Turkey’s broadcasting authority imposed a one-week suspension on the TELE1 TV channel on Thursday following the recent arrest of its editor-in-chief Merdan Yanardağ for his criticism of the ongoing incommunicado detention of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan.
On the same day, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted Yanardağ during a meeting of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), accusing him of being a “terror lover disguised as a journalist.”
The Turkish Journalists’ Association (TGC) strongly condemned the decision by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), describing it as a “dark mark” on press history.
The secretary general of the TGC, Sibel Güneş, revealed the Ministry of Justice’s refusal to permit their visit to Yanardağ and questioned the reason behind such denial in an appearance on TELE1.
On Wednesday, a court rejected an appeal by Yanardağ’s lawyers against the journalist’s pre-trial detention.
The veteran journalist had been imprisoned on 27 June for publicly stating that the Turkish government’s absolute isolation of Öcalan in İmralı Island Prison is a violation of the country’s own laws.
Yanardağ had criticised the secretive policies of the ruling government and remarked that Öcalan had been turned into a bargaining chip by the government.