It seems almost like an eternity since Turkey first made tentative moves to join the European Union. Since then the moves have expanded into a full investigation on the possibilities and, to the dissatisfaction of the Turkish government, a series of demands which must be met before membership can seriously be considered.
Among many things listed, press freedom is one of the vital necessities expected from all European Union members, and one which is closely followed and held up as a prime example of the advantages of membership, certainly as far as the normal citizens are concerned. A free press allows a wide variety of opinions to be expressed and a broad knowledge base – for those who read all sides of a story – to be gained.
Screenshot Source: Twitter / Daily Express
It is fair to say, especially when we read the news of the many changes taking place in Turkey at the moment, that press freedom is not quite so important to the Turkish government. There have been countless arrests; newspapers have been closed to taken over; prosecutions have followed which clearly show that there is no freedom to criticize.
From this stance alone it is clear that all negotiations with Turkey over a possible European Union membership should be ended right away. A country which behaves towards is journalists as if they are only a propaganda machine or mouthpiece for the government cannot be called free, cannot be accepted as upholding the Rights and Liberties which the other members hold dear. Such a country has no place in the Union.
As with so many things it will probably be the German government which is expected to take a lead on this: the main supporters of Turkish membership have been the Germans and now, as it is clear that there is no chance of Turkey meeting even the most basic requirements, the government must step forward and make it clear. There is no place for Turkey in the European Union. There can be no further negotiations.
- Viktoria Michaelis.