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Media and human rights activists arrested in Turkey

By Rudaw 20/6/2016
Ahmet Nesin, Şebnem Korur Financı and Erol Önderoglu were arrested on Sunday
Ahmet Nesin, Şebnem Korur Financı and Erol Önderoglu were arrested on Sunday
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Turkey has arrested three activists for their role in a campaign of solidarity with the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which was subjected to investigation and censorship by the authorities. 

The three arrested on Monday under Turkey’s anti-terror law are Erol Önderoglu, Turkey’s representative for media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders, RSF); Şebnem Korur Financı, president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT); and journalist and author Ahmet Nesin. 

Turkey’s media has faced repression by the authorities through intimidation, harassment, and judicial investigation since the return to violence in the country’s southeast between the Turkish army and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) last summer. RSF placed Turkey 151st out of 180 countries on its 2016 press freedom list.

Özgür Gündem, which Ankara and the United States describe as pro-PKK, a group both countries have named as a terrorist organization, invited journalists and intellectuals to serve as guest editors in an act of solidarity against violations of the freedom of the press.  

Forty-four guest editors have participated in the campaign since it launched on May 3, World Press Freedom Day. Prosecutors have opened investigations into all of them, including the three arrested Sunday on charges of making terrorism propaganda. 

In a statement on their website, HRFT condemned Sunday’s arrests. “The warrant of arrest against Şebnem Korur Fincancı who committed herself to fight against human rights violations, mainly torture and ill-treatment at domestic and international level, should also be considered as a threat against the struggle for abolishment of human rights violations including torture and ill-treatment.”

In court, Financı said that her stint as editor-in-chief of the paper for a day came within the context of freedom of thought and freedom of expression.

RSF also issued a statement following their arrest, describing Erol Önderoglu, who has represented RSF in Turkey since 1996, as the country’s leading advocate for freedom of expression.

“It is absurd and profoundly shameful to see him accused of terrorism, a victim of the abuse he has always denounced,” said Johann Bihr, head of RSF’s office for East Europe and Central Asia. 

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) accused Ankara of misusing its terror legislation to silence critics.

“Showing solidarity by working as journalist or editor-in-chief cannot be considered terror propaganda. The Turkish authorities are clearly misusing the legislation to silence critics and human rights defenders. Those people arrested must immediately be released. Turkey is working against itself by jailing press freedom activists,” said EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregard.

Turkey’s anti-terror laws, deemed too broad by Europe, are a sticking point in a deal between the EU and Turkey to stem the flow of migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey, one aspect of which is for the EU to grant Turkey visa-free travel if they fulfill certain pre-conditions including narrowing their definition of terrorism. Turkey has refused to do so stating that it cannot be expected to be soft on terrorism while it is combatting the PKK and Islamic State. 

After appearing before a judge in Istanbul, all three have been placed in provisional detention. 


Özgür Gündem, in a statement on their website, has said that they will continue their work and will not remain silent in the face of oppression.


kurt basar | 20/6/2016
what else do they you expected from those Turkish Salafi Muslim cutthroats & cruel backward barbarians, who are admirers of the Genghis & Hulagu khan & Tamerlane, who build screaming human wall by mixing the human w/ cement at his Sistan, Iran expedition, Question is, for how long those supposed to be civilized nations are going to tolerate this Salafi rat provocateur? who is exporting the savage Muslim terrorists to their country by supporting all of the Salafi Muslim terrorist organizations worldwide and burning the poor Kurd's alive at their homes.
Stephanie Bauer | 20/6/2016
They won't get away with this
Ridiculous | 21/6/2016
I dont get why Obama does not negotiate a fu* deal with Putin in order to eliminate the Turkish government what they 100% deserve. Is that so difficult? If this continues while Erdogan continues his stupid game and people of Turkey want to profit from this, then a a military intervention would be needed and logical. Bom some military bases of Turkey and they will keep quiet very quickly.

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