On 8 June, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave an account on the most pressing topics on the Turkish agenda to journalists in the course of a broadcast of the Turkish news channel CNN Türk. Erdoğan conveyed his opinion on press freedom, internet censorship, military service and the recent incidents in Hopa among other issues.
In one of his pre-elections meetings, Erdoğan had criticized columnists Nuray Mert and Abbas Güçlü. His statement was then criticized in return by journalists Taha Akyol and Hasan Cemal. When asked about the matter, Erdoğan replied:
"The freedom of the other person is the limit. Once you enter that area, you are interfering in the freedom of somebody else. 'The roads built in Dersim [eastern Turkey] for the government of the Turkish Republic were made for operations; the two-lane roads that are being built right now are being made with the same concern for security regarding the dams' - is it possible for us to meet such a portrayal or evaluation in a reasonable manner?"
"First of all, we do not restrict the internet, to the contrary. At the point of publishing indecent broadcasts a filter is needed. We made an according amendment in February. It will be enforced in August. This is what we did".
"The filter will be used by the people who want it. Whoever does not want it will not use it".
Paid military service
"In this context, I consider the opinion of the General Staff important. We had talks".
"Our only concern is the families of the soldiers who died while serving in the military. Were we picked as victims because we were poor? I do not know who the General Staff is going to assess this but it is important how my nation is evaluating this".
"We will talk about this in the future. We will provide reconciliation and take according steps. We will be just in this when we take such a decision. I believe this is something that needs to be solved".
Incidents in Hopa
Regarding recent anti-government demonstrations in Hopa (eastern Black Sea coast) that caused the death of one person, Erdoğan remarked:
"What do you say if there is information and documents about the person who died? There are photographs showing him throwing stones. You do not see that. Why is the media not dwelling in my assets while they are dwelling about that person. The police officer is still in intensive care. I was the target. A small stone hit me. A big stone hit my driver. He was bleeding. This is not being told in the media. We have 40 percent of the votes in Hopa. There were banners reading 'The only way is the street, the only way is revolution'. The safety showed weaknesses. Our attitude is different there of course. Please mind that I gave examples from the book of [PKK leader Abdullah] Öcalan in Bingöl, this must be considered. There are images showing the district chair handing out a Molotov cocktail. The media has to support this struggle. The media must not make that sort of propaganda". (ÇT/VK)
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