Ayla Albayrak, a journalist with the Wall Street Journal has recently been convicted in absentia by the Erdoğan controlled Turkish court system. The trial leading to this conviction came about after she wrote a very fair and truthful article: Urban Warfare Escalates in Turkey’s Kurdish-Majority Southeast. I myself had been there around the same time (As The Tigris Weeps1, As The Tigris Weeps2, and on Youtube) If anything, she downplayed the seriousness of what is happening there. At least, that is how my memories felt as I just recently read the article that started this legal mess.
Albayrak’s response to this conviction was to say, “Given the current climate in Turkey, this appalling decision shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, but it did.” What climate is she speaking of? Well, officially there are currently 81 journalists in prison in Turkey. That’s more than anywhere else in the world. Unofficially that number is estimated to be about 150 journalists. Either way, Albayrak’s not alone. Telling the truth is a crime in Turkey. If any would dispute that claim I just have to ask. What then is her crime? Has she committed terrorist acts? Is she a burgler? Has she attempted to rob an ATM?