Erdoğan criticizes international media for silence on France media blockade

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday accused the international media of remaining silent on France’s media blockade and criticized his one-sided stance towards Turkey.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the TRT World Forum, Erdoğan said the international media is acting hypocritically towards Turkey, trying to distort the realities of the country while neglecting many alarming practices in European states. like France.

“Especially since the Gezi events of 2013, our country has faced a gravely unfair stance and double standards. Those who set the streets ablaze have been portrayed as peaceful protesters by international media which broadcast live for 24 hours. hours, “said the president. .

He added that a similar position also holds for terrorists who kill hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria and yet have found a place for themselves on the covers of so-called “prestigious” Western magazines.

“However, when similar events take place in various European states, those who have dared to teach us a lesson in press freedom are playing their ostrich. They have ignored the yellow vest protests that have lasted for months in the center. of Paris. They never mentioned the French police. A disproportionate intervention by the officers who blinded the demonstrators. They did not say a word about the blockade of French state institutions on the media, “he underlined.

The French government has dropped a controversial bill that would have restricted the right to film police officers in action, the chairman of French President‘s ruling party Emmanuel Macron said on Monday.

Last Tuesday, the lower house of parliament gave initial approval to a security bill that would restrict the posting of photos or videos of police faces, though it still faces other legislative hurdles.

French activists feared the security bill would deprive them of a powerful weapon against abuse – videos of police activity on cellphones – threatening their efforts to document possible cases of police brutality, particularly in poor immigrant neighborhoods.

Tens of thousands of people across France demonstrated against the bill on Saturday.

French The government is under increasing pressure to respond to long-standing accusations of excessive violence by the police, especially against minorities. Some Black Lives Matter protests erupted in Paris in June, a month after George Floyd’s death after a white policeman knelt by his neck on a street in the US city of Minneapolis for nearly nine minutes during his arrest.

The outrage generated by Floyd’s death resonated in France, particularly in the underprivileged suburbs of cities where the police often confront young people from ethnic minorities. Protests in Paris in June focused on unresolved cases of people who died in police operations, such as Adama Traoré, who died in police custody near Paris in 2016. Young people from working-class French suburbs with large immigrant populations are complaining for a long time from the police. violence, with complaints on the first lockdown earlier this year. Racist remarks allegedly made by police in a Facebook group also sparked outrage.

The media’s tendency to deliberately turn a blind eye to the French government‘s attempt to erode press freedom has been one of Erdoğan’s main topics of discussion recently.

“Western media are Islamophobic”

Emphasizing that a similar double standard is also being imposed on “Israeli state terror of the Palestinians,” Erdoğan said in Tuesday’s speech that Western media never mentions the unjust suffering of Palestinian children at the hands of Palestinians. Israel.

“Just a few days ago, an ambulance carrying an injured Palestinian leaned over and they took the person into custody. And no reaction came from the international media, ”he said. Erdoğan added that he too is the victim of “disgusting headlines” from this “biased” media.

“It is really embarrassing for the media to carry Islamophobic and xenophobic banners,” said the president.

Erdoğan also warned that if no one says ‘stop’ to this trend in the international media, then “not only Europe but all of humanity will suffer the consequences.”

Many experts express that Islamophobia is deepening in Europe with the populist speeches and policies of politicians like Macron and Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz. Both men are believed to have embraced far-right arguments and implemented laws restricting fundamental rights of Muslims.

Islamophobia in France has turned violent, as was demonstrated in an incident where police treated four Muslim children, including three Turks, as terrorists, detaining the 12-year-old schoolchildren for 11 hours and opening an investigation into them on suspicion of “terrorism” “propaganda. France has the largest Muslim minority in Western Europe, nearly 5 million.

Digitization needs control

Another major topic that the President spoke highly of was the uncontrolled digitization of the media and its possible dangers.

“Digitization will lead us towards fascism if it is seen as an area without control, open to arbitrariness, outside the law,” Erdoğan said, adding that under the principle of “unlimited freedom”, new victims appear every day.

He cited “cyberbullying” as one of the main reasons for many psychological and social problems. “The victims cannot find any authority or legal institution to assert their rights. A system where the one who commits the crime gets away with it cannot be called freedom, ”the president continued.

“Digitization widens the field of freedom, it should not lead to new inequalities, injustices, marginalizations”, he declared.

Criticizing social media platforms for failing to even try to prevent growing injustices, Erdoğan said that when states take action to protect their citizens, they immediately face allegations of restriction of freedoms.

“As Turkey, we mentioned the injustices on this issue and stressed that no company is above the law,” he added.

In July, parliament ratified the Social Media Regulation Bill, forcing platforms to comply with conditions or face fines and reduced bandwidth.

The government says the legislation was needed to fight cybercrime and protect users.

The bill sets out a formal definition of social media providers and aims to designate a representative responsible for investigating and prosecuting violations on the platforms.

It defines real or legal entities that allow users to create, monitor or share online content such as text, visual content, voice recordings and locations for social interaction as social media providers.

Under the bill, overseas-based social media providers who have more than one million daily visitors to Turkey would have to appoint at least one representative in the country.

The representative is responsible for responding to individual requests for removal of content that violates privacy and personal rights within 48 hours or for providing reasons for rejection. The company is held responsible for damages if content is not removed or blocked within 24 hours.

“Our wish is to see the support of these companies which see themselves outside the law to respect the well-intentioned attempts of our country”, underlined the president and continued: “Otherwise, Turkey will continue to protect the laws of its citizens in all circumstances. “

This year’s TRT Global Forum, hosted by the English-language service of state broadcaster TRT, is under the theme “Changing Dynamics: International Order in a Post-Pandemic World”.

Noting that the two-day online forum will include sessions on topics ranging from digitization to technology, trade with Syria and Yemen to clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh, Erdoğan wished the event every success in his remarks. finals.


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