Turkey : Set Journalism Free


> EU Progress Reports on Turkey 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011
> OSCE reports on Turkey
- Regular Report to the Permanent Council by Dunja Mijatović, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, for the period from 19 June 2014 through 26 November 2014
- OSCE FOM table on imprisoned journalists in Turkey - 10 March 2014
> CoE reports on Turkey
- The rule of law on the Internet and in the wider digital world. Issue Paper published by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
- 3rd quarterly activity report 2014 by Nils Muižnieks
> Bia Media Monitoring Reports :
Media’s 3 Years: A Summary With Graphics
October-December 2014
April-June 2014
> PEN International : Free expression under shadow
> IFJ reports : 2 journalists killed in Turkey in 2014
> CPJ reports : 40 imprisoned journalists in Turkey (2013) / 20 journalists killed in Turkey since 1992
> RSF Press Freedom Index 2014 : Turkey is ranked 149 out of 180 countries (between Mexico and DRCongo)
> Human Rights Watch : Turkey: Security Bill Undermines Rights
> Freedom House / Freedom of the Press 2014 : "The region’s largest numerical change occurred in Turkey, which declined from 56 to 62 points and moved from Partly Free to Not Free."
> Shorenstein Center (Harvard) / Corruption and Self-Censorship in
Turkish Journalism



Turkey: Organising journalists under the state of emergency

The regional meeting of EFJ-IFJ affiliates from the Balkans and Eastern Europe successfully took place in Istanbul on 29-30 November 2016. The meeting was hosted by the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) and the Istanbul office of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) who are financially supporting the event with the Swedish Union To Union global trade union programme. The gathering of more than 10 international journalists representatives showing solidarity under the state of emergency with so many journalists in jail (over 120), under prosecution (thousands), without job (over 10.000) was warmly welcomed by the colleagues and local media.   The event has primarily focused on…


EBU Conference urges Parliaments to protect PSM independence

Over 100 delegates from 19 countries in Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) and beyond came together in Prague last week to discuss the need to protect the independence and sustainability of public service media (PSM) in the face of numerous challenges. The conference was hosted by the Czech Parliament in Prague, and organized by the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Czech Television and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Public service broadcasters, Parliamentarians, regulators, diplomats, academics and experts from a range of organisations including the Council of Europe, Venice Commission, OSCE and the European Federation of…

A man reads a copy of the latest edition of the Turkish daily newspaper "Cumhuriyet"  during a demonstration outside the newspaper's headquarters in Istanbul on November 2,2016.
Turkish police on November 1, 2016, detained the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Cumhuriyet -- a thorn in the side of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- as Ankara widens a crackdown on opposition media. The Cumhuriyet, which had published revelations embarrassing for the government, said at least a dozen journalists and executives were detained in early morning raids. The raids came after authorities fired more than 10,000 civil servants at the weekend and closed 15 pro-Kurdish and other media outlets, the latest purge since July's failed military coup aimed at ousting Erdogan. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL

Turkey: international coalition slams Cumhuriyet arrests, media closures

Today, the European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ and IFJ) joined a coalition of international media freedom organisations led by the International Press Institute (IPI), in condemning the closure of 15 pro-Kurdish media outlets and the arrests of Cumhuriyet journalists in a joint letter to Turkish officials. The letter called for government to cease abusing state of emergency decrees to restrict freedom of expression and for the immediate release of the detained Cumhuriyet journalists, as well as all other writers and journalists jailed in Turkey for exercising their right to freedom of expression. The letter can also be downloaded…

Protesters hold a sign reading "We are here for Cumhuriyet" during a protest in front of opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper in Istanbul on October 31, 2016 after a police operation at the daily's headquarters. 
Turkish police detained the editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, state media reported. According to CNN Turk, 13 arrest warrants were issued for journalists and executives from the daily. The Istanbul prosecutor said an investigation had been launched into allegations the paper's output was "legitimising" the July 15 failed coup. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

New wave of arrests targeting daily Cumhuriyet in Turkey

UPDATE 05.11.2016 – The Turkish court sent this morning 9 executives and columnists of Cumhuriyet newspaper to prison : Murat Sabuncu, Kadri Gürsel, Musa Kart, GürayÖz, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Turhan Günay, Hakan Kara, Önder Çelik and Bülent Utku. All 9 @cumhuriyetgzt journos jailed in #Turkey We denounce these political decision with strong indignation #FreeTurkeyJournos #FreeKadri — Erol Önderoglu (@ErolOnderoglu) November 5, 2016 The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) today condemned the new wave of media repression by Turkish authorities following the detention of Murat Sabuncu, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Cumhuriyet, arrested this morning together with 15 other media staff of the newspaper. They are accused of assisting the so-called Fethullahist…


