Early morning on Valentine's Day, Istanbul's police stormed the homes of editors of a very influencial dissident website. Odatv.com, owned by journalist and writer Soner Yalçin was targeted after spotlighting the police abuses in recent court cases.
This is not Prime Minister Erdogan's first attempt to silence the media. Within a year, four respected columnists were forced to resign or were fired after criticizing the AKP government. More than 100 journalists are currently in jail for charges some of them don't even know. Not a week passes by without Erdogan winning a hefty sum in a libel case against a journalist or a cartoonist.
What makes this case unique is this is the first attempt to crush websites. While most papers and TV channels carefully avoided reporting, Odatv.com was one the first news websites that openly wrote the Wikileaks Cables that unveiled AKP's corrupt practices. It also documented very shady court and police practices in critical political charged cases.
Ironically, while Erdogan and his ministers were embracing the "social media revolution" and the WikiLeaks effect in Egypt and Maghreb, they chose to establish a Saddamesque "republic of fear" inside Turkey.
Random arrests, planted evidence, character assassination through media became common practises under the AKP rule. Sadly, after the recent legislative maneuvering, even Judges have to be in the same boat with AKP or they can choose another job.
This is the new Turkey for the U.S.A. This is the new reality. Writers and journalists hope President Obama and Secretary Clinton apply the same standards they held in the Egyptian revolution. More, not less freedom. On the streets and on the web.