Turkey detains 2 journalists in morning raids

Journalists Selamet Turan (L) and Kibriye Evren

Turkish police detained journalists Kibriye Evren and Selamet Turan during Friday morning raids on their houses, Turkish media reported.

Evren was detained at her İstanbul home and taken to a counterterrorism department, according to DİSK Basın-İş, a journalists union of which she’s a member.

The authorities barred her from seeing her lawyers for a period of 24 hours, the union said.

Turan was detained at her home in Şırnak, a province in the predominantly Kurdish southeast Turkey.

The grounds for their detention have not been disclosed, the reports said.

Journalists in Turkey commonly face accusations of terrorism, insult, denigration and inciting hatred in connection with their work. Recent legislation enacted by the government has also criminalized spreading “false or misleading information.”

Those reporting on the situation of the Kurdish minority and the Kurdish political movement often face charges of membership in or disseminating propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The prosecutors of these journalists typically cite their news coverage and social media commentary as evidence in their cases. The indictments rely on Turkey’s anti-terror laws, which are frequently criticized for being overly broad, allowing too much room for interpretation.

Many human rights groups have also reported a lack of judicial independence in the country, which was ranked 117th among 142 countries in the rule of law index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in October, dropping one rank in comparison to last year.

Turkey is among the top jailers of journalists in the world and was ranked 165th in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2023 World Press Freedom Index, among 180 countries, not far from North Korea, which occupies the bottom of the list.

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