Interior Minister Besir Atalay said Thursday that Turkey enjoyed greater press freedom than the United States. “Turkey has a distinguished Press Law, and there is much more freedom of press in Turkey than other democratic countries in the world” the Anadolu state news agency quoted him as saying in Ankara. “With regard to press freedom, it’s much better in Turkey than in the United States.”
The facts belie this absurd claim, however.
In its annual “world press freedom index,” the Paris-based organization Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkey 138th out of 178 countries last year. The U.S. was in 20th place.
The index, which is based on 43 criteria assessing the state of press freedom in each country, has been compiled every year since 2002. Turkey’s ranking over that period has dropped from a high of 98 in 2005 to 103 in 2008, 123 in 2009 and 138 in 2010.