As Turkey’s crackdown on pro-Kurdish circles continues in pre-election operations, a court sent five people, including journalists, to prison on Wednesday, World Press Freedom Day.
A prosecutor referred 15 of 19 total detainees from operations on Saturday to court for arrest on Tuesday evening. The operations were triggered by an Ankara-based investigation and took place in 15 provinces.
Five people were sent to prison, including Kurdish journalists Dicle Müftüoğlu and Sedat Yılmaz, who were detained in the Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakır (Amed), brought to Ankara, and subjected to ill-treatment. The court released the remaining detainees with judicial control measures.
“This waylayer order is about to collapse, it will end in 10 days,” said Mezopotamya Agency’s editor Yılmaz, in front of the court gate after the ruling.
“For a week now, the government has devoted all its time to arresting journalists. We are not silenced before and we will not be silenced today. Every free press worker arrested is our honour,” said the Dicle-Fırat Journalists Association, of which Müftüoğlu is a co-chair.
Five other Kurdish journalists, Abdurrahman Gök, Beritan Canözer, Mehmet Şah Oruç, Mikail Barut and Remzi Akkaya were recently arrested, on 27 April during another pre-election investigation, and sent to prison.
“I am so sorry that Abdurrahman Gök, Mehmet Şah Oruç, Remzi Akkaya and Beritan Canözer, whom I worked with for years, have been arrested. They left a heavy burden on my shoulders, but I swear and promise that we will carry 50 times more than our weight, like an ant,” Yılmaz tweeted on 27 April after the court ordered the arrest of the journalists. He was arrested the day after he wrote these words.
Along with Müftüoğlu and Yılmaz, there are currently at least 66 journalists in prison in Turkey, 33 of which have been arrested over the past 10 months, according to the Turkish Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA).