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NUJ 'deplores' arrests of Turkish media workers

15 December 2014

The NUJ, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have condemned the shock raid on Zaman newspaper and Samanyolu TV media, which resulted in the arrest of at least 23 journalists, editors and media executives.

Jim Boumelha, IFJ president, said:

“We are appalled by this brazen assault on press freedom and Turkish democracy. One year after the exposure of corruption at the heart of government, the authorities appear to be exacting their revenge by targeting those who express opposing views.”

The police raids took place on Sunday morning, targeting media said to be close to Fethullah Gûllen, the US-based cleric whose supporters have been allegedly working against the Erdogan government.

In recent years Turkey had been the leading jailer of journalists with more than 100 in prison, three years ago, at the height of the Ergenekon, KCK and Oda TV cases. Numbers dropped significantly this year, however
this latest incident demonstrated the authorities’ contempt for journalism, said the IFJ president.

Mustafa Kuleli, general secretary of the Journalists Union of Turkey, (TGS) an affiliate of the IFJ and EFJ, said:

 "This move against our colleagues is in fact an operation against freedom and democracy in Turkey. No matter which group is targeted by persecution, nobody can stay silent. We will continue to defend the journalists who are being punishedbecause of their reporting.”

Barry White, NUJ representative of the European Federation of Journalists, said:

"The NUJ deplores this attack on journalists and journalism. Journalists must have the freedom to write and report without the fear of arrest and detention. The international community must send a  strong and clear message to the authorities in Turkey that attacking journalists in this way is an attack on democracy.”

Mogens Blicher Bjerregård,  EFJ president, said:

"The Council of Europe and other intergovernmental institutions should take action in relation to Turkey. Only 10 days ago we together with the Council of Europe signed a memorandum of understanding to build a new platform about early warnings on attacks on journalist, journalism and media. This is such an example, and we need the international community to send a very clear and firm message to the authorities in Turkey.”

Tags: , turkey, ifj, efj, press freedom, journalists arrested, journalists detained