A delegation from the NUJ visited the Turkish consulate and embassy to deliver letters addressed to the Turkish authorities calling for the release of the 76 journalists in jail in Turkey.
The letters asked the Turkish ambassador in the UK Ahmet Ünal Çeviköz to convey to his Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the call by UK and Irish journalists for all charges against their Turkish colleagues to be dropped and that all journalists in jail should be released forthwith.
Barry Fitzpatrick, Jim Boumelha and Barry White at the Turkish consulate
Photo: Andrew Wiard
The NUJ reiterated the comments made by Stefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement, sent to the EFJ last October 9th that "that Turkey's wide application of the laws on terrorism and organised crime is particularly worrisome leading to recurring infringements of the right to liberty and security, of the right to a fair trial and of freedom of expression, assembly and association". Independent journalism in Turkey cannot survive unless action is taken to halt the use of anti-terror laws to silence journalists, concluded the letters.
At the consulate in Rutland Gardens, Knightsbridge, the delegation was welcomed by staff who assured NUJ officials that their letter would be delivered to their authorities. At the embassy in Belgrave Square, the reaction was more frosty as Turkish officials refused to open the door or receive the letter, despite the NUJ Deputy General Secretary, Barry Fitzpatrick, insisting to be received. In the end, he had to push the letter under the door.
The NUJ has already decided to adopt one of the imprisoned journalists, Müyesser Yildiz, who worked at Oda TV. She was released on 18th June and is awaiting trial. The next step by the NUJ would be for a representative, Barry White, to attend the Oda TV trial on 16th November in Istanbul to observe the proceedings and further raise awareness of the world's biggest anti-press campaign in recent years.
According to the current figures given by the Turkish Justice ministry 683 detainees in 66 prisons on indefinite hunger strike. The list of 683 hunger strikers includes at least 9 imprisoned journalists:
Tayyip Temel (Azadiya Welat) on hunger strike since 12 September 2012 at Diyarbakir D Type Prison
Fatma Koçak (Dicle News Agency) on hunger strike since 24 September 2012 at Bakirkoy Women's Prison
Ayse Oyman (Ozgur Gundem) on hunger strike since 24 September 2012 at Bakirkoy Women's Prison
Pervin Yerlikaya Babir (Dicle News Agency) on hunger strike since 15 October 2012 at Bakirkoy Women's Prison
Faysal Tunc (Dicle News Agency) on hunger strike since 15 October 2012 at Rize Kalkendere L Type prison
Selahattin Aslan (Demokratik Modernite) on hunger strike since 15 October 2012 at Kandira 2, F type prison
Mehmet Emin Yildirim (Azadiya Welat) on hunger strike since 22 October 2012 at Kandira 1,F type prison
Sahabettin Demir (Dicle News Agency) on hunger strike since 15 October 2012 at Giresun E type prison
Omer Faruk Caliskan (Özgür Halk) on hunger strike since (?) at Kandira 2, F Type prison
The situation for hunger strikers is very serious. Those who started the strike have reached their 51st day of hunger today (Thursday 1 November 2012).
For further information please contact Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ Deputy General Secretary on 07764 5871 or Barry White on 07774 607419. Read more about the Turkey campaign on the EFJ website