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La Repubblica - Italy | Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The iron fist of Sultan Erdoğan

The Turkish government presented a secret service law two weeks ago that would give the intelligence agency MIT new powers. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is ruling with an iron fist, the left-liberal daily La Repubblica frets: "Plagued by merciless critics who compare him with a dictator or a despot, the prime minister, who has ruled the country with 50 percent of the vote for 12 years, has passed one gag law after another in recent weeks. First came a decree allowing the government to block websites, then restrictions on the independence of the judges. Now there's the draft legislation giving the MIT special powers and putting the agency directly under Erdoğan's control. With a record number of journalists recently put behind bars and the order to Google to block 12,000 websites, Turkey has become the country with the highest number of journalists in prison (more than in Iran or China) and the number one regarding Internet control. Embarrassing facts for an EU membership candidate that claims to be democratic."

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