Turkish government jails at least 10 activists, 3 more journalists

Turkish government has jailed at least 10 pro-Kurdish and leftist activists and 3 more journalists in Turkey.

Twelve people were reportedly detained by Turkish police on October 19, in an operation against members of Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), Socialist Youth Club’s Federation (SGDF), Law Office of the Oppressed (EHB).

An editor and a correspondent of Etkin News Agency (ETHA) were also detained. ETHA editor İsminaz Temel, ETHA correspondent Havva Cuştan and other appeared before a judge on Wednesday. The court decided to arrest all of them and sent them to prison.

The names of the arrested were reported as İsminaz Temel, Havva Cuştan, Özgen Sadet, Onur Binbir, Hünkar Yurtseven, İlhan Aslan, İsmail Geçkin, Özlem Gümüştaş, Avukat Sezin Uçar, Erkan Kakça, Meral Tatar and Mazlum Demirtaş.

ETHA had demanded the Turkish authorities last Friday to release its editor İsminaz Temel and reporter Havva Cuştan who were detained on Thursday. The two journalists were among 16 people detained on Thursday morning in İstanbul.

ETHA had said in a written statement that “The police with snow mask storming in the house of our employees wrote ‘Grey Wolves were here’ on the walls of the house just like done in the wake of the massacres in Sur, Nusaybin, Cizre district in southeast Anatolia. They plundered the house and burned their press card.”

Underlining that a house raids were also conducted on the employees of JinNews and Mezopotamya news agency and five journalists were detained, ETHA has stated that “They, just like all illegitimate political authorities, want to silence the media outlets and their employees who voice the demands of the oppressed.”

Bianet had reported that 20 houses were raided during the police operations. Two lawyers and two journalists were among the detainees.

Journalist Abdullah Dirican

Meanwhile, Abdullah Dirican, a domestic news editor for the now-defunct Zaman newspaper was also remanded in pretrial detention, Kronos online news outlet said on Oct 24. Zaman was earlier confiscated and shut down over its links to the Gulen movement, which the government blames for the last year’s failed putsch.

 

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 255 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of October 26, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 231 are arrested pending trial, only 24 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 Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

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