Sevgi Akarcesme came to UGA today to speak to student journalists about her experience as a Turkish journalist in exile.
President Donald Trump’s comments on “fake news” have brought heavy scrutiny on mainstream media outlets in the United States. Akarcesme told Grady Newsource in an interview today that she believes the attack on the media that happened in Turkey last year is similar to what is happening with the media in the U.S. today. The white house is currently in their own battle with journalists and Akarcesme says these attacks against the media should not be ignored. Media outlets such as CNN and the Washington Post have even launched campaigns in attempt to fight distrust in journalists across the country.
Turkey experienced a deadly coup attempt in July of 2016 that marked a significant turning point in Turkey’s political history. Hundreds of people were killed and over a thousand people were injured in Istanbul and Turkey’s capital Ankara. A few days after the attempted coup, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency, which allowed him to suspend normal constitutional procedures in order to regain control of the country.
In attempt to find the people who planned the coup, Erdogan put journalists in jail, blocked news outlets, and cleared thousands of government employees. Akarcesme was one of the hundreds of the Turkish journalists that were exiled. In an opinion article Akarcesme wrote for the The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/15/opinion/turkeys-intelligentsia-kneels-to-erdogan.html, she explains her experience as an exiled journalist.
Akarcesme will be touring the southeast of the U.S. for the next two weeks to share her experiences. She recently reopened her Twitter account after previously recieving death threats. You can follow her journey on Twitter at @SevgiAkarcesme.