Turkey: at least seven journalists detained by police for reporting on the protests against trustees


UPDATE: The journalists Ahmet Kanbal, Mehmet Şah Oruç, Rojda Aydın, Nurcan Yalçın and Halime Parlak were released on August 26. Tunahan Turhan, a reporter for the Etkin news agency (ETHA), was detained while he was preparing to cover a demonstration in protest of the government-appointed trustees. Tunahan Turhan and Taylan Özgür Öztaş were released on August 23 under judicial control measures.

 

At least seven journalists were taken in custody on Tuesday 20 August after reporting on protests taking place in three southeast Turkish cities, Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, as well as in Istanbul. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) join their affiliate in Turkey in calling for their immediate release.

Turkish people have been demonstrating for four days against the Ministry of Interior’s decision to replace three pro-Kurdish new-elected mayors by State appointed mayor (trustees), on 19 August. Several demonstrators and members of Parliament have been injured in police riots involving rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas.

In Mardin, Mezopotamya Agency reporters Ahmet Kanbal and Mehmet Şah Oruç, Jinnews reporter Rojda Aydın and freelance journalists Nurcan Yalçın and Halime Parlak have been detained by the police. Journalist Yelda Çiçek is still being detained In Diyarbakır, the region’s biggest city. In Istanbul, Özgür Gelecek reporter Taylan Özgür Öztaş was taken in custody following a house raid on the grounds that he participated in the Istanbul protest.

The Journalists’ union DISK Basın-İş said in a statement: “We want the immediate release of our friends who are in favour of the truth and who have the right to receive and impart information. It is not journalists who should be detained or tried, but public officials who do not recognise rights and laws.”

The Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) representative in Diyarbakır, Mahmut Oral, stated:As always, we condemn this attack on the journalists’ freedom of information and the right of the community to receive it. We demand the immediate release of our friends.”

Credit photo: AFP