Resolution Turkey: The myth of domestic legal remedy

Nearly 50 MEPs join the resolution supported by the EFJ calling for restoration of rule of law and release of Turkey’s journalists. MEP Rebecca Harms (centre) at a roundtable on press freedom in Turkey at the European Parliament in January 2019 A total of 47 MEPs and 14 press freedom and free expression organizations, including the EFJ, and Green MEP Rebecca Harms have joined a resolution underscoring the lack of effective domestic legal remedies for journalists targeted in Turkey’s media crackdown. The resolution follows a roundtable held under Chatham House Rules on January 29, 2019, at the European Parliament on…

Report: Urgent action needed to protect press freedom in Europe

Press freedom in Europe is more fragile now than at any time since the end of the Cold War. That is the alarming conclusion of a report launched today by the 12 partner organizations of the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of Journalism and safety of journalists. The report, “Democracy at Risk”, analyses media freedom violations raised to the Platform in 2018. It provides a stark picture of the worsening environment for the media across Europe, in which journalists increasingly face obstruction, hostility and violence as they investigate and report on behalf of the public. The 12 Platform partners…

Turkey: solidarity with a newspaper is not a crime

UPDATE (29-01-2019) : Ayşe Düzkan and four other journalists were sentenced to prison because of participating in the “Editor-in-Chief on Duty” campaign with the now-closed Özgür Gündem newspaper. Today, Ayşe Düzkan went to the prosecution office and was sent to Bakırköy prison. Her friends, her colleagues and also DİSK Basın İş members were with her. She was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison. But it is not certain how much time she will stay in prison yet. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is calling the Turkish authorities to immediately release Ayse and the other journalists sentenced in the framework…

Turkey deports Dutch journalist without explanation

On 17 January 2019, the journalist Ans Boersma, Turkey correspondent for the Dutch financial paper Het Financieele Dagblad, was deported from Istanbul and sent back to Amsterdam. Ms Boersma was apprehended by Turkish police a day before following her visit to the migration office to renew her residence permit as a foreign correspondent. Just nine days before her arrest, she received her accreditation and press card from the Turkish authorities for the year 2019. Ruling out the possibility of a misunderstanding or administrative issue, the police told the journalist that  she formed a risk to Turkey’s national security without any further…

Journalist Pelin Ünker sentenced to jail for writing on “Paradise Papers”

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) shared its condemnation of the jail sentence against a Turkish female journalist for writing investigative stories on the “Paradise Papers”,  a set of confidential electronic documents relating to secret offshore investments. “In Turkey the price for doing investigative journalism is not an award but prison. All European Leaders should put pressure on Turkey to drop all the charges against Pelin Ünker”, said Mogens Blicher Bjerregaard, EFJ President. The EFJ reported the case as a media freedom violation to the Council of Europe’s Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists : On 8…

Turkish court upheld prison sentences for 5 journalists

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) strongly condemn the confirmation of prison sentences for five journalists by the Third Penal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice in Turkey. In the lawsuit filed against five journalists for participating in the Editors-in-Chief on Watch campaign that was launched in solidarity with Özgür Gündem, a Kurdish daily newspaper, which was subsequently banned per the Statutory Decree no. 675, the İstanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court gave its verdict for Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, columnists of the newspaper Mehmet Ali Çelebi and Hüseyin Bektaş and its former Co-Editor-in-Chief Hüseyin Aykol on January…

Nine international organisations urge EU officials to raise Turkey’s freedom of expression crisis during EU-Turkey high political dialogue

To the attention of:  EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Ms Federica Mogherini,  EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Mr Johannes Hahn,  We, the undersigned organisations, urge the addressed European Union (EU) officials to discuss Turkey’s freedom of expression crisis and fractured rule of law during their high level political dialogue with the Turkish government on 22 November 2018.  More than 160 journalists are imprisoned in Turkey today, with hundreds more on trial for exercising their right to freedom of expression. In 2018, the World Press Freedom Index…

EFJ-IFJ launch a transitional solidarity fund for journalists in Turkey

Journalists in Turkey have in recent years faced unprecedented state crackdown. Despite the lifting in July 2018 of a two-year long state of emergency, the press continues to be stifled and journalists to face trials, job insecurity and abuse. Thousands of journalists have been sacked in recently years, particularly in the last two, with catastrophic impact on the victims and their families. To support journalists in need and their families, the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) have established a transitional solidarity fund for journalists in Turkey. This solidarity fund provides financial relief to prosecuted and sacked journalists. It…

Council of Europe: #EndImpunity for crimes against journalists

Today, marking the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’, the Safety of Journalists Platform launches a special page, which presents 16 cases of unsolved murders of journalists in the Council of Europe member states, as submitted by the partner organisations, including the European Federation of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists. These cases are listed on the platform as impunity for murders, highlighting deficiencies in investigations and failure to bring to justice all the perpetrators, the organisers or the masterminds of these crimes. The 16 cases are: Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev (2013, Russian Federation); Mikhail Beketov (2013, Russian Federation); Hrant Dink (2007,…

Khashoggi case: EFJ-IFJ calls for an international independent investigation under the UN authority

The EFJ backs the IFJ call to “end the lies, cover-up and appeasement over killing of Jamal Khashoggi”. As more and more evidence emerges about the gruesome nature of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the IFJ-EFJ has called on the international community to stop appeasing the Saudi regime. Converging reports from Turkish and international media and video footage indicate that the journalist was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by Saudi hitmen, some with links to the government. Furthermore, Turkish investigators announced that the search of the consulate on Monday has brought more evidence that Mr Khashoggi was killed there.…

Turkish court upheld aggravated life sentences for journalists

On 2 October 2018, the Istanbul Court of appeal upheld aggravated life sentences of six suspects, including journalists, over terrorism charges. Nazlı Ilıcak, Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Fevzi Yazıcı, Yakup Şimşek and Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül were convicted for attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, reported Anadolu Agency. All suspects were accused of being linked to FETÖ, the group which is widely believed by Turkish authorities to have orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 that killed 250 people and injured nearly 2,200 others. The journalists had appealed to the high court for their release but the court of appeal upheld their sentence.…