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Journalists targeted in Taksim Square crackdown in Turkey

17 June 2013

At least four journalists were arrested, photographers had their pictures deleted and cameramen were targeted by tear gas and water cannon during the crackdown on the Taksim Square protesters over the weekend.

The Turkish Journalists Syndicate (TGS) has also reported that, in a more sinister move, four TV companies have been fined by the Radio and Television High Council over their reporting of the demonstrations while the Daily Taraf publication has also been banned.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its regional group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), unreservedly condemned the violence and arrests of journalists that took place. According to the TGS, journalists who were arrested include Ferhat Uludaglar, Gokhan Bicici and Ugur Can all of Dogan News Agency, and Okan Altunkara of IMC TV. The police forcibly deleted the images of photojournalist Cem Turkel of Aksam daily.

The IFJ affiliate in Portugal, the Sindicato Dos Jornalistas (SDJ) also accused Turkish Police of assaulting Portuguese journalist Paulo Moura. The union said that he was attacked in the Taksim Square despite the fact that he identified himself as a journalist to security forces.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to investigate social media and national media publishing photos on the demonstrations and the violence.

Jim Boumelha, IFJ President, said:

"The Turkish government must stop targeting and intimidating journalists and allow them to report protests without fear and censorship. We therefore call on the authorities to respect the right of journalists and its citizens to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration."

In a letter sent to journalists' unions across the world, the IFJ and EFJ urge national governments and European institutions to take immediate actions to stop the crackdown from escalating.

Turkey has the largest number of journalists in jail, at least 60, and facing prosecution under one of the most draconian anti-terror legislations in the world.

NUJ Action: Please write to your national government and European politcial representatives and institutions calling on them to take immediate actions to stop the crackdown from escalating - IFJ model letter.

Tags: , Turkey, press freedom, taksim square, IFJ, EFJ