The Radio and Televison Supreme Council (RTÜK) in Turkey gave 72 hours to three Europe-based news websites to apply for license, and decided that access to the sites would be blocked if they haven’t, said a member of RTÜK on Wednesday.
İlhan Taşçı, known for his opposition to council decisions that have always been in complete accordance with the administration of president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said on Twitter:
“This is the first time RTÜK is using its authority to exercise control over international websites. By a majority decision at the council, the sites, Voice of America Turkish, Deutsche Welle Turkish and Euronews Turkish have been given 72 hours to apply for license. Those who haven’t applied will be blocked to access. Now the time has come to control and silence the international media outlets after it’s been done with the national media (…) The target is press freedom and diversity of opinion. They want the media to be silent and not voice criticism.”
A response to RTÜK’s decision came from the Voice of America (VOA) on Thursday. VOA spokesperson Bridget Serchak said that they would do everything in their capacity to have free access to the site in case the Turkish administration decided to block, adding that such an attempt would be a violation of press freedom that was of fundamental value for all democratic societies.
Deutsche Welle (DW), based in Germany, said that they haven’t received an official statement from RTÜK. “We may decide what to do once we receive it,” it noted.
Euronews, based in France, has not commented on the RTÜK decision as of yet.