Caribbean should rethink relations with Turkey

Nov 10, 2016 – The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) notes with growing alarm continuing attacks on press freedom in Turkey, most recently including the detention of journalists associated with the Cumhuriyet newspaper, the banning of scores of other media outlets and the laying of serious, criminal charges against many more media practitioners associated with them.

We view these actions, within the context of the ongoing state of emergency, as being orchestrated to muzzle political dissent and to stifle free expression and freedom of the press.

As an organisation with members from countries with which Turkey has expressed an interesting in deepening relations, we in the Caribbean consider these recent developments as having the impact of significantly reducing the country’s democratic gains over the years and casting a shadow on its true value as an international partner.

In our view, the use of emergency powers by the state to clamp down on the free flow of news and information within Turkey is a gross abuse of constitutional prerogative and we deplore blatant attempts to silence voices of dissent through the use of different forms of official harassment.

The ACM calls on countries of the Caribbean region, at minimum, to voice their serious concern with these actions by Turkish authorities against their own citizens and to suspend any further discussions on deepening relations between countries of our region and Turkey pending a reversal of this pattern of behaviour.

We also join with senior editors, journalists and free freedom organisations from around the world in urging the authorities to free those detained under this wave of attacks on the media in Turkey and to terminate proceedings against others who continue to face the court on charges designed to maintain a regime of silent compliance with the dictates of oppressive conditions.

Nov, 11, 2016