The Commission continuously monitors the situation in Turkey: including the situation on freedom of expression, and media freedom and pluralism.
But given recent events, we are now following particularly closely.
The signals are very worrying. Already there were troubling trends in this country: website blocking used frequently and abusively; excessive fines on media outlets; journalists imprisoned.
And now there are yet more worrying reports: of disproportionate force by the police; of social networks being blocked; dozens of citizens detained for merely tweeting; journalists injured. And yet there has been little coverage in the Turkish media – itself a telling sign of the lack of media freedom. Meanwhile the government itself merely condemns social networks, rather than looking deeper to more fundamental problems.
The people of Turkey have the right to peaceful protest – without the threat of violence or repression. Freedom of speech in particular is a fundamental right; and the media, including social media, are an important channel to exercise it; in Turkey just as in the EU.
Those media, online and off, are not the source of a problem: rather they are a valuable conduit for a legitimate protest. And they should be seen as such. The government should pay attention to that message, not seek to control or repress it.