TURKEY: Release of detained journalists in Turkey crucial for democracy, SEEMO states

TURKEY, TURKEY, 28/05/2017, 10:50

Vienna, 28 May 2017 - The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) harshly condemned the continuing series of arrests of local and foreign journalists in Turkey.

Mathias Depardon, an independent French photo-reporter, was detained by police authorities on 8 May in Hansankyef, in the southeast area of the country. Depardon has been living in Turkey for several years and was in the process of preparing a story for National Geographic when he was arrested. His equipment was seized and he was charged with “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organisation” based on four photographs Depardon shared on his social media three years ago. The photos portray female fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is outlawed in Turkey. 

Police authorities sent him to a Migration Department detention center in Gaziantep province, claiming that he will be deported, but despite his deportation order being issued for 11 May, his incarceration continued. On 21 May, the photographer began a hunger strike, but after a public outcry from the international community regarding his case, he ended it on 27 May.   

SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.

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