Vienna, 22 October 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) was dismayed to learn that in the early hours of 20 October, the homes of five media workers from the Kurdish JINNEWS and of the Mezopotamya in Ankara were raided, and the journalists were taken into custody because of alleged “complaints” against them.
JINNEWS editor and reporters Sibel Yukler (Sibel Yükler), Duygu Erol and Habibe Eren, Mezopotamya Ajans reporters Diren Yurtsever and Selman Guzelyuz (Selman Güzelyüz) are being transferred to the Ankara Counter-Terrorism Unit of the local Police Department.
It was also revealed on 20 October that Mehmet Semiz, a journalist and employee of the national network Irmak TV which was seized and shut down by the government following the coup attempt in July 2016, has spent 343 days in prison for cancelling his subscription to a cable TV network as a sign of protest. Semiz has been kept behind bars was arrested over alleged terror charges, which in fact only had to do with his announced cancellation of subscription.
SEEMO calls on authorities in Turkey to revise their behavior and actions towards journalists and allow them to work freely and independently. Constant harassment and pressures against media workers indicate clearly that institutions in Turkey not only rely on silencing free speech, they also depend upon it. Detentions, prison sentences and trumped-up terror charges are no longer convincing to the international community as truth, but rather showcase the deteriorating state of media in the country.
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.