In remarks that apparently underlined the risks of being a journalist in Turkey nowadays, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has told a young student who wants to study journalism at university to take the risk of going to jail first.
Kılıçdaroğlu met with young people at the Ferhatpaşa Youth Center at Ataşehir Municipality in İstanbul on Saturday.
The CHP leader asked the high schools students there in what field they would like to study at university. When of the students said she wants to study journalism, Kılıçdaroğlu replied, “Nice. Then, book yourself a place in prison.”
Another student said she wants to study politics. In response, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “A dangerous field but you should all show interest in politics.”
There are currently around 155 arrested journalists in Turkey, which makes the country the top jailer of journalists in the world. The Turkish government’s crackdown on independent and critical journalists has culminated in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15. Hundreds of media outlets have also been closed down by the government as part of its post-purge crackdown.
Earlier this month, Turkey also arrested 10 deputies from the country’s second largest opposition, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). The party’s co-chairs are among the arrested.