ANKARA, Turkey, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A free speech group Monday condemned the Turkish government's attempts to tamp down on journalists who are critical of public officials.
Freedom House released a report detailing instances in which journalists have been intimidated or fired as a result of publishing critical reports about the government. The situation has worsened since a large corruption scandal was publicized in December, the group said.
Today's Zaman said the report shows clearly the lengths to which government officials will go to stifle dissent, including strong-arm tactics, eavesdropping and bribery.
"The crisis in Turkey's democracy is not a future problem," said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House and a co-author of the report. "The media face tremendous pressure from the government, and the government now has widened its attacks to other institutions."
Kramer said the tactics put at risk Turkey's desire to join the European Union and the country's longstanding alliance with the United States.