Pro-Kurdish, leftist journalists detained by Turkish gov’t on Friday released

Five pro-Kurdish and leftist journalists who were detained in police raids on their houses early Friday have been released, the T24 news website reported on Monday.

Duygu Erol and Habibe Eren from Jinnews were released by the prosecutor on Monday. Erol was released on judicial probation. Diren Yurtsever and Selman Güzelyüz from the Mezopotamya news agency and Sibel Yükler from Jinnews were released after questioning by police on Saturday.

Police also raided the homes of reporters for the Etkin news agency (ETHA) in İstanbul on Thursday, detaining them and reportedly burning their press cards.

ETHA on Friday demanded that authorities release staff members İsminaz Temel and Havva Cuştan, who were taken into custody on Thursday. The two journalists were among 16 people detained on Thursday morning in İstanbul.

ETHA said in a written statement that “police with ski masks stormed the houses of our employees and wrote ‘The Grey Wolves were here’ on the walls, just like what was done in the wake of massacres in the Sur, Nusaybin, Cizre districts of southeastern Anatolia. They plundered their houses and burned their press cards.”

Meanwhile, veteran journalist Tuğrul Eryılmaz was given a suspended sentence of 15 months and a TL 6,000 fine over his participation in a solidarity campaign with the pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily.

Özgür Gündem was earlier accused of promoting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and shut down by the government. Several intellectuals and journalists stood in as symbolic editors-in-chief of the pro-Kurdish daily in solidarity with the paper as its editor was imprisoned even before the closure. Eryılmaz is one of the people who managed the daily for a day as a show of solidarity against the Erdoğan regime’s suppression of Özgür Gündem.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Centre for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 257 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of October 20, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 232 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 133 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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