In Turkey / Türkiye

Today’s Zaman, Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016

There are over 30 journalists imprisoned in Turkey at the moment

Representatives of international press organizations are scheduled to take a shift outside Silivri Prison on Wednesday morning in the ongoing “Wait for Hope” vigil launched in early December in support of arrested Cumhuriyet daily editors Can Dündar and Erdem Gül.

Wife of imprisoned newspaper editor Cam Dundar receives press freedom award on his behalf in front of Silivri Prison on Jan 8, 2016

Wife of imprisoned newspaper editor Cam Dundar receives press freedom award on his behalf in front of Silivri Prison on Jan 8, 2016

The group will include representatives from the International Press Institute (IPI), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and PEN International.

The press bodies also requested to meet with Dündar and Gül but were denied the meeting by the Ministry of Justice.

In October 2015 these press bodies united in a coalition, the first of its kind, in an emergency mission for press freedom in Turkey and visited political actors and newspapers in the country prior to the Nov. 1, 2015 election.

Dündar and Gül were arrested on Nov. 26 of last year after being charged in May with espionage, revealing confidential documents and membership in a terrorist organization. The charges are related to a front-page report published by the Cumhuriyet daily claiming that trucks loaded with weapons, which were discovered in January 2014 en route to Syria, actually belonged to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and had allegedly been sent to provide support to rebel groups.

On Tuesday, a group of representatives from the İstanbul Chamber of Pharmacists took part in the vigil while it snowed. Cenap Sarıalioğlu, the chamber’s president, said: “Unfortunately, we live in a time where it is not those who send arms to terrorists, but instead those who report news of this that are thrown in prison. This is an example of a blow to press freedom. We want this to be the last, and we want our imprisoned journalist friends to be freed immediately.”

A week after the imprisonment of Gül and Dündar, Bütün Dünya magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Mete Akyol launched a sit-in protest in front of Silivri Prison, on Dec. 2, to show his support and solidarity for the two editors. The vigil has continued ever since, with many prominent Turkish journalists, politicians and intellectuals taking part.

There are over 30 journalists imprisoned in Turkey at the moment, including Taraf daily reporter Mehmet Baransu, former Bugün daily columnist Gültekin Avcı and Samanyolu Broadcasting Group CEO Hidayet Karaca, all held at Silivri Prison. There are also several journalists from Kurdish media outlets such as Dicle News Agency (DİHA) and Jin News Agency (JİNHA) who are also being held in other prisons across the country for their reporting.

Read also:
Nearly 30 injured in Cizre forced to continue 3-day wait for medical care, Today’s Zaman, Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016

As the curfew in the Cizre district of Şırnak province enters its sixth week, nearly 30 people with severe injuries have been in the basement of a house since Jan. 23 awaiting medical treatment, despite two lawyers applying to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on Monday for an injunction to ensure the injured people’s hospitalization. On Monday, lawyers Ramazan Demir and Gülşen Özbek asked the ECtHR to call on the Turkish government to hospitalize the wounded, but have yet to receive a response…

How Turkish CNN ‘insulted’ Erdogan and got sued, by Mustafa Akyol, Hurriyet Daily News, Jan 27, 2016

Turkey unlikely to cease anti-PKK operations in southeast, Hurriyet Daily News, Jan 27, 2016

One of the questions most frequently being asked in the Turkish capital is when the government will announce the end of current intense operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeastern Anatolia. These wide-scale operations were launched in late 2015 in the central Sur district of Diyarbakir province, as well as the Cizre and Silopi districts of Sirnak province and a number of other districts on minor scales.

Although the government and security forces have announced progress in operations against the urban structure of the PKK, there are big questions about when their aims will be accomplished. There had been press reports that the government aimed to wrap up the operations by late January and then to launch a comprehensive plan for re-building ruined areas and for ameliorating the living conditions of locals…

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