Dublin protest highlights plight of Turkish journalists
24 August 2016
A delegation from the National Union of Journalists met the First Counsellor of the Turkish Embassy in Dublin to highlight growing concern at the crackdown on media freedom in Turkey.
Séamus Dooley , NUJ Irish Secretary, said the meeting had confirmed the union’s fears that the Turkish government is abusing emergency powers to justify the oppression of the media. Following the meeting, Gerry Carson, cathaoirleach (chair) of the union’s Irish Executive Council welcomed the commitment of Turkish First Counsellor Isil Gurler Íleri to maintain contact with the union, which intends raising specific cases of human rights abuses in the coming weeks.
NUJ Executive Council members Barry McCall, Emma O’Kelly and Paula Geraghty attended the meeting, which was preceded by a symbolic protest outside the embassy at Raglan Road, Dublin. The cathaoirleach told the First Counsellor:
“The Nation Union of Journalists is gravely concerned at the actions of your government in seeking to thwart media freedom.
"There can be no justification for this attack on democracy and the government of the Republic of Turkey cannot hide behind a defence of democracy to justify the actions we have seen in recent months.
"We welcome the willingness to meet us and to keep the channels of communications open but we remain concerned at the official attitude to journalists in Turkey.”
Séamus Dooley presented the First Counsellor with a dossier setting out the abuse of journalists in recent months, including the account provided by journalists union Disk Basin-Is of the experience of journalists arrested on 10 August. He said:
“These examples are disturbing and speak of an official attitude to journalists which is of grave concern to all who care about democracy.”
The delegation also expressed concern at the banning of Ozgur Gundem, the pro-Kurdish daily, which was outlawed and all its journalists taken into custody and tortured.
Twenty two journalists were released but editor-in-chief, Inan Kkızılkaya and executive editor Bilir Zana, are still in custody and one member of its advisory board, Aslı Erdogan, a renowned writer of literature, was subsequently arrested.
Séamus Dooley said that as a trade union the NUJ was also gravely concerned at the decision to prosecute Disk Basin-Is officials for expressing solidarity with journalists at Ozgür Gündem.
The first trial of board member Ayşe Düzkan is due on 20th September.