Amnesty launches campaign to show solidarity with jailed journalists in Turkey

AI created a Twitter account under the pseudonym @FreeTurkeyMedia and called on Twitter users to make a #FreeTurkeyMedia sign, take a photo with it and tweet it with the hashtag to support the release of 162 journalists in Turkish jails.

Amnesty International launched a campaign on Twitter on Thursday to support jailed journalists in Turkey, calling for their release, with the hashtag #FreeTurkeyMedia.

AI created a Twitter account under the pseudonym @FreeTurkeyMedia and called on Twitter users to make a #FreeTurkeyMedia sign, take a photo with it and tweet it with the hashtag to support the release of 162 journalists in Turkish jails.

“Turkey has earned an accolade which holds no glory: according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, it is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world,” the campaign page on AI website said.

As of March 1, 2017, Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has confirmed that 200 journalists and media workers are behind bars in Turkey, a world record by any measure. Of these journalists, 179 are arrested pending trial and without a conviction. Most of the journalists do not even know what the charges are or what evidence, if any, the government has because the indictments were not filed yet.

The Turkish government is apparently using arbitrary arrests as part of intimidation campaign to suppress critical coverage, muzzle independent media and silence journalists. Only 21 journalists who are in jail were convicted while the rest are in abusive and long pre-trial detentions. Moreover, sweeping detention warrants have been issued for 92 journalists who are forced to live in exile abroad or remain at large in Turkey.

According to a tally by turkeypurge.com, 149 media outlets have been shut down by government decrees and 162 journalists arrested following a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016 for which Turkish authorities and Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan immediately put blame on the faith-based Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10.

As of March 23, 94,982 people were being held without charge, with an additional 47,128 in pre-trial detention due to their alleged links to the movement. A total of 7,317 academics were purged as well as 4,272 judges and prosecutors, who were dismissed due to alleged involvement in the July 15 coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com) March 30, 2017

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