Turkish gov’t detains yet another pro-Kurdish journalist

The Turkish government has detained pro-Kurdish journalist Çağdaş Kaplan, editor-in-chief of the Yeni Yaşam newspaper, in İstanbul, according to a report by the Mezopotamya news agency on Sunday.

Kaplan has been charged with disseminating the propaganda of an illegal organization, Mezopotamya said.

Kaplan was expected to appear in court on Sunday. There were no immediate reports of Kaplan’s current situation. A Twitter storm is set to demand freedom for the journalist with hashtag #GazeteciÇağdaşKaplanSerbestBırakılsın (Free Journalist Çağdaş Kaplan) at 11 a.m. local Turkish time.

Referred to court on a charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” on Sunday, journalist Çağdaş Kaplan was released by the court.

A group of journalists started publication of the Yeni Yaşam newspaper on May 25, 2018.

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 236 journalists and media workers were in jail as of September 20, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 168 were under arrest pending trial while only 68 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 147 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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