16 November 2012
Journalists Stand Up in Solidarity with Turkish Jailed Reporters ahead of ODA TV Trial
The two Turkish journalists who are appearing before the Istanbul Özel Yetkili 16th Specialized Heavy Penal Court in the Oda Tv case today on charges of perverting the course of justice have no case to answer and should be released immediately, according to International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).
The Oda TV case involves the website's owner Soner Yalçin and reporter Yalçin Küçük, who remain in jail after eight other journalists facing similar charges were released . Baris Pehlivan and Baris Terkoglu were released pending trial in September, Müyesser Yildiz was released in June, Ahmet Sik, Nedim Sener, Çoskun Musluk and Sait Çakir in March, and in February Dogan Yurdakul for health reasons.
"Of the initial 10 journalists in custody, two remain in prison for a 23rd month in a row," said Arne König, EFJ President. "We firmly believe that the charges against them should be dropped and they should be released unconditionally and be acquitted." The EFJ has sent Barry White, member of its Steering Committee, as observer to attend the trials.
The IFJ and EFJ, together with the International Federation of Journalists and almost 80 affiliates from all continents signed a petition for the journalists' release, which appeared today in Turkish newspaper Milliyet.
"The massive response of journalists' organisations testifies to the strength of our campaign for our Turkish colleagues' freedom," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "We shall not rest until they are all free and the accusations against them dropped."
The Oda TV case is named after a news website headed by Soner Yalçin which is fiercely critical of the government, particularly its reaction to alleged plots to stage coups against current Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP)-led government. Several expertises have demonstrated that these documents had been introduced into the computers via viruses, and that their users had never opened them.
As part of its Stand-Up for Journalism day an EFJ delegation together with the partner of Soner Yalcin, Halide Kurt, met with a couple of members of the European Parliament including Jarosław Wałęsa, the chair of the ad hoc delegation for the observation of trials of journalists in Turkey and MEP Patrick Le Hyaric. They both expressed great concern for press freedom situation in Turkey. The weekend before, the EFJ French affiliates together with Halide Kurt had also had several meetings with politicians and human rights group in Paris.
See EFJ turkey campaign site:
For more information contact the EFJ at 32 2 235 2200/02. The EFJ represents over 310,000 journalists in over than 30 countries throughout Europe.