‘Turkish method of silencing criticism being exported to Europe’

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
By Paul Martin

27 Apr, 2016

By using insult laws against average citizens the Turkish authorities are trying to suppress any criticism of Erdogan’s regime both in Turkey and Europe, Scott Griffen, Director of Press Freedom Programs at the International Press Institute, told RT.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said “freedom of the press should never negate respect for human dignity,” and that insults against President Recep Erdogan do not constitute freedom of speech. Meanwhile, the international Reporters Without Borders organization criticized Ankara saying that “anyone who writes anything that’s critical of Erdogan can be personally prosecuted.”

RT: On those concerns raised by Reporters Without Borders. Is Erdogan pushing too far now by trying to influence what’s being said about him and Turkey in Europe itself?

Scott Griffen: Yes, I think that is what we’re seeing. As you know this situation that has been brewing in Turkey for some time now, close to 2,000 criminal cases of insulting the president have been opened since Erdogan took office. What we’re seeing now is essentially the exportation of this approach towards silencing criticism to Europe. We saw this initially with the Jan Boehmermann case in Germany. Unfortunately, the way that case was handled in Germany, by the German government, has not set a very good precedent.

In terms of the example that was just discussed in Switzerland, in Geneva – these are the kinds of cases that we expect to occur more often now. Indeed, this is correct that this began inside Turkey using these kinds of insult laws to suppress any criticism of the Turkish government and the Turkish President, which it appears that Turkish authorities are now taking the same approach toward criticism of President Erdogan abroad and it is very important.

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