“The economic crisis is deepening, there are military operations in the works, and the presidential and parliamentary elections process for next year has started. Journalists follow these and report on them, that may be the reason for their detention,” said Dicle Fırat Journalists Association co-chair Serdar Altan, who is among the 21 who were arrested.
The journalists still have not been notified of a concrete reason for their arrest. They were only notified of the extension of their time in custody today, said Mezopotamya Agency editor Aziz Oruç, another journalist from among the 21. “We asked the police why we were taken, but they do not know either. They only told us there was ‘an order’.”
When the journalists were arrested in dawn raids on Wednesday, police confiscated digital documents from their homes and hard drives from the raided offices. The fact that the news agencies’ documents were confiscated “explains the reason for our arrest and show that the investigation is against our journalistic activities”, Oruç said.
Journalists will not be silenced with such arrests, he added.
Another arrestee, reporter Ömer Çelik, said the operation was “an attempt to criminalise journalism”. Çelik said the authorities were also not sure what to charge them with, so they were buying time with the extension.