Media watchdog condemns arrest of 11 journalists by Turkish authorities

Media watchdog condemns arrest of 11 journalists by Turkish authorities
Journalists hold placards outside an Istanbul court in 2017, calling for the release of jailed colleagues. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned on Tuesday the arrest of 11 Kurdish journalists by Turkish authorities. (AP/File)
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Updated 26 October 2022
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Media watchdog condemns arrest of 11 journalists by Turkish authorities

Media watchdog condemns arrest of 11 journalists by Turkish authorities
  • Raids are part of secret investigation that has been conducted across 6 cities
  • “Turkish authorities once again deprived several journalists of their freedoms under a court-ordered secret investigation,” said Gulnoza Said, of CPJ

LONDON: Media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists condemned on Tuesday the arrest of 11 Kurdish journalists and called on Turkish authorities to stop all prosecution of them.
As part of a secret investigation by the Ankara chief prosecutor’s office, Turkish police raided six residences and one newsroom in the cities of Ankara, Diyarbakır, Istanbul, Mardin, Urfa and Van early Tuesday morning.
At least 11 journalists were held in police custody, several media sources reported.
“Turkish authorities once again deprived several journalists of their freedoms under a court-ordered secret investigation,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator.
“These journalists behind bars are unaware of what they are accused of, just like the journalists who were arrested in Diyarbakır in June who remain detained and uninformed.
“Turkish authorities must immediately release the journalists in custody, return their confiscated property, and stop harassing the Kurdish media in Turkey with baseless charges that typically end up being related to their journalism,” she added.
Police stormed the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya Ajansı’s newsroom in Ankara in the early hours of the morning when no staff was present. Authorities entered the workplace with a lock pick early and searched the office for six hours, according to MA.
During the raids, police arrested MA’s news editor Diren Yurtsever and MA reporters Emrullah Acar, Zemo Ağgöz, Berivan Altan, Selman Güzelyüz, Deniz Nazlım, Ceylan Şahinli and Hakan Yalçın.
Multiple news outlets also reported the arrest of pro-Kurdish website Jin News journalists Öznur Değer and Habibe Erenare.
According to MA, the Criminal Court of Peace decided to restrict journalists from meeting with their lawyers for 24 hours. The reason for the decision was “the nature of the crime.”
As part of the investigation, the police also raided the house of another Jin News reporter Derya Ren in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır. According to her employer, she has been taken to the nearby Diyarbakır women’s prison.
In recent months, Turkish authorities have intensified their prosecution of pro-Kurdish media.
In June, a court in Diyarbakır ordered the detention of 15 journalists and a media staffer from pro-Kurdish publications as part of another secret probe. The journalists are still imprisoned without being indicted.