Nine journalists from Kurdish media outlets, who have been accused of PKK membership and remanded in custody, are being held in solitary confinement at Sincan High Security Prison, reports Mezopotamya News Agency.
MA’s Editor-in-Chief Diren Yurtsever, reporters Berivan Altan and Ceylan Şahinli, and JinNews reporters Habibe Eren and Öznur Değer are being held in Sincan Women’s Closed Prison, while MA reporters Deniz Nazlım, Emrullah Acar, Selman Güzelyüz and Hakan Yalçın have been sent to Sincan High Security Prison.
One of the arrested journalists Berivan Altan sent a message through her lawyer saying that the government aims to silence journalists and the free press (referring to the Kurdish media) and said that the free press cannot be silenced by these arrests, reported MA.
Öznur Değer also said that the arrested journalists are successors of Gurbetelli Ersöz (a Kurdish news editor similarly arrested in the 1990s and unable to resume her profession) but that the prisons will not take away their pens.
Another of the journalists Diren Yurtsever said, “By this process, the conditions for practising journalism in Turkey have been abolished and our expectation from our colleagues and from all sectors of society is that they must protect journalism.”
Sipan Cizreli, a lawyer for the journalists, said that an arrest warrant had been issued for the clients without any evidence.
On 25 October, a week after the enactment of the new disinformation law, Turkish police detained 11 journalists from the Kurdish outlets Mezopotamya News Agency and JinNews in Ankara, Istanbul and Manisa and the predominantly Kurdish cities of Mardin (Męrdîn), Diyarbakir (Amed), Urfa (Riha) and Van (Wan).
The number of imprisoned journalists in Turkey rose to 67 with the remand in custody of the nine on 29 October. The court accused the journalists of PKK membership, based on the journalists’ news stories, social media posts and travel destinations. They gave their preliminary statements before prosecutors after four days in police custody.