Now I more often think that foreigners know very little about Turkey. They are so reluctant to learn more, yet they can't stop themselves from writing assertive pieces.
Last week The New York Times Editorial Board strongly advised Twitter to refrain from cooperating with the Erdoğan government, saying it persecutes critics and political opponents.
I think the board members should spend some of their spare time to learn about Turkey and see that even the journalists who posted tweets threatening Prime Minister Erdoğan with execution continue their lives outsides bars.
Citing the Committee to Protect Journalists' report, the board says that Turkey is the "world's top press jailer" imprisoning 40 journalists as of Dec. 1, 2013. But as of April, 2014, there are 15, seven of whom are sentenced.
I don't know if being a member of an outlawed organization such as the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front (DHKP-C) – which they may remember claimed responsibility for the attack targeting the U.S. Embassy in Ankara in February 2013 – is a journalistic activity for The New York Times, as charges against members of the group mostly concern bombings, using explosives, murder, et cetera. But at least journalists covering Turkey for the paper can be contacted for accurate numbers. Or Yavuz Baydar, who wrote an Op-Ed for The New York Times last summer about the current situation of the imprisoned journalists, could be consulted. Maybe they could ask what changed in the two years since he defended the trials against the journalists in the Dec. 13, 2011 issue of Huffington Post.
Is it me or is it actually interesting that those who chose to side with Fethullah Gülen during the Erdoğan-Gülen showdown also changed their positions on press freedom in Turkey. They were defending the trials when there were over 70 imprisoned journalists and now they are criticizing Erdoğan's government while journalists are being released one after another?
Turkey was hell for all who objected to bow down in front of Gülen in 2011-2012 as the officials of the "parallel state," aka "the soldiers of Gülen" were in turbo mode. Now, all those arrested by them are being released from prison while the Gülenists are removed from their offices and Gülen-affiliated journalists debate that there is no press freedom in Turkey.
Actually, The New York Times could ask the released journalists – for instance Nedim Şener, one of the well-known names arrested within the scope of the Oda TV trial – who was responsible for their arrests in the first place: the Gülen loyalists or the Erdoğan government?
But apparently, being up-to-date or accurate is not one of the primary issues on their checklist.