Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has lashed out at European Parliament (EP) President Martin Schulz, who harshly criticized the detention of a number of Cumhuriyet daily journalists on Monday, saying the detentions are yet another red line crossed against freedom of expression in Turkey.
Detention warrants were issued for 18 journalists from the daily, and 12 journalists including the daily’s editor-in-chief, Murat Sabuncu, have been detained so far.
“Oh brother, we don’t care about your red line. We will draw one more red line over your red line. The nation determines what our red line is going to be,” said Yıldırım, speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.
In a number of messages from his Twitter account on Monday, Schulz said while he had clearly expressed the admiration of the EU for the courage with which Turkish citizens have defended democracy in the aftermath of an attempted coup on July 15, the ongoing massive purge “seems motivated by political considerations, rather than legal and security rationale.”
Yıldırım also criticized other European officials who raised concerns about freedom of the press in Turkey over the detention of the Cumhuriyet journalists.
“Detentions have been made at the daily [Cumhuriyet]. They have immediately begun to speak like a choir, saying freedom of the press is being finished off [in Turkey]. We will defend freedom of the press until the very end,” said Yıldırım.
Dozens of media outlets in the country have been closed down and scores of journalists have been jailed by the government since the failed coup attempt, which claimed the lives of more than 240 people and injured a thousand others.
According to a recent report from the Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD), 118 media outlets in Turkey were closed down, 184 journalists were detained, 56 journalists arrested, 866 journalists fired from their jobs and 620 journalists had their press cards cancelled during the July-September period.