IPI Visit Highlights Press Freedom in Turkey

BIANET 8.12.2012 – International Press Institute representatives paid a 3-day visit to Turkey, enduring talks with government officials and NGO representatives on the press freedom and jailed journalists.

IPI representatives arrived on Tuesday with a 3-day agenda in Istanbul and Ankara to meet several individuals including newspaper editors, families of jailed journalists, NGO representatives, political leaders and Vice Prime Minister Bülent Arınç.

Among IPI representatives, there were Peter Preston (former editor-in-chief at The Guardian), Milton Coleman (editor at The Washington Post), Carl-Eugen Eberle (former IPI board member), Narasimhan Ravi (IPI board member), Michael Lake (former EU Ambassador to Turkey), Alison Bethel McKenzie (IPI director) and Ismail Isa (former Nigerian Newspaper Owners Association).

“We initially came here with concerns on press freedom, but our meeting with Vice Prime Minister Arınç was important to be hopeful about the upcoming reforms,” Peter Preston said on Wednesday in a press conference with Turkish Journalists Association. Kadri Gürsel, chair of Turkish Media Institute, underlined that IPI paid its most crowded visit to Turkey in its history. “As IPI and Turkish Media Institute, we hope that upcoming reforms on the court system will alleviate the tension on the press freedom issue in Turkey. This lies in the heart of the IPI mission. Representatives came her to research on that. They are wondering what the new reforms will bring in terms of press freedom,” Gürsel said. Gürsel said he appreciated the IPI mission, which aimed to create an awareness amid Turkey’s government officials that the world is keeping a close eye on the press freedom and jailed journalists. “They asked the same questions to Vice Prime Minister Arınç, too.” (EA/HK)