A group of journalists and writers released a joint statement on Friday in protest against the arrests of Kurdish journalists in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır (Amed).
21 journalists, including co-chair of the Dicle-Fırat Journalists’ Association and the director of all women news agency Jin News, were taken into custody in house raids, and the offices of Jin News was stormed by the police on Wednesday.
The statement by 40 journalists read:
“The pressures by the AKP-MHP regime on the press, particularly on Kurdish journalists, increase as the elections approach. The arrests of 21 journalists (reporters of Mezopotamya News Agency and Jin News, whose only offence is to make news reports) in house raids, and keeping them handcuffed for hours signify not only violation of freedom of press, but also of most basic human rights.
“The totalitarian regime targets ever more severely those who do not conform to its policies and who reports on facts. This policy of opression and intimidation aims to destroy freedom of information, and also implies preparations for election fraud in the coming elections. The administration aims to disrupt flow of information and news reports on violations especially in Kurdish-majority provinces.
“The silence of the main opposition and other opposition parties in the face of these pressures, as it’s always been the case when repression against Kurds are concerned, will mean shooting themselves in the foot. It’s naive to think that there can be a fair election in the absence of a free, independent press.”
The statement ends with a call:
“We strongly condemn these pressures against journalists and call on everyone to stand against such moves of the administration, and to act in solidarity with our colleagues.”