Turkish government shuts down 15 Kurdish media outlets

The Turkish government issued on Saturday 29 October a decree shutting down 15 Kurdish media outlets: 11 newspapers, two news agencies and three magazines. The latest closures bring the number of media outlets shut down under state of emergency in Turkey to 168. The Turkish government declared a state of emergency on 20 July, following the failed coup attempt on 15 July. This situation allows the government to close any media organization by issuing a cabinet decree. Here is the list of media outlets targeted by the decree issued on Saturday: Newspapers: Özgür Gündem, Azadiya Welat, Batman Çağdaş , Cizre Postası…


Turkey : 107 journalists in prison and 2,500 others left unemployed

After a break of two years, Turkey once again has become “world’s biggest journalist-prison” and ranked low in press freedom and transparency on international indices. The State of Emergency (OHAL) declared following the coup attempt on July 15, and the Statutory Decrees (KHK) issued within the State of Emergency have brought various unlawful and excessive practices like closures, detentions and arrests among members of the Gülen Community and the Kurdish Media. Click to see the infographic The Government has often been criticized for “becoming distant from its goals of democracy” and “using the State of Emergency to speed up its…


Turkey: Day of Action Today #FreeThemAll

Ninety journalists are currently in jail in Turkey for doing their job. Critical voices must not be silenced!  Today, on Friday 21, world journalists will sponsor journalists in jail in Turkey in a show of solidarity. Take action! How? Pick the name of a journalist jailed in Turkey from the list below, add the name of the journalist on an A4 paper, take a picture of yourself holding the sign and post it on social media #FreeThemAll Sign the petition. It will automatically send an email to President Erdogan via his spokesperson   This work can be done anytime throughout the…

Members of Labour unions and leftist groups hold a banner reading "Cancel the state of emergency" as they protest against the extension of the state of emergency, on October 15, 2016 in Ankara.
Brussels on October 14, 2016 has urged Turkey to act within the rule of law while activists accuse Ankara of using a state of emergency to repress opponents and not just those linked to the Gulen movement. Some 32,000 people have been arrested under the emergency imposed after the coup, which was extended this month for another 12 weeks.


Turkey: State of emergency provisions violate human rights and should be revoked

We, the undersigned organisations, recognise that the Turkish government has the right and responsibility to investigate the violent events of the July 2016 coup attempt and to bring all those responsible to justice.  We also recognise that the immediate aftermath of the attempted coup is the type of exceptional circumstance in which a government could legitimately invoke a state of emergency but still has to comply with their human rights obligations. We are however increasingly concerned that the far-reaching, almost unlimited discretionary powers exercised by the Turkish authorities during the first three months of the state of emergency – now…


EFJ Focus October 2016

The EFJ newsletter, EFJ Focus, is available in English and German.   EDITORIAL The situation for journalists in Turkey has worsened during this summer and after the coup attempt on July 15. Journalists were targeted during that day. One of them, Mustafa Cambaz, paid the highest prize with his life. After the coup attempt, journalists were detained, media outlets were shut down and fear were spreading. I made contact with Thorbjørn Jagland, the General Secretary of the Council of Europe, to call for an urgent meeting with partners of the Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists.…


Turkey: 90 journalists in jail – have your say!

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is joining the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in its global solidarity action on 21 October to support journalists in Turkey and our affiliates the Journalists’ union of Turkey (TGS), the Progressive Journalists’ Association (PJA), the Association of journalists of Turkey (TGC) and DİSK Basın-İş. The action is part of the IFJ and EFJ campaign Set journalism free in Turkey that both federations have been running together since 2010. It consists of a one-day show of solidarity action where free journalists can sponsor jailed journalists in Turkey on social media. The action includes an online petition calling on…


Journalists call for lifting the ban on news channels in Turkey

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) today organised a press briefing at the Brussels’ Press Club to protest the on-going clampdown on media in Turkey and to urge the government to lift the ban on news channels.  The Turkish government recently shut down about 20 TV and radio channels, including the Kurdish Channel Med-Nuçe based in Belgium that was removed on 3 October by Eutelsat SA, a French satellite provider, on Turkey’s request.  In Turkey, 90 journalists are in jail, more than 2,500 journalists lost their jobs and arrest warrants have been issued against hundreds of media workers…


