The German Journalists Association (DJV) on Saturday issued a statement saying it was concerned about the harassment of critical journalists by the Turkish government and demanded that the authorities release imprisoned journalists.
The DJV called on the German federal government to make clear to the Turkish government that prosecuting journalists is a serious offense. “The German government needs to make it very clear to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the hunt for journalists is not a trivial offense,” they said.
Frank Überall, the chairman of DJV, said the recent detention of Kurdish journalists should have consequences for the Turkish government. “Erdoğan has pursued a policy of suppressing dissident voices for years,” he said reiterating the demand to release imprisoned journalists.
Turkey is one of the world’s biggest jailers of professional journalists and was ranked 153rd among 180 countries in terms of press freedom in 2021, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Turkish journalists are often targeted and jailed for their journalistic activities.
Last week authorities detained 21 Kurdish journalists, sparking outrage among their colleagues and rights activists.
The detainees worked for Kurdish news outlets JinNews and the Mezopotamya news agency (MA). Among those who were detained were MA’s Editor-in-Chief Aziz Oruç, JinNews News Director Safiye Alagas and JinNews Editor-in-Chief Gülşen Koçuk.
The journalists are currently in custody at Diyarbakır police headquarters’ counterterrorism division, where they are reportedly being kept in one-person cells.