On 8 June 20 Kurdish journalists were detained in dawn raids on their homes in the city of Diyarbakır; a city where a vibrant network of Kurdish news outlets report day and night on news events that are largely ignored, censored or distorted by the mainstream Turkish media platforms. The journalists are still being held in conditions of solitary confinement in prison and have been facing interrogation for 6 days now.
This struggle for legitimacy and for the reporting of the truth by Kurdish journalists has had a long history in Turkey, going back to the 1980s, while profound sacrifices have been made by Kurdish journalists in return for their gains and enormous achievements: Becoming more visible while revealing the truth.
The truth that the Turkish state would rather not be told.
Many were jailed, tortured, abducted, killed and maimed, especially during the notorious 1980s and 1990s.
Unfortunately, after decades of this struggle for the truth in the harshest of conditions and circumstances, Kurdish journalists are now, once again, being targeted as they were a quarter of a century ago.
We strongly condemn the latest attacks of the Turkish authorities against these Kurdish journalists, although we know that mere words will not have an impact on the official policies of violence and repression.
We, however, stand with them, shoulder to shoulder.
We call on all fellow journalists, all human rights defenders, everyone who believes that the truth is precious, to stand in solidarity with these journalists facing such repression, and to defend independent journalism together, hand in hand. To report on the situation of these detained journalists and to raise and highlight their situation within journalist organisations and unions. To demand their freedom.
We ourselves demand the immediate release of our colleagues, who were detained in Diyarbakır in this brutal political attempt to disrupt the flow of information from the Kurdish-majority provinces of Turkey. Free journalism will prevail.