Turkey has no problems with the freedom of press, despite deliberate and manipulative claims by national and international actors, Presidency Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on Friday.
Speaking to the Daily Sabah, Altun said criticisms over press freedom in Turkey had deviated from its main subject — the media — and had become political and ideological in their nature.
Altun said Turkey enjoyed wide freedoms in the press as the country saw an exponential expansion and increase of variety in media in the last 17 years since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came to power.
"Turkey currently has a wide variety of media organizations such as television channels, newspapers, websites or other platforms with differentiating viewpoints. Members of the opposition can voice their criticisms with ease in such a setting," he said.
Altun also said almost half of media organizations in Turkey were backed by businesspeople who were against Erdoğan.
"So it is only natural for some media organizations to publish in favor of the Turkish government as well," he said, responding to criticisms.
Some people or nations have used and continue to use the freedom of expression or press freedom as a pretext to ideologically target Turkey in an "obsessive" way, Altun said.
"As long as they continue their attitude, the unresolved internal issues they have such as discrimination, anti-Islam sentiments and excessive poverty will continue to become more pronounced."
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara on Friday said Washington would continue to urge Turkey to ensure the freedom of press in Turkey.
"We will continue to urge Turkey to protect the freedom of press, respect judicial independence and ensure fair trial," the embassy wrote on Twitter.
Altun quickly hit back at the embassy, saying Turkey was urging the U.S. to stop pointing fingers and address longstanding problems such as extreme poverty and racial discrimination.