European Federation of Journalists

Turkey: Police arrest AFP photographer amid mass detentions at Istanbul Pride March


On Sunday, 26 June, Turkish police broke up the Istanbul Pride march, assaulting and detaining over 200 demonstrators and several journalists including an AFP photographer. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) stand with their Turkish affiliates in condemning the crackdown on journalists while doing their job.

Despite the ban on the march ordered by the governor and the heavy police presence, protestors gathered in large numbers around Taksim Square. The last authorised march in 2014 drew thousands of participants and the event has taken place every year since 2015, even though it was banned each year.

Police detained about four busloads of people, around 200 demonstrators, according to the pride organisers. AFP reported Turkish police prevented the media from filming the arrests, while DİSK Basın-İş Sendikas reported police beatings of journalists on the ground.

AFP’s chief photographer Bülent Kiliç was arrested while covering the event and taken away handcuffed after denouncing police violence against other media workers. His lawyer stated that he was released later on the day. Bülent Kiliç is a member of IFJ/EFJ affiliate of Turkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS) and was also detained while covering 2021 Istanbul Pride.

DİSK Basın-İş also denounced similar scenes in Izmir, where the association Kaos GL accounted for 12 people detained by the police.

IFJ and EFJ affiliates DİSK Basın-İş Sendikası, Gazeteciler Cemiyeti Dernegi (GCD), Turkiye Gazetciler Cemiyeti (TGC),  Turkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS) have condemned the attacks and restrictions on journalists covering a public interest event.

The IFJ and the EFJ stand in solidarity with their Turkish affiliates and all Turkish journalists who suffered beatings and harassment by the police for simply doing their job.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “Once again, Turkish authorities have shown the little respect they have for the journalists’ right to work independently and safely. We stand in solidarity with our Turkish affiliates and strongly condemn this new attack on Turkish journalists’ rights and freedoms.