The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed concern regarding media freedom violations that have followed the failed coup attempt in Turkey on 15 July.
Arrest warrants were issued against twelve former daily Zaman newspaper journalists after the alleged coup. They were charged with involvement in the overthrow and its alleged instigator Fetullah Gulen. After Zaman was closed due to the investigation, 47 media workers employed had detention orders issued against them, on charges of being members of an armed terrorist organization.
Arrest warrants have been issued against the following journalists: Alaattin Güner, Şeref Yılmaz, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Faruk Akkan, Mehmet Özdemir, Fevzi Yazıcı, Zafer Özsoy, Cuma Kaya and Hakan Taşdelen on charges being a member of an ‘armed terrorist organization’, Hüseyin Turan and Murat Avcıoğlu on charges of ‘aiding a terrorist organization’ as non-members and Mümtazer Türköne, Zaman columnist, on charges of ‘serving the purposes of a Fethullahist terrorist organization’.
‘According to SEEMO sources, there are over 70 journalists in prison in Turkey right now’, SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said. ‘This number is dangerously high for any country, and signals a new low when it comes to democratic principles and freedom of expression in the country. We call on institutions in Turkey to immediately release our colleagues, before this situation deteriorates further’.
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.