European Federation of Journalists

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 seized.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) condemns the raid against the only daily Kurdish language newspaper and stands in solidarity with all media workers detained. The new case is considered as a new media freedom violation and will be submitted to the Council of Europe platform for the protection and safety of journalists as well as the Mapping Media Freedom platform. DISK Basin-Is (Journalists Union of Turkey) also condemned the raid and called for the immediate release of the media workers.

Authorities have subjected Azadiya Welat to persistent judicial harassment since its founding in 1992. Turkey has closed more than 130 media outlets and arrested more than 60 journalists since the state of emergency was declared in the wake of last month’s (15 July) failed military coup.

Credit  Photo: EFJ collage