Turkey’s prominent human rights advocate and journalist Eren Keskin, who is facing 143 lawsuits and barred by Turkish government from international travel due to her position as editor-in-chief of the government closed pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily, was awarded by Stockholm-based Anna Dahlbäck Memorial Fund with the Human Rights Prize of 2017.
Since Eren Keskin could not attend the award ceremony in Mediterranean Museum (Medelhavmuseet) due to her travel ban her colleague Sidar Güney attended the ceremony on behalf of her and read out a two-page letter written by Keskin.
Keskin has stated in her written speech that the human rights situation in Turkey is dire and that hundreds of journalists, writers and human rights advocates are jailed after Turkish government’s intense crackdown on media and the rights defenders.
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 283 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of August 18, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 258 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 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. Turkey’s Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) recently announced that more than 900 press cards were cancelled.