A protest was staged Saturday in Istanbul, Turkey, over the incarceration of 16 Kurdish journalists since 8 June. The event, organised by Mezopotamya Women Journalists Platform (MKGP), Dicle Fırat Journalists’ Association (DFG) and the Union of Press and Print Workers, was attended by MPs Musa Piroğlu and Sezgin Tanrıkulu.
Diren Yurtsever, representing MKGP, said in her address:
“16 colleagues have been under arrest for a month now. We gathered here today because we do not accept their confinement, because we defend freedom of press, because we are aware that journalists are not able to work anymore under current conditions. We are here today to express our defiance of these conditions. We want to express once again that our colleagues are kept in custody unfairly and lawlessly. In lawless practices, the authorities recently even forbid them to send out letters. Let us say it once again: We will never take a step back. We will continue to be the voice of the people and our colleagues.”
The raids and mass arrests on 8 June
A police operation targeting Kurdish journalists, news agencies and production companies was launched on 8 June with dawn raids on houses and offices in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır (Amed).
22 people including 20 journalists were arrested. While police searches in the offices of Jin News, an all-women news agency, and Pel Production ended the same day, the searches continued in the offices of the other two video production companies till 11 July.
16 journalists were remanded in custody and sent to prison by a court order to await trial on 16 June.