Turkey: Journalists’ Releases Welcomed but Fight for Press Freedom Continues

The

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today welcomed the release of four jailed

journalists in Turkey but has warned campaigners that efforts must continue in

support of these and other journalists under pressure in the country.

Four

journalists, Nedim ?ener and Ahmet ??k, and OdaTV writers Ço?kun Musluk and

Sail Çak?r were last night released pending trial in the high-profile OdaTV

case.

However,

six journalists are still in prison relating to this case, and over 100 are in

jail in the country related to a range of alleged offences.

The

defendants in the OdaTV trial face allegations of involvement in the Ergenekon

affair, an alleged plot by an illegal gang to overthrow the Turkish

government. 

??k and

?ener presented their defence at the 12 March hearing.

"We welcome

the release of these four journalists, who will continue to be tried but

without arrest", said Arne König, EFJ President. "This is a small victory on a

long road. We urge the government to release all journalists in prison and give

them back the freedom they deserve."

At the Monday hearing (12 March) of the OdaTV

trial, the Istanbul 16th High Criminal Court decided to release

journalists Nedim ?ener and Ahmet ??k pending trial together with

OdaTV writers Ço?kun Musluk and Sait Çak?r.

Reports from the Istanbul 16th High Criminal Court suggest that the decision for the defendants' release was

based on the "possibility of a change of the quality of crime" and

"considering the period of time the defendants remained in

detention".

"To

silence journalists is to silence the people. It is journalism that is on trial

here, and the principle of confidentiality of the news source that is being

stamped out," ??k said in court. ?ener and ??k were in detention for 375 days.



The EFJ,

and its Turkish affiliate the Turkish Union of Journalists (TGS), have played a

leading role in the campaign to defend journalists under threat in Turkey.

 

This press release is also available in French, click here.

For more information contact the EFJ at 32 2

235 2200

The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists

in over than 30 countries in Europe.