A Side of Press Freedom With Your Turkey?

turkey091208.jpgTurkey, which is trying to enter the European Union, is facing questions about government interference with freedom of the press. The country’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, recently accused Aydin Dogan (think a Turkish Rupert Murdoch) of defamation stemming from a German court case. The case accuses the Turkish government of channeling money donated to charity into businesses with close ties to the prime minister.

The battle between Erdogan and Dogan illustrates the growing split between the country’s Islamist government and the secular media, with the inteligensia siding with the latter party. “I feel obliged to call on the prime minister to stop his behavior, which seems to be impeding efforts to bring about freedom of expression and pluralism,” said Orhan Erinc, of the Turkish Journalists Association.