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Brussels, 3 March 2011

Statement by Commissioner Stefan Füle on the situation of media freedom in Turkey

''The Commission is following with concern the recent police actions against journalists, including the detention today of Nedim Şener, Ahmet Şık and others and the arrests last week of ODA TV site administrators Soner Yalçın, Barış Terkoğlu and Barış Pehlivan.

The Commission has in its progress report highlighted the high number of court cases against journalists and undue pressure on the media which undermine freedom of the press in practice. Turkish law does not sufficiently guarantee freedom of expression in line with the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights.

Freedom of expression and freedom of the media are fundamental principles which should be upheld in all modern democracies. As a candidate country, we expect Turkey to implement such core democratic principles and enable varied, pluralistic debate in public space. Turkey urgently needs to amend its legal framework to improve the exercise of freedom of the press in practice and in a significant manner.''

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