Twelve journalists in Kurdish media, including Mezopotamya Agency (MA) editor-in-chief Diren Yurtsever, will face a judge on the first hearing of the case against them on Tuesday in Turkish capital Ankara.
Ten of the 12 journalists have been in pre-trial detention since October 2022, and the indictment against them was written up some three and a half months after their initial arrest. The news agency itself is listed as a defendant in the case.
The court previously rejected an appeal by the journalists’ lawyer for their release, on the grounds that the defendants were “strongly suspected” of having committed a crime. It also said there was “concrete evidence” that the journalists were at flight risk as they were facing serious charges and they had been behind bars for a long time.
The Mesopotamia Women Journalists’ Platform (MGKP) condemned the continued arrests and the arrest of 27 journalists in April in a statement supporting the 12 defendants. According to the professional organisation, at least 34 journalists have been arrested in the past 11 months in operations targeting Kurdish media in Turkey.
Domestic and international press and human rights organisations have expressed concern about the ongoing detention of the journalists. The trial has been widely seen as a test of press freedom in Turkey, with many questioning the legitimacy of the charges against the journalists and the lack of evidence presented so far.