VIENNA, 30 August 2016 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) was appalled by recent incidents in Turkey.
On 28 August, Turkish police forces raided the premises of Azadiya Welat, a Kurdish-language daily in the city of Diyarbakir. Following the search, over 23 staff members were arrested and detained, deprived of their phones and IDs, and were held in the Diyarbakir Police headquarters. A child that was visiting the offices was also taken into custody. Reports say the justification behind the raid were alleged ‘illegal organizational meetings held at the premises’.
It was revealed that release demands for Sahin Alpay, Lale Kemal, Ali Bulac and over 40 other journalists arrested on 31 July have been rejected. Following the aftermath of the coup attempt in Turkey on 15 July, media workers were charged for allegedly being members of a terrorist organization, and were detained. The Judiciary Court in Istanbul rejected the release pleas, claiming that no new evidence has surfaced which would justify their release.
On 30 August The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK suspended Izgur Gun, a local news outlet in Turkey. Aside from having its website repeatedly blocked in the previous months, the station was fined for allegedly broadcasting terrorist propaganda on 27 August.
‘The persecution of journalists working in Turkey has reached devastating levels,’ said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. ‘SEEMO calls for the release of journalists who have been imprisoned simply for doing their jobs’.
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.