Protesters in Istanbul during a demonstration against the Turkish government's
Ankara - AFP
The Turkish government on Tuesday rejected Western criticism over the state of press freedom in the country after claims of media intimidation during the weekend election.
"There is no pressure on the media. Nobody is forced to be silent in this country," Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan said in a television interview, while warning that the media could not enjoy limitless immunity.
The White House on Monday voiced concerns at the "intimidation" of Turkish journalists during the campaign for Sunday's election that bolstered the already strong hand of longtime leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP).
International observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also charged that the vote was marred by a media crackdown, violence and other security concerns.
On Monday, police arrested the editor of Istanbul-based magazine Nokta over a cover story on the AKP win entitled: "The start of civil war in Turkey."
The magazine, which was raided in September by the authorities for another cover satirising Erdogan, is accused of inciting the public to commit a crime.
"Are you serving democracy, or a coup?" Akdogan said in the interview with NTV television, referring to Nokta.
"Press morality goes hand-in-hand with the press freedom," he said.
"You will insult everyone, you will attempt to topple governments, you will try to confiscate the biggest companies and then you will go and shout. There cannot be such a thing."
There has been a series of incidents over the past few months including attacks on the offices of the Hurriyet newspaper and an assault on a leading journalist, Ahmet Hakan, as well as the arrest and detention of journalists working for Vice News.
Just days ahead of the election, riot police stormed two television stations by the Koza-Ipek conglomerate over its links with a US-exiled cleric who is now Erdogan's archfoe, action that caused global alarm.