Professional journalism organizations reacted to the detention of 21 journalists as part of the investigation initiated by the Diyarbakir Prosecutor’s Office.
The Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG), of which the most detained journalists are members, said in a statement: “Unfortunately, the government is targeting all from the opposition in order to get out of the jam which it is in,” Here’s that statement.‘’On June 8, 2022, as part of an investigation conducted in Diyarbakir, a large-scale detention operation was conducted against journalists and media outlets. On the one hand, in order to silence the free media and prevent the public from hearing the facts, legal restrictions are constantly being tried, and on the other hand, journalists who are
reporting despite many difficulties are being detained and operations are being carried out against media outlets. Turkey, which is at the bottom of the world press freedom ranking, is heading towards the last place due to these practices targeted to the press. Almost every day journalists and media outlets are being investigated. More than a week after arrest and release of our co-chairman Dicle Müftüoğlu, dozens of journalists, including our co-chairman Serdar Altan, were raided and detained in the early morning from their homes. Journalists who went to the institution where they worked every day and broadcast publicly on television were criminalized by creating the perception that they were doing a secret job. However, even in the statement of the police, we have seen that the accusations against all our colleagues are all journalistic activities.
The current government in Turkey is in a political, economic and social crisis. Anti-democratic practices are increasing day by day in the country. Accordingly, the economic crisis is gradually deepening. The government resorts to the war methods to make people forget about rights violations and the economic crisis. It is also oppressing and violent to those who oppose it. In the last two weeks, the government has conducted extensive operations aimed at opposition youth, politicians conducting democratic politics, and women’s rights defenders. Unfortunately, the government is targeting all the opposition in order to get out of this jam which it is in.
Now an operation was carried out against journalists who report on these operations and expose their war policies. As part of the operation, Serdar Altan, Safiye Alagaş, Gülşen Koçuk, Aziz Oruç, Ömer Çelik, Suat Doğuhan, Ramazan Geciken, Esmer Tunç, Neşe Toprak, Zeynel Bulut, Mazlum Güler, Mehmet Şahin, Elif Üngür, İbrahim Koyuncu, Remziye Temel, Mehmet Yalçın, Abdurrahman Öncü, Mehmet Ali Ertaş, Lezgin Akdeniz ve Kadir Bayram were detained. Six institutions where journalists worked were raided and their technical materials were confiscated. A total of 6 media organizations were targeted, two of which were news agencies (MA-Mesopotamia Agency, JINNEWS), one of which was published in Kurdish (Xwebûn), three production companies (Piya, Ari and Pel). The press and publication materials in these institutions that were raided were confiscated by the police and taken away. Mehmet Ali Ertaş, Editor-in-Chief of Xwebûn Newspaper, was held in handcuffs for 10 hours while the search continued.
The “free press”, which has been a tradition of Kurdish journalists for more than 30 years, has always been tried to be suppressed from the first day until today. Dozens of its employees were massacred by both military-police and paramilitary forces. During this time, thousands of them were put in prisons. Currently, according to the latest report published by our association in Turkey (June 5, 2022), 60 journalists are being held in prison. It is clear from this operation that it is desirable to add new ones to this number. As long as a joint reaction to these and similar operations against journalists is not organized, the government’s pressure policies will achieve their goal.
As Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG), we are fighting to protect the rights of free press workers under all conditions. As an association of journalists who practice their profession with the motto ”The Facts Will Not Remain in the Dark”, we will continue this insistence. We will fight for the release of our journalist friends who are currently in custody and in prison and for the environment in which they can conduct their professional activities in a democratic, free country. We call on all journalists and professional organizations that are struggling nationally and internationally to stand in solidarity with us while carrying out this struggle. Only through joint struggle can we ensure an environment where freedom of speech is guaranteed, democratic and the press.’’
DİCLE FIRAT JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION