Erdogan: Turkey’s press more free than Israel’s

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday rejected growing criticism that his government was muzzling the press, saying many Western countries had even worse records on media freedom, including Israel, Germany and the United States.

Erdogan’s speech to parliament followed a report by the US-based watchdog Freedom House earlier this month, which downgraded Turkey’s status from “partly free” to “not free” and said the country had seen the biggest decline in press freedom in Europe.

“Those who say that there is no press freedom in Turkey should take a look at the headlines of the daily newspapers in Turkey. A significant number of them systematically insult the government,” he told parliament.