President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the local election a matter of “national survival”. His opponents were called terrorists and traitors. His grip on the media resulted in overwhelming positive coverage in the run-up to the election. Yet although his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) nationally won just over 51% of the votes on an 84% turnout, the loss of major cities is a moment of truth for Turkey’s authoritarian president. Ankara, the capital was won by the opposition secular Republican People’s Party (CHP). Istanbul, Erdoğan’s birthplace and former stronghold, is holding a recount demanded by the President. So far the CHP maintains its narrow lead.
Today is municipal election day in Turkey when voters elect local mayors and councillors. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the poll is about the “survival” of the country and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). Turkey is in recession, with 20% inflation and the lira which has plunged by a third in value, is causing bankruptcies. The result will be as a referendum on President Erdogan’s record and he knows it. One journalist who will not be covering the elections is NUJ member and Morning Star international editor Steve Sweeney. Last week he flew out to Istanbul, but on arrival at the airport he was detained without explanation, questioned, branded a terrorist and deported. Steve takes up the story: Continue reading NUJ member harassed and detained then deported by Turkish authorities for just doing his job
On 12 March 2018 the BBC website reported on the harassment of its Persian staff. It stated that it was making an unprecedented appeal to the UN to stop Iran from harassing its Persian service staff in London and their families in Iran. It said that Iran had intensified its campaign of intimidation, including threats, arrests of relatives and travel bans. According to the broadcaster, Iran began targeting the BBC’s Persian service after the disputed 2009 presidential election, when Tehran accused foreign powers of interference. The Iranian government disputed the allegations and accused BBC Persian of spreading false information to encourage the overthrow of the regime. Continue reading Stop the harassment of BBC Persian staff