The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ), in partnership with their affiliate the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), Journalists Association of Turkey (TGC), Reporters without Borders (RSF), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Press Institute (IPI), World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WANIFRA), World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC) and the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), launched the following international appeal for the release of Cumhuriyet journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül at a press conference held yesterday in Istanbul:
International appeal – First as prime minister and now as president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been waging a methodical crackdown on the media in Turkey for years. Erdogan is persecuting journalists of all colours in an increasingly ferocious manner in the name of combatting terrorism and defending state security. The Turkish authorities’ arrests, threats and intimidation are unworthy of a democracy.
Can Dündar, the editor-in-chief of the daily Cumhuriyet, and his Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gül, have been held since the evening of 26 November. They are charged with spying and terrorism because last May they published evidence of arms deliveries by the Turkish intelligence services to Islamist groups in Syria. Both are exemplars of journalism, the search for truth and the defence of freedoms. President Erdogan publicly said that Dündar “will pay for this.” But Cumhuriyet’s journalists just did their job, publishing information that was in the public interest.
At a time when international terrorism is at the centre of everyone’s concerns, it is unacceptable that political prosecutions are used to suppress investigative reporting and exposés. The arrest of these two journalists is the latest extreme to which political use of the Turkish judicial system has been taken. Many journalists have been detained on spurious charges of terrorist propaganda and insulting President Erdogan. The regime has also been using economic levers to put growing pressure on the media, while draconian laws have been passed.
We, public figures, international organisations, media freedom NGOs and unions & associations, reject the blatant erosion of media freedom in Turkey.
We appeal to the Turkish authorities to free Can Dündar and Erdem Gül without delay, to drop all charges against them, and to free all other journalists who are currently detained in connection with their journalism or the opinions they have expressed.
We also urge the institutions and governments of democratic countries to face up to their responsibilities to respond to President Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian excesses.
Please sign the petition to free journalists in jail HERE.
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS)
Turkish Association of Journalists (TGC)
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ)
International Press Institute (IPI)
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WANIFRA)
World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC)
Ethical Journalism Network (EJN)
Günter Wallraff, journalist, Germany
Noam Chomsky, linguist, USA
Edgar Morin, sociologist, France
Carl Bernstein, journalist, USA
Zülfü Livaneli, writer, Turkey
Ali Dilem, cartoonist, Algeria
Thomas Piketty, economist, France
Claudia Roth, politician, Germany
Paul Steiger, journalist, United States
Kamel Labidi, journalist, Tunisia
John R McArthur, media executive, USA
Fazil Say, pianist, Turkey
Peter Price, media executive, USA
Edwy Plenel, media executive, France
Jim Hoagland, journalist, USA
Ahmet İnsel, political analyst, Turkey
Eric Chol, newspaper editor, France
Nedim Gürsel, writer, Turkey
Cem Özdemir, Green Party co-president, Germany
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Mikis Theodorakis, composer, Greece
Per Westberg, writer, Sweden
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Omar Bellouchet, journalist, Algeria
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Omar Brouksy, journalist, Morocco
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