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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The End of Opposition: The AKP's Ten-Year War on Press Freedom in Turkey

  • Author(s): Lavigne, Ryan
  • et al.

In July of 2016 there was a coup attempt in Turkey. What followed can only be characterized as a ‘purge’ of certain sectors of society. Included, and arguably central to the post–coup reaction, has been an attack on free press in the country. This Article explains and argues why this post–coup attempt crackdown must not be viewed in isolation, but instead as a quasi-culmination of a ten-year war waged against the press by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey. The decline in press freedom indicators in the absence of any new restrictive legislation suggests that the AKP has intentionally and increasingly suppressed the press using laws predating this ten-year period. Thus, the recent press purge is less a one-off event than the continuation of a systematic suppression. Tangible results of this suppression’s effect on democracy become ever more apparent following the approval of the April 2017 constitutional amendments via referendum and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s reelection to the Presidency with new amendments in force.

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