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ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the country’s media of trying to undermine a nascent Kurdish peace process and called on journalists to censor themselves if they love their nation, prompting a rare rebuke from a normally compliant press.
In a heated public speech over the weekend, Erdogan condemned an article in the daily Milliyet newspaper, which published a transcript of a meeting last month between militant chief Abdullah Ocalan and Kurdish politicians.
Ocalan, head of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), has been holding peace talks with Turkey since October on his island prison and met a delegation of Kurdish politicians late last month to discuss the negotiations.
The transcript, confirmed by a party to the talks, revealed the apparent frustrations of Ocalan — in captivity since 1999 — with the frail peace process and a warning to the government against any attempt to dictate terms.
“If you are going to conduct this kind of journalism, then we don’t need your journalism. We want a service to this nation. Whoever is working to sabotage this resolution process is against me, my friends and the government,” Erdogan said.
It was not the first time the often fiery Turkish leader has berated the press in a country which rights groups say has one of the worst records for media freedom. Reuters