TGS elects its youngest president with a gender balanced board

Journalists Union of Turkey has elected the youngest president of his history during its 21th General Meeting. The equal gender balance at the new TGS board is maintained with an age average of 35 years. EFJ-IFJ and DJV (Germany) representatives shared solidarity messages at the General Meeting and met with banned media representatives. Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) organised its 21th Ordinary General Meeting, chaired by Canan Onurer (President of Basin-Sen in Cyprus), in Istanbul on 8 and 9 October 2016 with the participation of members, delegates and international guests. The General Meeting elected Gökhan Durmus (former TGS Istanbul Branch) at 33 years…


EFJ and IFJ discussed media freedom in Turkey with CoE Secretary General Jagland

The presidents of the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) and the representatives of the other partner organisations of the Council of Europe Platform for the Safety of Journalists met with the Council of Europe´s Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, yesterday, in Strasbourg, to discuss the possible follow up to the media freedom alerts published on the Platform with regard to Turkey in the aftermath of the 15 July failed coup. The Secretary General briefed them on the Council of Europe actions so far and on-going co-operation with Turkey, as a member state of the organisation. Since the…


Turkey: Med Nûce, IMC TV, Hayatin Sesi,… must be re-established urgently

The European and Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has received today (05/10/2016) a delegation of journalists working for Med Nûçe television. The signal of the Kurdish channel based in Belgium has been removed on Monday (03/10/2016 at 10:00) by Eutelsat SA, a French sattelite provider, on Turkish request because “the content is not in line with public order directives of the term’s between us as well as with the laws which regulate TV distribution in Europe and surrounding countries”. The EFJ strongly condemned the action considered as a media freedom violation and reported the case to the Council of Europe’s platform…


French satellite provider under pressure to remove Kurdish Med Nuçe TV

update : Eutelsat has removed the signal of the Kurdish television as of 03/10/2016 at  10:00 The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has learn today (30/09/2016) that Eutelsat SA, the French satellite provider hosting over 6000 televisions channels, is planning “to remove immediately”  Med Nuçe TV, a Kurdish language television broadcasting from Belgium, from its transponder because “the content is not in line with public order directives of the term’s between us as well as with the laws which regulate TV distribution in Europe and surrounding countries”. According to EFJ sources, Eutelsat SA has received pressure from RTÜK (Turkish Radio Television Supreme Council)…


Turkey: 11 TV channels removed and state of emergency extended

Update on 04.10.2016: Turkish authorities cut the signal of IMC TV, sealed the building of Hayatin Sesi TV, raided the office of Özgür Radyo and detained journalists / media workers. Update on 30.09.2016, IMC TV was added to the list of banned TV channels. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) have today (29/09/2016) backed its affiliates TGS and TGC in condemning the removal of at least 11 TV channels in Turkey including IMC TV, Hayatın Sesi, Azadi TV, Jiyan TV, Van TV, TV 10, Denge TV and Zarok TV from the national satellite platform TÜRKSAT. According to media reports, the administrative decision…


Turkey’s journalists prosecution marathon has started !

This morning (21/09/2016), the Caglayan Court of Justice in Istanbul heard 5 different prosecution cases against journalists. The EFJ-IFJ and its affiliates TGS (Journalists Union of Turkey), DISK-Basin-Is (Journalists Union of Turkey from DISK) and TGC (Journalists Association of Turkey) have been able to observe the following cases : the appeal in the MIT Trucks case where journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül  working for Cumhuriyet newspaper who were sentenced to 5 years in jail for revealing state secrets and arms trafficking between Turkish intelligence services (MIT) and Syrian armed rebel groups. The hearing was held in secret but this did not…


Turkey: solidarity with a newspaper is not a crime

The first hearing at Istanbul court of justice was this morning (20/09/2016) against journalists Ayse Düzkan, Ragip Duran, Hüseyin Akyol and Inan Kizilkaya. The four journalists are being prosecuted for participating in a solidarity campaign with the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem. After 20 minutes hearing, the judges decided to merge this case with 20 other similar cases and to resume the hearing on 15th December 2016. Before the case started, supporters gathered outside the court house to make public statements. The EFJ-IFJ representatives, Barry White and Mehmet Koksal, were present along with DISK Basin-Is members (journalists union), TGS members (journalists’…


