Turkish gov’t detains journalist Öner, former editor of pro-Kurdish Demokratik Modernite magazine

The Turkish government on Friday detained Servet Öner, the former editor of pro-Kurdish monthly magazine Demokratik Modernite, in the Beyoğlu district of İstanbul as part of an investigation that was launched in Diyarbakır province.

Öner is reportedly expected to be taken to Diyarbakır.

Meanwhile, Kurdish journalist Kibriye Evren, who was detained as part of the operation launched in Diyarbakır on October 9, was arrested. Other detained journalists including Abdurrahman Gök, Semiha Alankuş, Lezgin Akdeniz, Esra Solin Dal, Cihan Ölmez and Mehmet Akdoğan as well as distributor of the Yeni Yaşam newspaper Savaş Aslan were still in custody at the Diyarbakır Police Station.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 237 journalists and media workers were in jail as of October 7, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 169 were under arrest pending trial while only 68 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 148 journalists who are living 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 some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

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