Turkey : #JournalismIsNotaCrime

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#GazetecilikSuçDegildir /  #JournalismIsNotaCrime

Campaign to set journalism free, develop trade union rights and defend freedom of expression in Turkey

The overall objective is to promote and protect fundamental rights through enhancing the role of journalists in promoting democracy, good governance and public’s right to access information. Freedom of expression is an enabling right for other human rights. Freedom of expression through quality journalism enables the abuse of other human rights to be exposed and those responsible to be held accountable. Strengthening the position of journalists and their ability to perform their role in serving the public with informed independent critical journalism is the bedrock of democracy.

Specific objectives include:

• Improve journalists’ rights, safety and independence through a strengthened Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS) that can protect professional and labour rights and improve conditions;
• End judicial harassment of journalists and the release of remaining jailed journalists.
• Improve coverage of equality and minority issues by media and improve treatment of minorities in media
At the heart of the specific objectives is the need to build a strong national journalists’ union that can protect and represent its members. A strong journalists’ union will promote the profession, promote the rights of its workers and the standards of journalism. It will engage employers, government and civil society on the need to protect quality, independent journalism as a lifeblood of society. It will unite the many different and diverse voices around the central principles of independent ethical journalism and the need to protect everyone’s right to contribute to it.


  • Work Package 1: Capacity building programme to audit, reform, equip and provide 3 leadership trainings of TGS staff, leaders and activists in Istanbul on union leadership, negotiating and campaigning
  • Work Package 2: 30 Recruitment activities at workplaces, 10 employer negotiations:
  • Work Package 3: Opening a new TGS branch /solidarity office in Diyarbakir
  • Work Package 4: 3 safety trainings for 60 journalists in South east Turkey on hostile environments, digital security, PTSD and first aid.
  • Work Package 5: Press Freedom, trial Monitoring and advocacy campaign with legal support co-ordinated nationally and internationally
  • Work Package 6: Journalists and unionists international advocacy and networking
  • Work Package 7: Women and LGBTI equality Commission campaign for equal treatment and improved reporting of equality issues.



Baltasar Garzon defending the arrested Swedish-Turkish journalist in Spain

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the decision of Baltasar Garzón, a former member of Spain’s National High Court (Audiencia Nacional) to take a pro bono defense of the Swedish-Turkish journalist Hamza Yalçin currently detained in Barcelona and pending extradition by an Interpol order issued by Turkey. The International Baltasar Garzón Foundation (Fibgar) represents Hamza Yalçin through the ILOCAD law firm, runned by the magistrate, who considers that the detention violates the journalist’s rights. Hamza Yalçin, 59, a journalist citizen of Sweden, is being held in custody in Spain after being arrested on 3 August at the Barcelona airport in compliance with an…

Pre-trial detention extended for Cumhuriyet journalists despite clear demonstrations

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) condemn the court’s decision to maintain the five Cumhuriyet journalists and media workers in pre-trial detention, after a 13-hour long hearing at Silivri prison, on 11 September 2017. The court ordered their detention despite clear demonstration by the defendants’ lawyers that the accusations of “without being a member of that organisation, spreading propaganda on behalf of an illegal terrorist organisation” were completely baseless. An international delegation including the EFJ-IFJ, IPI, PEN International, Norsk PEN, PEN Vlaanderen, RSF, foreign consulate representatives, foreign press correspondents and MEP Rebecca Harms has attended the hearing and shared solidarity…

Spain must release Swedish-Turkish journalist #HamzaYalçin!

UPDATE (24/08/2017):  Hamza Yalçin publishes letter in El Periodico criticising his arrest in Spain The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) together with its affiliates in Spain and Sweden have strongly condemned the continued imprisonment of Swedish-Turkish journalist Hamza Yalçin by Spanish authorities since 3 August 2017. “It turns out that Tayyip Erdogan declared me a terrorist because I have written and spoken against him and he warned Interpol to capture me and deliver me. The Spanish authorities, therefore, detained me and imprisoned me. I would hope that the Government of Sweden, a country to which I came…

Belgian Ministers asked to help release French journalist Loup Bureau

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has joined an initiative launched by the journalism school attended by the French journalist Loup Bureau calling on the Vice Prime Minister and the Minster of Foreign Affairs to help free the arrested journalist in Turkey. Bureau’s fellow students at the Brussels School of Journalism and Communication (IHECS) together with the EFJ, the Professional Journalists’ Association of Belgian and other educational institutions  has written to the Belgian government today for their help to release Bureau. Bureau was arrested on Wednesday 2 August by the Turkish police following five days of detention in southeastern Sirnak…

French journalist Loup Bureau arrested in Turkey

French journalist Loup Bureau was arrested on Wednesday 2 August by the Turkish police following five days of detention in southeastern Sirnak province on the Iraqi-Turkish border. He is detained on charges of “assisting a terror organisation”. Loup Bureau, 27, is a freelance journalist who worked for Arte, TV5 Monde, Slate. French news agency AFP reported that his charges are related to a report he had done in 2013 with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria – considered by Ankara as a terrorist organisation – which was broadcasted on TV5 Monde. According to Le Monde, Bureau wanted to report…

Turkish court frees seven jailed journalists

The trial, which began on Monday 24 July, involved 17 Cumhuriyet journalists and executives wrongfully accused of secretly supporting the PKK – a militant Kurdish organisation and FETO, the group allegedly responsible for last year’s failed coup. The Cumhuriyet employees on trial are editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, columnist Kadri Gürsel, CEO Akin Atalay, printing administrator Önder Çelik, attorney Bülent Utku, cartoonist Musa Kart, columnist Hakan Karasinir, attorney Mustafa Kemal Güngör, reporter Ahmet Şık, editor Turhan Günay, columnist Güray Öz, columnist Hikmet Aslan Çetinkaya, former editor-in-chief Can Dündar, columnist Aydin Engin, financial manager Bülent Yener, accounting manager Günseli Özaltay and columnist Orhan…

Turkey: Press freedom on trial

The EFJ is closely following the proceedings that started on Monday 24 July in Istanbul against 17 prominent journalists, editors and board members of Cumhuriyet newspaper, including Can Dündar, Kadri Gürsel, Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Şık. EFJ president Mogens Blicher Bjerregård participated in the court case on 24-25 July and met several journalists and EFJ affiliates. Below a personal account of his impressions: Press freedom must be protected, and not put on trial as it has happened this week in Istanbul with the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet. 17 journalists and executives are accused in a completely political and fabricated way for…

Cumhuriyet trial in Turkey: “This case is about criminalizing journalism”

The president of the European Federation of Journalists Mogens Blicher Bjerregård is attending today in Istanbul the opening of the trial of 17 journalists and executives at Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet.  “Journalism is not a crime,” chanted several hundred people gathered outside the central Istanbul court to protest against the prosecution of journalists, executives and lawyers of Cumhuriyet. “You can really feel the solidarity present in the courtroom,” said Mogens Blicher Bjerregård. “Let’s hope for justice.” On the behalf of the international support group attending the trial, Steven M. Ellis, from the International Press Institute, delivered the following statement, in front…