It was a narrow victory and one which will not please President Erdogan ,who was hoping for a decisive one. Instead he won by a whisker with an estimated 51.4% of the vote, despite controlling the media and conducting the ‘Yes’ campaign under a state of emergency, (extended for a further three months on 17 April) which limited the ability of opponents to openly campaign for a ‘No’ vote and meant that essential fundamental campaigning freedoms were denied.
After a 6 year ordeal an Istanbul court on 12 April ordered the acquittal of 13 suspects, including journalists and writers, charged with membership of the Ergenekon organisation in the OdaTV case. Among those acquitted is journalist Muyesser Yildiz who was adopted in a solidarity move by the NUJ in 2012. According to press reports the court unanimously acquitted the suspects including journalists Ahmet Şık, Nedim Şener, Soner Yalçın, Yalçın Küçük and former police chief Hanefi Avcı, based on their pleas, expert reports, witness statements and ‘the wider context of the file’.
“The UK has distinguished itself as a friend in the eyes of the Turkish government, and both sides are seeking to cement a strategic relationship. But, as the UK does so, it must not be seen as disregarding—or even excusing—allegations of serious human rights violations and the erosion of democracy in Turkey. It is vital that the UK’s criticism both privately and publicly is not withheld when grounds for criticism exist.”
Thus runs an extract from the recent UK parliament’s foreign affairs committee report ‘The UK’s relations with Turkey’ published at the end of March following eight months of review and consideration of evidence submitted by interested parties including the NUJ and the TUC.