Ahead of Visit, Tunisian Journalists Protest Erdogan’s Press Crackdown

Ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to their country, Tunisian journalists staged a peaceful protest to stand in solidarity with their Turkish colleagues who have been jailed in droves in a sweeping crackdown on the press both before and after a failed coup last year.

President Erdogan landed in Tunis, his third and last stop in a three-country African tour, on Wednesday.  The Turkish leader met with his Tunisian counterpart Beji Caid Essebsi and was expected to meet with Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and other senior politicians.

As part of the visit, the Turkish president was scheduled to attend an economic forum that would bring together hundreds of Turkish and Tunisian businessmen.

On Tuesday, a day before his landing in the Tunisian capital, the National Union of Tunisian Journalists came together to protest Mr. Erdogan’s unrelenting crackdown on journalists and media outlets.

More than 150 journalists are behind bars in Turkey, according to Istanbul-based P24. New York-based The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) gives a much smaller figure and says 73 journalists are in prison. Still, Turkey remains the top jailer of journalists in the world, according to the media watchdog.

Tunisia, the cradle of Arab Spring, has gone through political upheavals and transformation in a drive to democracy since 2010. The North African country evaded the political violence that swept other Arab countries during and in aftermath of Arab Spring and managed to hold democracy in place.

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