The Association of European Journalists is studying several collaboration projects with the Izmir Journalists' Association, Turkey, which aim to improve the working conditions of colleagues and media in that region and throughout Turkey under pressure from the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and to support the creation of an International Press Academy in Izmir.
Representatives of the Izmir Journalists' Association, headed by its president Dilek Gappi, and members of the European Journalists' Association, such as the vice-president, Javier Fernández Arribas, and the head of the Turkish section, Dogan Tilic, held a productive meeting in Izmir where they were able to go over some options for collaboration, such as the support and solidarity of the AEJ for Turkish journalists who fear greater repression when doing their work with a new media law that the government is finalising.
Unemployment caused by the country's economic crisis due to the disastrous economic management of Erdogan's central government is one of the main problems of the independent private media that have not been taken over by the president's entourage.
Gappi explained to AEJ colleagues that Izmir is a place with a huge potential for development, with an impressive historical past, gave details of the projects they are developing with the support of the European Union and the Netherlands and offered AEJ the option of participating in the creation of an International Press Academy.
This major project has the support of the mayor of Izmir, Tunç Soyer, from the opposition party to President Erdogan, who has assured that it will soon be operational in order to offer journalists the opportunity for international training and the opportunity to join forces, as well as to achieve the objective of creating, within the Academy, a network of media in Mediterranean cities.
Fernández Arribas undertook to convey to the institutions of the European Union the need for professional, political and financial support needed by journalists in Turkey and, in particular, the Izmir Journalists' Association, and assured the support of the AEJ for the creation and promotion of the International Press Academy in Izmir.