US State Department criticized Turkey over attempts to intimidate and threaten a New York Times correspondent whose reporting about Turks recruited by Daesh has deeply offended Turkey’s president.
Personal attacks conveyed through email and Twitter aimed at the correspondent, Ceylan Yeginsu, have intensified in Turkey since the publication of her article on Tuesday about Daesh's recruitment efforts, the New York Times reported.
The paper added that a Turkish newspapers controlled by allies of the president Recep Tayyip Erdogan published front-page photographs of Yeginsu and asserted that she was a traitor and foreign agent who was seeking to falsely imply that Erdogan is a closet supporter of Daesh.
The Times has stood by the reporting in Yeginsu’s article, called the intimidation efforts against her in Turkey unacceptable, and requested that the Turkish authorities take steps to ensure the safety of its journalists working legally in the country.
"We have seen reports of efforts to intimidate a New York Times journalist in Turkey", the State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. "Singling out individual journalists endangers their safety and puts them at risk of retaliation".
Psaki also said: "Such intimidation is contrary to Turkey’s own expressed desire to be a model of democracy and to uphold the highest democratic standards. An independent and unfettered media is an essential element of democratic, open societies".
Times executive editor Dean Baquet also issued a statement that the article never said or implied that Erdogan supported Daesh or condoned its recruitment in Turkey.