On 20 July, journalists were detained alongside several protesters during a commemoration event marking the sixth anniversary of the Suruç Massacre in Istanbul.
Ten days later, journalists and leaders of trade unions made a public announcement in Istanbul, condemning the detention, the police violence against journalists and attempts by police officers to obstruct the people’s right to information.
Meral Danıldız, a journalist who made the announcement, pointed out that no legal action had yet been taken against the officers who prevented the journalists from doing their job and who had used force against them.
“It’s common knowledge that aggression against journalists is on the rise after the police circular on preventing image recording in social events,” she said. She also drew attention to an earlier incident in June when Agence France Presse (AFP) reporter Bülent Kılıç was choked almost to death by the police.
“Leaving this kind of violence unpunished brings forth new cases of violence. The violence against our colleague Bülent Kılıç at Taksim, the fact that the perpetrators are still active in the police force, is the reason behind the planned and directed assault on journalists on 20 July … We are working to provide accurate news for the people. We know that these assaults also target the people’s right to information.”
Faruk Eren, the chairman of the Press and Publishing Workers’ Union, spoke after the announcement and expressed his confidence that they would stop the repression taking place against journalists. “The journalists are carrying out a public service. We’ll not be stopped by repression,” he said.
Gökhan Durmuş, the chairman of Turkey’s Journalists’ Union, made a vow, saying that as the organisations of the profession, “they would not remain silent and would keep on standing in front of the Courthouse, the city administration, the Interior Ministry until the crimes didn’t go unpunished.”
After the announcement, three journalists who were detained during the 20 July commemoration protest filed criminal complaints against the police.
On 20 July 2015, there had been a suicide attack on a group of young activists in Suruç (Pirsûs) in Urfa (Riha). The group, consisting mainly of university students, were there for a planned trip to Kobane on the other side of the border, intending to join recontruction activities after the city had survived a lengthy siege and attack by ISIS.
Thirty three people were killed and 104 wounded in the bombing. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack the following day. The attack has never been investigated or processed properly, and a secrecy order was placed on it for 21 months.