After working as a respected journalist for 25 years in numerous capacities, including a stint as a columnist at one of Turkey’s largest newspapers, Serdar Akinan found himself in early 2013 at a career crossroads: would he continue working in the mainstream Turkish media or open up a pizza place?
It would be hard to blame Akinan for wanting to get out of his profession. Over the last few years, Turkey has become an increasingly unpleasant place for journalists, with columnists and reporters regularly getting fired for being too critical of the government. In Akinan’s case, he found himself out of work two years ago after being unceremoniously fired by Akşam, a major newspaper, for writing columns that he believes led to complaints from the office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
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Yigal Schleifer is a freelance journalist who specializes in Turkish affairs.