Recently, Donald Trump had an angry exchange of words with a CNN reporter during his first official news conference as president-elect following the release of an "explosive" report. The president-elect shut down the reporter, saying that CNN was publishing fake news.
While the unfortunate event was not appreciated by many, Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan praised Trump for his aggressive tone toward CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
While addressing a meeting in Ankara, the president said that some organizations attacked Turkey’s unity and solidarity during the PKK’s (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) terror campaigns and 2013 Gazi protests. He added that the same media organization carried out similar attack plan in the United States by publishing false information.
Erdogan said Trump was right to shut down Acosta’s question because international media organizations such as CNN actively seek to undermine national unity.
The two leaders do have a very rocky past. In July, Erdogan demanded that Trump’s name be removed from Istanbul's Trump Towers because of his disparaging remarks about Islam.
But after Trump’s victory in U.S. elections Erdogan called protests calling his victory "disrespect to democracy."
The Turkish president is no friend of the media as well. Turkey remains under a state of emergency imposed after a failed coup in July, which allows Erdogan and his government to bypass parliament when drafting new laws and to restrict or suspend rights and freedoms. Recently, the state of emergency was extended for another three months.
Following the emergency, restrictions on social media and the internet were also seen.
In 2016, access to social media websites such as, Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp was blocked in Turkey after arrest of opposition leaders. Internet restrictions are used in Turkey to suppress media coverage of political incidents, a form of censorship deployed at short notice to prevent civil unrest.
Last year in December, Turkey's authoritarian government also imposed a temporary blackout on media coverage of the Russian ambassador's shooting. Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was shot dead in Ankara but only stories allowed to be reported are ones from the government.
The Turkish government had also pulled a television station from the airwaves, continuing its crackdown on independent media citing allegations citing allegations of spreading terrorist propaganda.
In 2015, two bombs went off at a peace rally in Ankara. Authorities were quick to issue orders on how to cover the attacks, forbidding publication of pictures of the bombs. Internet providers were reportedly told to slow down social media sites.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters