Turkey moves to prosecute Bloomberg reporters
A Turkish court has accepted a request to prosecute two Bloomberg reporters and 36 others after Turkey’s banking monitoring agency, the BDDK, filed a complaint about the journalists.
Bloomberg in August last year published an article about the effects of the Turkish lira’s crash and how the authorities and banks were responding.
Questions about the central bank’s independence, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ill-advised meddling in the economy and Turkey’s worsening relationship with the US sparked a currency crisis last year in which the lira lost nearly 30 per cent of its value.
Bloomberg correspondents Kerim Karakaya and Fercan Yalinkilic are accused of trying to undermine national economic stability, which could bring a jail sentence of two to five years.
The other 36 defendants face charges surrounding social media comments on the financial story or for making comments seen as detrimental to the Turkish economy, the indictment stated.
The BDDK said: “The necessary legal avenues will be resorted to in the future concerning similar publications that could damage the prestige of our banks and our economy or harm our sector.”
Separately, the Turkish securities markets watchdog, the Capital Markets Board, said it filed a criminal complaint to the Istanbul judicial authorities regarding various social media posts which aimed to create tension in markets and harm investors.
The trial is expected to start on September 20, Bloomberg reported.
“We condemn the indictment issued against our reporters, who have reported fairly and accurately on newsworthy events,” Bloomberg editor John Micklethwait said. “We fully stand by them and will support them throughout this ordeal.”
Turkey’s Interior Ministry said in 2018 that it had identified 346 social media accounts carrying posts about exchange rates which it said created a negative perception of the economy.
On a more positive note, Turkey is adding the third most forest in the world, after China and India, according to Turkey’s forestry minister.
In the last 30 years, Turkey has increased its forests by 6 per cent, the minister Bekir Pakdemirli told the pro-government Anadolu Agency.
Globally, the area covered by forest had shrunk over the last decade by an average of 5.2 million hectares annually, Pakdemirli added.
Tree planting, erosion control and rehabilitation efforts had pushed Turkey to the top of the list and the projects would continue, he said.
Projects include flood control, avalanche defences, landslide hazard maps, watershed rehabilitation, soil conservation and wildlife corridors, Pakdemirli added.
Turkey’s media independence has been crushed under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Picture credit: Eurasia Times