press freedom in Turkey has included government-imposed bans on reporting on controversial topics, witch hunts against journalists amid accusations of “terrorism,” and prosecuting journalists for stories perceived to be insulting to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

This assault on media freedom has escalated dangerously in the past several months, with the Turkish government demonstrating a willingness to seize control over entire news outlets—on March 4, a Turkish court ordered the seizure of one of Turkey’s most widely circulated opposition newspapers, Zaman. A new Bipartisan Policy Center report, Mechanisms of Control: How Turkey is Criminalizing Dissent and Muzzling the Press, discusses the issue.

BPC held a timely panel discussion with Turkish journalists about the state of press freedom in Turkey, and its impact both on Turkey’s democracy and its relationship with the United States.


Ali Aslan
Washington Correspondent, Zaman

Dr. Sinan Ciddi
Visiting Assistant Professor, Georgetown University
Executive Director, Institute for Turkish Studies

Nate Schenkkan
Project Director for Nations in Transit, Freedom House

Ilhan Tanir
Washington Correspondent, Cumhuriyet and


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