Magazine salesman arrested over alleged links to outlawed PKK

Ramazan Dişarı, an employee of the left-wing Demokratik Modernite Dergisi (Democratic Modernity Magazine), was detained by police on Sunday while selling magazines at the provincial congress of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey’s western Tekirdağ province, Bianet reported.

Dişarı was taken to the Tekirdağ police station on allegations of membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), disseminating terrorist propaganda and providing funds to the PKK through the sale of magazines.

Dişarı, who denied the formal charges at his arraignment on Monday, stated that he obtained the magazines he sold from their official publishers and that this could not be a crime.

Dişarı’s lawyer, Özcan Kılıç, stated that his client had only worked in the distribution of the magazines, was not a writer and could not be held responsible for their content. He added that the revenue he earned from the sale of the magazines was less than TL 1,000 ($54) and that it was ridiculous to claim such a small amount of money could be used as funds for a terrorist organization. Kılıç also demanded that Dişarı be released pending trial.

The Broadcasting and Print Workers Union (DİSK BASIN-İŞ) said on Twitter that newspaper and magazine distributers were very important in making sure people had access to the news. They urged the authorities to immediately release Dişarı.

Turkey, which is known as one of the top jailers of journalists in the world, was ranked 149th among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2022 World Press Freedom Index.

Dozens of critical journalists were jailed in Turkey, while many media outlets were closed down in the aftermath of a coup attempt in the country in July 2016.

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