The recent dismissals of several high-profile journalists in Turkey are sending a clear message to all those working for mass media outlets: criticize Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government's policies at your own risk.
According to the Turkish Union of Journalists (TGS), 60 journalists have been fired or have resigned following the Gezi Park protests, during which tens of thousands of Turks assailed what they saw as Erdoğan’s authoritarian governing style. “The ones who are being dismissed are the ones who have covered the protests in a way that is either independent or sympathetic to the opposition," said Nina Ognianova, the Europe and Central Asia program coordinator at the New-York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
Although Turkey has an ample number of independently owned media outlets, the dismissals suggest that some owners don’t want to risk angering the government, apparently out of a desire not to damage relationships with state-run entities and agencies.
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Justin Vela is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.