My days in jail after the coup

The attempted coup of July 15 and its harsh impact on Turkish media and journalists. An editorial by Bulent Mumay, of one of the journalists arrested in those days and later released, published by our partner Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso “Son of a bitch! Bastard, traitor!”. “Dishonored! So you’re a traitor? You should be beaten up…”. “Shut up!”. “Son of a bitch! You are going to pay for this!”. Such an endearing banter, although not too original, could belong in a fight between teenagers or delirious hooligans during a game. Neither is true, though – these are hateful messages posted on…


Sanar Yurdatapan: “Civil society can help oppressed journalists”

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) organised a press conference on 12 September on the theme: Turkey’s failed coup: implications for journalists, unionists and human rights activists at the Press Club in Brussels. Sanar Yurdatapan, a Turkish composer, human rights activist and initiator of Freedom of Expression Initiative-Turkey, was invited to speak about the prior and post-coup situation for freedom fighters. After showing a video footage showing the escalation of hate speech at the highest level in the country, he gave a brief picture of today’s Turkey where oppression, insults and threats towards media, activists and opposition parties have become a common place.…


International civil society organisations condemn crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey

From 31 August to 2 September, an international delegation of civil society organisations visited Istanbul to demonstrate solidarity with writers, journalists and media outlets in Turkey. The failed coup of 15 July, in which at least 265 people were killed, has traumatised the Turkish population and the government must bring those responsible for the violence to account. However, this must be done on the basis of specific, individual evidence of involvement in a crime and with full respect for international standards on the right to freedom of expression, the right to liberty and security and the right to a fair…


Turkey: Evrensel journalists must be released immediately

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is backing the urgent call of his affiliates in Turkey (TGS & TGC) demanding the immediate release of Turkish journalists Cemil Ugur and Halil Ibrahim Polat detained since end-August 2016 at the province of Mersin (Turkey) while reporting for the daily newspaper Evrensel.   According to their lawyer, both journalists still in detention under the state of emergency “are exposed to insults and threats in prison” and the local police refuse to give further details about their situation. The EFJ and its affiliates are strongly concerned about the situation of journalists, the length of their detention and the alleged threats…


Turkey: Charges must be dropped in trial of former Taraf journalists

On 2 September, the first hearing will take place in a trial concerning three former senior editors of Taraf daily newspaper, Ahmet Altan, Yasemin Çongar and Yildiray Oğur; and two journalists, Mehmet Baransu and Tuncay Opçin. The undersigned organisations believe the trial to be politically motivated and call on the government to drop all charges against the accused and to immediately and unconditionally release Mehmet Baransu, who has been held in pre-trial detention since his arrest on 2 March 2015. The charges pre-date the 15 July coup attempt, which the undersigned organisations also condemned; however, this is a trial of…


Turkey: 23 staff members detained at Azadiya Welat newspaper

On 28 August, the police raided the main office of the Kurdish-language daily newspaper Azadiya Welat based in Diyarbakır. According to media reports, at least 23 staff members of the newspaper are currently detained at Diyarbakır Police headquarters following the raid, the names are : Yasemin Sayın, Hayat Yılmaz, Ahmet Kızılay, Arap Turan, Berxwedan Tulpar, Sürreya Dal, Zeynep İzgi, İbrahim Bayram, Engin Özelçi, Ahmet Boltan, Ceylan İpek, Mehmet Emin Kaya, Ziyan Karahan, Veysi Altın, Ercan Yeltaş, Azime Tarhan, Serdal Polat, Cengiz Aslan, Ferit Toprak, Mehmet Hüseyin Şahin, Mehmet Aydın, Pusat Bulut and Mehmet Emin Akgün. Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reported that the police justified the raid by the notice they received that “there are [illegal] organizational meetings held”. Phones and IDs of the employees have been…


EFJ and partners win Turkey’s Press Freedom Award

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and 9 other partner organisations have been on awarded on 19/08/2016 Turkey’s Press Freedom Award given by an independent jury under the auspice of the Turkish Association of Journalist (TGC). The prize wants to thank the international coalition for their involvement in emergency press freedom missions of 2015 in between the two elections in Turkey. Mr Kadri Gürsel, journalist and IPI’s Turkish National Committee chairman, received the prestigious prize on behalf of the international coalition. The EFJ warmly thanks the jury for this meaningful collective award and look forward to continue its work and…


