Vienna, 14 May 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) was alarmed to learn about yet another series of arrests, censorship and media freedom violations in Turkey.
On 11 May, Caglar Ozbilgin (Çağlar Özbilgin), editor for Sendika.org, was detained in an Istanbul courthouse, where he initially came to testify in an investigation which accused him of “insulting the President”. However, when he arrived he was detained and told that yet another investigation is being brought up against him; he then testified before a prosecutor and was held for several hours before finally being released.
Early on the morning of 12 May, editor-in-chief of daily news portal Cumhuriyet, Oguz Guven (Oğuz Güven) was taken into custody to the Istanbul Security Directorate to give a statement to the police, however the precise reason for his detention was not revealed.
Also on 12 May, several statements surfaced in which German officials claim that they have been unable to contact journalist Mesale Tolu (Meşale Tolu) since she was arrested by Turkish authorities on 30 April. Tolu, a German citizen whose work was published by the private ETHA news agency, was accused by Turkish authorities of “disseminating propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organisation ”. This referred to her work for Netherlands-based Firat News Agency (ANF), which is accused by the government in Turkey of having ties with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The journalist’s husband is also under arrest and facing similar charges.
It was revealed today, 14 May, that the Turkish Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) banned all access to the website of Rojeva Medya, the only daily published in Kurdish in Turkey.
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.