Turkey: more than 1500 days of preventive detention amount to punishment, says EFJ ahead of hearing in “Ergenekon” case

As the so-called "Ergenekon" trial is about to

resume in Istanbul, the European Federation

of Journalists (EFJ) and its Turkish affiliate the Türkiye Gazeteciler

Sendikasi (TGS) are concerned about the fairness in

the case of two Turkish journalists who have

been in detention for more than 1500 days . The EFJ says their trial has been

marked by lack of due process and procedural violations.

"Today more than

ever before, the EFJ is determined to continue defending the journalists' right to a fair trial ," said EFJ

President Arne König. "After more than 1.500 days behind bars, it is now

obvious that detention is not used as a means of precaution by the Turkish

authorities, but as a punishment for critical journalists".

The "Ergenekon" trial will resume tomorrow 13 December 2012 and the EFJ strongly

condemns the open-ended detentions pending court verdicts of prominent professional

journalists like Mustafa Balbay and

Tuncay Özkan who have spent respectively 1377 and 1537

days in prison. Both

journalists, like many others, have been in detention

since the beginning of investigations into the Ergenekon case. Several national and international requests

to release them or to end their solitary confinement have been rejected.

The two journalists have recently been banned 16 times in a row from attending their own trial. Given the grave situation of

press freedom in Turkey, a broad national and international support to denounce

the systematic violation of journalists' rights is now desperately needed, according to the EFJ.

The Brussels-based Federation has systematically expressed support for Mustafa Balbay and Tuncay Özkan

during demonstrations organised in

Turkey. Mustafa Balbay and Tuncay Özkan have also been adopted by their European colleagues'

organisations as part of the adoption program launched by the European

Federation of Journalists.

There are 7

journalists in prison at the Ergenekon case: Deniz Y?ld?r?m, Hikmet Çiçek, Mehmet Haberal, Mustafa Balbay, Tuncay Özkan,

Turhan Özlü and Yalç?n Küçük. In addition to these, several journalists were detained and released in relation with the same Ergenekon case.

Today, the EFJ has

also urged the European Union institutions (Parliament, Commission and

Council) and the Council of Europe to put pressure on the Turkish authorities in order to ensure the respect of the rule of law

and press freedom standards in the country.
More information on the EFJ campaign pages :
The EFJ is the European group of the International Federation of

The EFJ represents over 300,000 journalists in 37 countries

For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200