Number 237 | July 24, 2013
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday threatened to sue the Times of London for publishing an open letter criticizing his handling of anti-government protests.
Prime Minister Erdogan accused the Times of "renting out its pages for money" and stated that if the signatories of the letter “truly believed in democracy, they couldn't have displayed such a lack of character to call the leader of a party that won 50 percent of the vote a dictator.”
Hollywood celebrities and academics were among those who signed the letter accusing Turkey's government of "dictatorial rule". The letter also criticized Erdogan of undermining the principles of a free press for jailing dozens of journalists in recent years.
The Times has thus far not commented on Erdogan's remarks.
The wave of unrest in Turkey was sparked by demonstrations in May against controversial plans to redevelop Istanbul's Gezi Park. The heavy-handed response by government authorities subsequently led to nation-wide reaction fueled by disenfranchisement over the governing style of the AKP leadership.