A Turkish court this week convicted Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak under an anti-terrorism law for supposedly propagandizing on behalf of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
This, for simply reporting on August 2015 fighting in the remote, Kurdish-majority city Silopi, near the Syrian and Iraqi borders.
Albayrak, a Turkish and Finnish dual citizen, was convicted in absentia: She is safe in New York. And the Journal (owned, like The Post, by News Corp) is standing by her.
“This was an unfounded criminal charge and wildly inappropriate conviction that wrongly singled out a balanced Wall Street Journal report,” noted the paper’s editor-in-chief, Gerard Baker. “The sole purpose of the article was to provide objective and independent reporting on events in Turkey, and it succeeded.”
Plainly, Erdogan above all wants to crush “objective and independent reporting on events in Turkey.” The media there already don’t dare criticize him, and now he’s looking to muzzle the rest of the world.
Turkey is the world leader in imprisoned reporters, with 81 behind bars. And the tyrant’s excuse for it is laughable.
At last month’s Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York, he said: “The ones who have been sentenced, who have been imprisoned, are not journalists. Most of them are terrorists. Many have been involved in burglaries and some have been caught red-handed as they were trying to empty ATM machines.”
The West is on notice: Freedom is dead in Turkey.