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Turkey: press freedom victim of coup crackdown

25 July 2016

The NUJ has joined the The International and the European Federation of Journalists in voicing concerns about the arrests of journalists and raids on their homes following the failed coup.

The anti-terror prosecutor Irfan Fidan today issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists.

According to Anatolian News Agency, the journalists targeted are: Abdullah Abdulkadiroğlu, Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Dönmez, Ali Akkuş, Arda Akın, Nazlı Ilıcak, Bayram Kaya, Bilal Şahin, Bülent Ceyhan, Bülent Mumay, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cevheri Güven, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Emre Soncan, Ercan Gün, Erkan Akkuş, Ertuğrul Erbaş, Fatih Akalan, Fatih Yağmur, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Haşim Söylemez, Hüseyin Aydın, İbrahim Balta, Kamil Maman, Kerim Gün, Levent Kenez, Mahmut Hazar, Mehmet Gündem, Metin Yıkar, Muhammed Fatih Uğur, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mürsel Genç, Selahattin Sevi, Seyid Kılıç, Turan Görüryılmaz, Ufuk Şanlı, Ufuk Emin Köroğlu, Yakup Sağlam and Yakup Çetin.

On his twitter account Bülent Mumay tweeted: “The only organisation that I’m a member of is [the] Turkish Journalists Association. My only profession is journalism”.

Among those targeted by the warrants was prominent journalist and former parliamentarian Nazli Ilicak who was fired from the pro-government Sabah daily in 2013 for criticising ministers caught up in a corruption scandal, NTV and CNN-Turk reported.

On 22 July, Zehra Dogan, painter and editor at women’s news agency JINHA, was arrested by police in Mardin, south-east of Turkey. She was taken to the Nusaybin police office the following day. During the interrogation, she was accused of "being a member of the terrorist organisation PKK" .

Philippe Leruth, IFJ president said:

“Since the failed coup we have had to react even more against the media crackdown in Turkey. The new arrest warrants revealed today are aimed, one more time, at targeting journalists who are simply doing their jobs. Press freedom is an essential component of democracy. And clearly, it is even more at stake today.”

Mogens Blicher Bjerregaard, EFJ president said:

"We call again on the NGOs and the international community to put pressure on the Turkish government to reinstate a rule of law. More and more journalists are facing intimidations, arrests or imprisonments and this purge must stop immediately. We stand in solidarity with our Turkish colleagues."

The Turkish authorities have banned publication of a special edition of the satirical magazine LeMan  after a court issued order on 20 July and the following day, 300 staff at the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation were suspended from their jobs as part of the investigation into the Fetullah organisation,  named as a terrorist organisation by the government,  reports said. Sixty reporters, including editors, reporters and technical staff were fired from the Cihan news agency by the court-appointed trustees.

Turkey has declared a three-month state of  emergency and the authorities can hold suspects in detention without charge for up to 30 days before they are taken to a judge to decide whether to remain in jail.

Tags: , turkey, journalists arrested, media freedom, arrests