The Journalist Who Was Forced To Flee Turkey... For The Crime Of Criticising The President

14 May 2018, 11:41

A Turkish journalist told LBC how he was forced to flee the country in fear for his life... simply for criticising the President.

Britain is rolling out the red carpet for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, as he makes a three-day visit for talks over a post-Brexit trade deal.

James O'Brien suggested that the same level of protests expected for Donald Trump should also be seen for the Turkish President, who has overseen torture and a brutal military operation against the Kurds.

He also mentioned that Erdogan has locked up journalists, simply for disagreeing this him. And that led Kerim Balci to call in.

James O'Brien got a call from Kerim Balci
James O'Brien got a call from Kerim Balci. Picture: LBC / Twitter

Kerim was a journalist in Turkey for the biggest-selling newspaper in the country, which was taken over by the government.

He was blacklisted by the government in 2014, forcing him to leave the country.

"The Turkish prosecutor claims that by writing columns critical of the President and speaking on YouTube videos being critical of the Turkish regime, I was disseminating subliminal messages to the Turkish public, declaring them for military intervention," he told LBC.

"The Turkish prosecutor asked for three successive life terms for me because of one YouTube appearance and two columns."

James asked about the strength of his criticism and he explained: "On the night of the coup, I was speaking on a live broadcast on YouTube. Erdogan knew things were under control and there were more armed police than soldiers on the streets.

"Despite this, he wanted people to clash with the army and 250 people were killed on that night, because of that call.

"I said this man is willing to have more people killed on the streets for his own end.

"By this criticism, the prosecutor claims I was trying to convince the Turkish people not to go on to the streets.

"Only 300 people were watching my YouTube broadcast."