66-year-old columnist Bulaç says denied access to books in prison

Veteran columnist and writer Ali Bulaç.

Under arrest since July 31, 2016, veteran columnist and writer Ali Bulaç has said he is being denied access to books in prison.

A main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) delegation has recently paid a visit to some of the arrested journalists in Silivri prison. According to a report CHP group prepared on its visits, Ali Bulaç is not able to access to writing materials as well as books.

“Let them give me meal only once a day. It doesn’t matter of they leave me to starve but they shall not keep me without books. I am 66 years old. I want to write a new book but I can’t. This affects me more than hunger,” Bulaç said.

“I have health problems. I have diabetes. [But] They give me only generic pills not the original ones,” he added.

As a columnist for the now-closed Zaman and Today’s Zaman dailies, Bulaç was detained on July 27, 2016 over his alleged ties to the Gülen movement. He was arrested only three days after on accusation of spreading propaganda on behalf of the movement.

Turkey stands out from the crowd by a distant margin by holding a record number of 235 journalists and media workers behind bars, breaking an all time world record. More than half of the journalists who are in prison around the world are now located in Turkey, a member of the Council of Europe (CoE) and a candidate member for the European Union (EU).

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 237 journalists are in jails as of May 6, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 215 are arrested pending trial, only 22 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons.  An outstanding detention warrants remain for 100 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey. Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the coup attempt. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) May 7, 2017

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