Sami Tunca is 32 years old and has been behind bars for eight years. In September 2013 at the age of 24, he was arrested, after the start of the anti-government Gezi Protests in Istanbul in June that year, and was tried for his involvement in the protests. Tunca received a 52 year prison sentence in his trial. He was also editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Mücadele Birliği (Unity of Struggle) and has now been sentenced to a total of 70 years in prison for both his journalism and his participation in the protests.
He responded to a letter of solidarity sent to him by Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) at Tekirdag Type F Prison, where he is being held.
In his letter, Tunca gave information about the charges against him, and explained the meaning of being a journalist in Turkey and the conditions in prison, MA reports.
“In this land, meeting the reality of prison is actually great luck, because you could also face a situation of falling to the ground, to your death. If you’re a journalist, if you write, death is as close as the click of a camera shutter. You can be murdered by unkown people in acid wells or in the streets. Journalism is the most dangerous profession in a country full of dangers of this kind.” Tunca wrote in his letter to DGF.
Sami Tunca defines himself as a member of the revolutionary press in Turkey.
“It’s a difficult process for our friends outside too. Newspapers are closed down, journalists are tortured, detained and subjected to many other things. They (the authorities) want to keep the facts secret, they don’t want anything to be published in the media. However, as long as there is the concept of the revolutionary press in this country, the voice of the oppressed and the exploited will continue to be heard.”
He continued: “But if they sentence me not to 60-70 years in prison, but to thousands of years, I will continue to side with the workers, the oppressed Kurdish people, the women who are abused and subjected to violence, the students, the journalists. Until an equal and free world is established.”
Regarding the use of the pandemic as an excuse to increase the exploitation of rights in prisons, Tunca said in his letter: “With the conditions of the pandemic, the rights to talk to each other and do sports were completely banned, and visits were banned for months. Steps of normalisation are being taken outside, masks are being removed, but we prisoners continue to be heavily quarantined, even though we are doubly vaccinated. The guards are also vaccinated but still it goes on like this. While other people find it difficult to stay at home for two days, we have been in the same situation since March 2020. Imagine there’s only three of you for 24 hours a day.”