As monitored attentively at the festival over the past few years, a perfect storm had been brewing over freedom of expression and independent media in Turkey. It erupted fully after the coup attempt in summer 2016 with mass firings numbering thousands, with the unprecedented arrests of editors, reporters and columnists and with nearly 200 private media outlets shut down. The Turkish media sector is in ruins.
The country under the iron rule of President Erdoğan has turned into a black hole for freedoms and rights, where journalism is the prime victim, and where reporting the facts equates to a criminal act and genuine public debate has ceased to exist. By way of the punitive measures of all sorts fiercely applied, it is now a laboratory of nightmares.
What are the lessons of the late Erdoğan era for journalists in Europe and the rest of the world? Is the Turkish experience likely to have an impact on potentially authoritarian leaders creeping into the domain of democracies? If there is still hope for Turkey?