‘So to Speak’ Podcast: The ‘Turkey Purge’ with Mahir Zeynalov & Beth Baron [UPDATED]

January 27, 2017

If you care about free expression, you should care about what’s happening in Turkey.

Since a failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish government has intensified the use of emergency decrees and laws against terrorist propaganda and insulting the president to purge perceived dissenters from civil society.

Since the purge began, reports from turkeypurge.com estimate that more than 123,000 Turks have been fired from their jobs, more than 42,000 people have been arrested—including more than 150 journalists, approximately 150 news outlets have been shuttered, and 6,900 academics have lost their jobs.

On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we are joined by journalist Mahir Zeynalov. Zeynalov writes for The Huffington Post and Al Arabiya, and was deported from Turkey in 2014 for criticism of the government. He faces arrest if he ever returns.

During the show, we speak with Zeynalov about the mind-boggling number of journalists, academics, and civil servants purged from Turkish civil society, what the international community can do to help, and the confusing populist support that Erdoğan has within Turkey.

If you enjoy—or are frightened by—our conversation with Zeynalov and want to learn more about the situation in Turkey, you can now hear our first-ever So to Speak “extra”: a conversation with Middle East Studies Association President Beth Baron, whose organization has sounded the alarm bells about the threat to academic freedom in Turkey.

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