Vienna, 6 November 2015 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is alarmed by the tension and aggression expressed towards media workers and media outlets in Turkey, especially those under the control of the ruling party during the current pre-electoral period.
On 28 October, police raided the offices of two television channels that belong to the Ipek Media Group, Kanalturk and Bugun TV, following a court order that accused the critical outlets of “terror propaganda”. A crowd formed in front of the premises during the raid, but was scattered after special operations officers used water cannons and tear gas to disperse it. Allegedly, several journalists were taken into custody, while others were prohibited from entering their offices.
On 3 November, Editor-in-Chief Cevheri Guven and Managing Editor Murat Capan of Nokta Magazine were arrested and detained after the release of the publication’s latest issue on charges of inciting armed conflict against the government. Turkey’s Parliamentary elections were held on 1 November, and the ruling party was re-elected. The magazine featured a cover showing President Erdogan and a caption saying that November 2 is the beginning of a civil war in Turkey. Police notified the magazine that the publication would be taken off shelves due to a court ruling, which proceeded the detention of the two editors and also banned access to the Nokta website.
On 6 November, Bianet reporter Beyza Kural was detained by police officers while covering protests in Istanbul. Police officers threatened her and attempted to seize her equipment. Kural was released when her colleagues and protesters present during the incident intervened.
“No good news from Turkey. The threats of detention, arrest and intimidation that Turkish journalists must face on a daily basis are incomprehensible. We call on authorities in Turkey to immediately stop their attempts to pressure journalists and the media”, SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe. SEEMO’s 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.