The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) are deeply concerned by the ongoing detention without any official explanation of journalists and media workers Tunca Öğreten (freelance), Mahir Kanaat (accountant for BirGün daily), Ömer Celik (DIHA news director), Metin Yoksa (DIHA correspondent) Eray Saygin and Derya Okatan (journalist at ETHA) in Turkey.
According to the information received by the IFJ-EFJ, all of them were detained as part of a Turkish police operation on 25 December at 04:30 from their homes in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir. Derya Okatan has been on hunger strike against the “state of emergency rulings” since 25 December and Ömer Celik was beaten during his arrest.
Under the state of emergency, Turkish authorities have extended the detention period from 4 to 30 days and lawyers have had no access to the journalists for more than 5 days.
No official reason has been given for these arrests and the journalists are being badly treated in detention. According to Turkish media, all of them are being unofficially detained and punished because they have published articles about the leaked emails of Berat Albayrak (Turkish Minister of Energy and President Erdogan’s son in law) provided to the media by Redhack hacker group.
IFJ President, Philippe Leruth, said: “This new attack on media freedom is Turkey is extremely worrying as it indicates that the authorities are willing to silence any critical voices, invoking the reaction against the authors of last July's attempted coup. Our colleagues and all detained journalists in Turkey should be released immediately."
The IFJ-EFJ are asking the Turkish Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdag, to respond to these reports and to immediately release all our colleagues. These new media freedom violations will be reported to the Council of Europe’s platform for the safety and protection of journalists and to the Mapping Media Freedom platform.
The Federations also remain vigilant in following up the arrest on 29 December of investigative journalist Ahmet Şık over several tweets and articles for daily Cumhuriyet. His lawyer recently told media that he had been kept in isolation in prison and denied drinking bottled water for three days as well as accessing to the news.
According to the latest IFJ-EFJ figures, 123 journalists remain behind bars in Turkey. Have a look at the IFJ-EFJ ongoing campaign to set journalism free in Turkey and take action.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries
The EFJ represents 320,000 journalists in 41 countries in Europe