*Updated at 18:30 (CET)
The number of detained journalists in Turkey escalated to five on Tuesday, as journalist Evrim Deniz was apprehended at a police station in Diyarbakır (Amed) while she was called in for testimony. The allegations against her are related to “targeting a public officer.”
Turkish police have detained Evrim Kepenek, an editor at Bianet, during a raid at her apartment in Istanbul on Tuesday, hours after the arrests of three other journalists at their homes in the early hours of the morning.
No information has been released, at time of reporting, on why Kepenek was detained.
Meanwhile, Mezopotamya Agency (MA) reporter Delal Akyüz’s detention this morning was reportedly on grounds of retweeting a news article about the transfer of a prosecutor responsible for preparing the indictment for 18 Kurdish journalists arrested in June 2022, and how the prosecutor’s wife was a member of the judiciary in the same trial.
According to MA, the Diyarbakır prosecutor’s office alleges that Akyüz’s retweet “targeted individuals who were involved in the fight against terrorism.”
Two other journalists, Sibel Yükler and Fırat Can Arslan are also believed to have been arrested on the same grounds.
Two of the arrests involved reporters Delal Akyüz and Fırat Can Arslan from the Kurdish network Mezopotamya Agency (MA), targeted as part of an investigation launched by the Diyarbakır (Amed) Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Police also seized the reporters’ phones and computers during the raids.
According to MA, Akyüz was arrested in Izmir, while Arslan’s detention took place in Ankara. Both journalists were subsequently taken to regional police stations. Whether they will be transferred to Diyarbakır, the focal point of the investigation, remains unknown at the time of reporting.
The third journalist to be arrested on Tuesday was T24 editor Sibel Yükler, detained in Ankara. The specific reason for her arrest or the scope of the investigation on the journalist has not yet been disclosed.
“Sibel Yükler, a journalist who exposed the files of dozens of imprisoned journalists to the public and revealed that those files were nothing but news, was arrested in an operation carried out at her home in the early morning,” journalist Gökçer Tahincioğlu said on Yükler’s arrest.
Over the past year, approximately 30 Kurdish journalists have been charged in Turkey under similar cases, with professional activities being equated to support of illegal organisations.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) recently called for an end to “the manipulation of anti-terrorist legislation by the Turkish judicial authorities”.