Kurdish daily shut down and journalists houses raided in Turkey

Updated (19.08.2016): 22 journalists detained in Özgur Gündem raid have been released. Özgur Gündem is the latest opposition newspaper in Turkey to be forcibly shut down following the crackdown on media in the wake of a failed coup. A court in Istanbul ordered the closure of the pro-Kurdish newspaper on Tuesday for spreading alleged propaganda on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The move comes as Can Dündar, editor in chief of another opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, resigned from his position, claiming he would live abroad after having been condemned to 5 years in prison for allegedly divulging state secrets.…


Abusive behaviors and threats against Turkish journalists in detention

Evrensel journalists Hasan Akbaş, Fırat Topal and Serpil Berk, as well as Reuters’ correspondent Sertaç Kayar have been recounting “the torture and threats” they faced after being arrested as the crackdown on media continues across Turkey. The European and International Federation of Journalists (FEJ/FIJ) has joined their affiliate DISK Basin-Is in demanding an end to the crackdown and respect for the rights of professional media workers. The four journalists were among the first on the scene following a bomb attack on 10 August in the Southeast Anatolian province of Diyarbakir. Deemed suspicious by the police for being in the vicinity of…

Turkey #1 (1)

Solidarity campaign with Turkish journalists: how to help

 The European and International Federation of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) launched a solidarity campaign with the Turkish journalists following the new attacks on press freedom and human rights in Turkey since the coup attempt on 15 July. We invite EFJ/IFJ affiliates and partners to help the Turkish colleagues by: sending a letter to the Turkish ambassador in your country and/or your national government (sample letters enclosed) sending a contribution to the IFJ Safety Fund in order to support individual requests from Turkey (Bank account BE64 2100 7857 0052; Swift Code GEBABEBB; communication “Solidarity Turkey”) sharing in your social media and website the visual “Did you…


Journalists detained in Turkey since the coup attempt, 15 July

This list is no longer updated. Please now refer to this list. The EFJ and the IFJ listed 101 journalists and media workers/owners detained since the coup attempt (15 July) in Turkey: source: European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and affiliates list updated on: 13 October 2016 you can submit a new alert (arrest or release) HERE   İbrahim Balta (Zaman, arrested) Seyit Kılıç (former TRT) Bayram Kaya (Yeni Hayat, arrested) Cihan Acar (Bugün, arrested) Hanım Büşra Erdal (Zaman) Zeynel Abidin Bulut (Azadiya Welat, arrested) Zehra Dogan (JINHA, arrested) Sahin Alpay (former Zaman, arrested) Ali Bulaç (former Zaman, arrested) Mümtazer Türköne (former Zaman) Zafer…

A man holds up a placard as people demonstrate in support of Turkish daily newspaper Zaman in front the headquarters in Istanbul on March 4, 2016.
An Istanbul court on Friday ordered into administration the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman  that is sharply critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, amid growing alarm over freedom of expression in the country.  / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Turkey: EU must hold Turkish President accountable for press freedom violations

Updated 28.07.2016. As arrests of journalists and media closure continue, the European and the International Federation of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) call on the European Union to take additional steps to hold Turkish president Erdogan accountable for press freedom breaches.   Since the coup aimed at toppling President Erdogan failed on 16 July, the EFJ and IFJ have been alerting on the number of arrests of journalists and media closure for being allegedly  associated with the pro-Gülen movement accused of being behind the failed coup.   The situation came to a point where local media’s fear to be arrested is leading to an increasing…

International Conference 17-18 September 2015

In cooperation with the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), the International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) are organising a major conference on 17-18 September 2015 in Istanbul on Press Freedom and Labour Rights in Turkey. This International event, supported by the European Commission, will be an important opportunity to support journalists in Turkey (including jailed journalists), strengthen the position of the journalists' trade union and invite national and international NGO's to share their experiences on how to improve press freedom, freedom of expression on social media and protect workers' rights in the media industry. Crucially, the timing of the conference will enable participants to set out a new campaign strategy for media reform for the new political climate following the June parliamentary elections. See the draft programme and contact us for registration.

International Conference

Financially supported by

The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights


This project is being implemented by the following organisations





Mehmet Koksal mehmet@europeanjournalists.org www.europeanjournalists.org GPG key ID : 00B4765D


The Set Journalism Free in Turkey campaign is part of the Campaign to decriminalise Turkish Journalism , to free speech and protect work place rights project which receives the financial support of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Program managed by the European Commission. All responsibilities regarding the contents and the actions belong to the authors only and should not be considered as reflecting the views of the European Union.

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