Vienna, 12 November 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed grave concern for the growing number of media freedom violations, incarcerations of media workers and overall severity of censorship on journalists in Turkey.
The Diyabakir Chief Prosecutor’s Office has prepared indictments against 24 Kurdish journalists who were initially detained on 28 August, 2016. The journalists were incarcerated after the premises of the Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat were raided, following the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016. All twenty four media workers have been accused of “knowingly and willfully aiding the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)”. They all face terms of 7, 5-15 years in prison.
The journalists set to stand trial are: Ahmet Kızılay, Ahmet Boltan, Veysi Altın, Ercan Yeltaş (Ercan Yeltas), Mehmet Hüseyin Şahin (Mehmet Huseyin Sahin), Pusat Bulut, Mehmet Aydın, Mehmet Emin Aygün (Mehmet Emin Aygun), Azime Tarhan, Süreyya Dal (Sureyya Dal), Berhudan Tulpar, Yasemin Sayın, Serdal Polat, Zeynep İzgi, Hayat Yılmaz, Mehmet Emin Kaya, Mecrum Tekol, İbrahim Bayram, Engin Özelçi Arap Turan (Engin Ozelci Arap Turan), Cengiz Arslan, Ziyan Karahan, Ceylan İpek (Ceylan Ipek), and Ferit Toprak.
Aysenur Parildak (Ayşenur Parıldak), a 27-year-old reporter from the now-closed Zaman daily, appeared in court on Thursday, 9 November, where she received the decision of prolonging her current imprisonment of nearly 15 months. Parildak was arrested on 11 August of last year while at an exam in law school and charged under the country’s anti-terror laws based on her tweets. She now faces a prison sentence of up to 15 years if convicted.
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.