The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today accused Star and Yeni Akit newspapers, pro-government media in Turkey, of waging a smear campaign against individuals and press freedom organisations supporting journalists who are currently in prison because of their work. The two newspapers are targeting particularly Necati Abay, a representative of the Platform for Solidarity With Imprisoned Journalists (TGDP), journalists Nadiye Gürbüz, Sedat ?eno?lu and Arzu Demir, as well as two press freedom organisations, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Paris-based Reporters without Borders (RSF).
"We are appalled to hear that the Turkish government considers every government's critic as terrorist", said Arne König, EFJ President, who attended several court hearings these last two years. "But, together with all other International and national press freedom organisations, we will continue to fight and help our colleagues play their role of informing the citizens of Turkey."
The EFJ and its Turkish affiliate, the Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS) have been very active in the campaign to set the Turkish journalists free. In collaboration with the TGS and the Platform for Solidarity with Imprisoned Journalists, the EFJ has monitored the arrests of journalists. It has also kept up to date the official record of journalists in prison, in line with the one of the OSCE and, for this year, of CPJ and RSF.
Necati Abay, as the representative in exile of the TGDP, of which the TGS is a founding member, has faced many criminal prosecutions based on critical views he has expressed as a journalist. He is accused by Star and Yeni Akit of being paid by RSF, which he flatly denies. "That is a lie. I never got a monthly salary from RSF," he wrote in apublic declaration published on 28 January. The journalist told the EFJ that he had left Turkey because " I was no longer safe and could not do my journalistic work in Turkey."
The EFJ is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists and it represents over 300,000 journalists in 37 countries.
For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200