Turkish prosecutor extends journalist Erdem’s period of detention for 7 days

Journalist Zeki Erdem

Turkish prosecutors have extended the detention period of journalist Zeki Erdem, who has been under police custody since July 11, for another seven days, Evrensel daily reported on Wednesday.

Erdem, who is working for the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi daily, was detained in Şanlıurfa province on his way from Ankara to Diyarbakır. He is being kept under custody at the sports hall of a high school used by the Turkish police as a detention center in Şanlıurfa.

Mehmet Emin Yılmaz, who is working as a distributor for the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi daily and Rojeva Medya in Şanlıurfa, was also detained  on July 13 and has been under custody in the same sports hall since then.

It is still unknown on which charges Erdem and Yılmaz were detained due to a “confidentiality” decision on the investigations against them.

The lawyer of the journalists, Mikail Yavuz, said he met with his clients and they hope to  find out the accusations against the journalists when they are taken to a police station to give testimonies.

Assessing the state of the media in Turkey in a report on the occasion of the first anniversary of a failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) concluded that Turkish journalism is in its death throes because President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has used a state of emergency, declared after the failed coup, to step up a witch-hunt against critics.

“The state of emergency declared five days after the coup attempt has allowed the government to summarily close dozens of media outlets. And Turkey, which is ranked 155th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index, is now the world’s biggest prison for professional journalists, with more than 100 detained,” said RSF.

The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has also documented that 264 journalists are now in jails as of July 18, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 240 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 109 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com) July 19, 2017

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