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    Turkish journalists cover their mouths with black ribbons before the trial of Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet and Erdem Gul, the paper's Ankara representative, outside the courthouse in Istanbul, Friday, April 1, 2016

    German Press Blasts Erdogan’s Campaign Against Freedom of Speech

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    The Turkish President is behaving like a coward by launching repeated attacks against the freedom of the press, according to German media.

    The ongoing trial of four Turkish academics, whose only transgression was signing a petition denouncing the military operations conducted by Ankara in the southeastern regions of the country, serves as a sad proof of Erdogan’s desperate attempts to abolish the freedom of speech, German news magazine Stern reports.

    "Recep Tayyip Erdogan is afraid: afraid of criticism, of losing power, of the truth. Therefore, the Turkish president relentlessly pursues anyone who dares question his policies or even his personal qualities," the magazine remarks.

    According to Stern, Erdogan treated the academics' petition as a personal insult, and decided to put them on trial to show 'who’s in charge.' The Turkish president accused them of treason and aiding terrorists, even though his real motives – the fear that this petition might prompt other 'malcontents' to stand up against his policies – were pretty transparent, the author of the article argues.

    In January, 1,128 Turkish and international scientists signed the Academics for Peace petition calling for cessation of military operation in the southeast of Turkey. Turkish authorities responded swiftly through opening cases against about 507 of the signatories, putting some of the most prominent of them on trial.

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    academics, freedom of the press, trial, freedom of speech, accusations, petition, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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