March 23, 2017


Vienna, 23/03/2017

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed concern after learning new steps against freedom of the press in Turkey.

German Journalist and photoreporter Hinrich Schultze was arrested on 20 March after arriving in Diyarbakir from Hamburg, in order to report about Newroz celebrations. Newroz is a traditional celebration by Iranians and Kurds, and takes place on 21 March. After the German journalist arrived in the Kurd-populated Diyarbakır region, he was kept in custody for half an hour.

On 21 March in Van in East Turkey, according to several sources, the police arrested Selman Keles (Selman Keleş), who works for the web-news Dihaber.

Website was blocked today by the Authority for Telecommunications of Turkey.

In a trial case that has already been postponed twice, journalists Erol Onderoglu (Erol Önderoğlu), writer Ahmet Nesin and Şebnem Korur-Fincancı had their third hearing on 21 March, on charges of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization”. Nesin was not coming, so the court issued a warrant for his arrest. The next hearing will be on 8 June.

In a campaign for the daily Ozgur Gundem (Özgür Gündem) from 3 May 2016 to 7 August 2016, 56 media workers, experts and intellectuals participated, of which 50 subsequently faced some sort of legal prosecution; 38 of these were turned into court cases. Between them also reporters Without Borders (RSF) Turkey representative Erol Onderoglu (Erol Önderoğlu), writer Ahmet Nesin and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) President Sebnem Korur-Financi.

“Erol Önderoğlu, recipient of the 2016 Dr. Erhard Busek SEEMO Award for Better Understanding in South East Europe and two other free thinking, independent persons face serious legal repercussions” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said today. “

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.