TURKEY: SEEMO appalled by latest surge of deteriorating media freedom in Turkey

TURKEY, TURKEY, 30/11/2016, 13:55

Vienna, 30 November 2016 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) was dismayed by the number and scope of media freedom violations in Turkey in the previous several days.

On 27 November, authorities in Turkey court ordered the shutdown of yet another online media outlet, making the total number of blocked pages over 115 thousand as of today.

The Azerbaijani news agency Kurultay was blocked, and the press card of the editor-in-chief Aydin Tas was revoked. According to Tas, he also works for the opposition paper Azadliq in Azerbaijan, and his press card was revoked after an aide of President Ilham Aliyev recently visited Turkey.

No news has yet appeared about the disappearance of Mujgan Ekin, former presenter for the pro-Kurdish outlet Ozgur Gun TV. Ekin disappeared after being approached by individuals who presented themselves as police officers, while she was attending a press conference on 24 October. According to eye witnesses, Ekin was dragged into a car, while the alleged police officers told her family the presenter was being detained because of suspicions that she was a suicide bomber. 

Today, 30 November, editor-in-chief of online website Sozcu 18, Vedat Beki, was taken into custody in the town of Marmaris. Allegedly, he was arrested as part of the investigation in the failed coup attempt in July in Turkey. 

“Devastating news coming from Turkey, as they have so many times this year” Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General stated this afternoon. “We call on authorities in the country to immediately release all media workers that are detained in relation to any investigations based on the coup aftermath, terrorist activities, or other baseless accusations the government continually uses against journalists” Vujovic added. 

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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