Jailed journalists refuse to wear uniforms designed for coup suspects in Turkish prisons

Imprisoned journalists from Cumhuriyet and Sözcü daily told members of Turkish press organization who visited them in Silivri jailed on Thursday that they will not wear uniforms, designed for jailed members of Gülen movement which is accused by Turkish authorities of being behind a failed coup last year.

According to TR724 website, Turkish Journalists’ Association (TGC) President Turgay Olcayto and Press Council (BK) in Turkey Pınar Türenç, along with several other TGC and BK officials, visited jailed Cumhuriyet and Sözcü journalists in Silivri Prison on Thursday as Turkish authorities permitted them to visit after 9,5 months.

Türenç said she has talked to Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, columnist Kadri Gürsel, reporter Ahmet Şık, Sözcü reporters Gökmen Ulu and Mediha Olgun and told them that government designed a uniform for jailed members of Gülen movement, which journalists are also accused of being a member, to wear in hearings.

“They all said they will not wear those uniforms, even if they were to face any consequences,” Türenç said.

Türenç also underlined that along with TGC, BK has worked a lot to arrange a visit to jailed journalists in Silivri Prison that took almost 9,5 months.

“All our application were rejected [former Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ]. We were given permission after the minister changed. We are very happy to see our friends. We are happy to see them in good health,” she said.

Last week, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said that if a government proposed regulation on uniforms for coup suspects were adopted, nearly 50,000 uniforms will be sewn by inmates and then sent to prisons holding suspects in cases involving followers of the Gülen movement.

Speaking on the issue in July, Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “We recently spoke to Mr. Prime Minister. They should wear uniforms like they do at Guantanamo [prison] when going to court.”

Cumhuriyet journalists were arrested by the İstanbul 9th Penal Court of Peace on Nov. 5, 2016. Atalay was detained at İstanbul Atatürk Airport upon his return from Germany and subsequently arrested on Nov. 12, 2016. Sözcü daily journalists were also arrested by a court in May 26 over their alleged support and ties to Gülen movement despite both newspapers are ideologically oppose Gülen movement.

On July 28, An İstanbul court released seven Cumhuriyet journalists and continued the pretrial detention of five others. (turkishminute.com)

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