EFJ Condemns Arrest of Rag?p Zarakolu as New Press Freedom Campaign is Launched in Turkey

The European group the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the arrest of Rag?p Zarakolu, Turkish columnist and writer.

"The arrest of a journalist and well-known intellectual under the pretext of terroristic activities is clearly arbitrary and abusive," said EFJ President Arne König. "It shows how eager the government is to muzzle any critical voice by using anti-democratic methods. Unless there is clear evidence showing the allegations of the Turkish authorities, we call for the immediate release of Mr. Zarakolu and of all other Turkish journalists currently detained in jail".

Mr. Ragip Zarakolu was arrested on Friday 28 October with 40 other people during a vast "anti-terrorism" operation conducted by units of Turkish special forces.  Mr. Zarakolu's son, Deniz Zarakolu, editor of the Belge Publishing House, had been arrested earlier on 4 October.

Mr. Rag?p Zarakolu is a writer, a publisher and a columnist at Evrensel daily. In addition to newspapers' articles, Mr. Ragip Zarakolu has also published several books on the Armenian genocide and how it is treated in modern Turkey, including under the angle of freedom of expression.

The EFJ affiliate, the Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikas? (TGS - Journalists' Union of Turkey) also strongly condemned the arrest of Zarakolu.

Together with the TGS, the EFJ has launched an international postcard campaign to express solidarity with jailed Turkish journalists. The campaign calls on people to send on the Turkish national holiday, the Bairam, a greeting card with best wishes to the 66 colleagues currently in Turkish prisons, asking again for the immediate and unconditional release. Everyone is invited to join this solidarity campaign for Turkish journalists in jail by sending a postcard before 6th November to one or several journalists whose names are available here: http://europe.ifj.org/en/pages/turkey-campaign-set-journalists-free

The EFJ will also conduct a special fact finding mission on press freedom in Istanbul on 22-24 November.

For more information contact the EFJ at 32 2 235 2200
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in over than 30 countries worldwide.