President Erdogan, free Cumhuriyet’s editors and all other detained journalists

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)

Public figures:

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

Hakan Günday, writer, Turkey

Mikis Theodorakis, composer, Greece

Per Westberg, writer, Sweden

Louise Belfrage, journalist, Sweden

Ali Anouzla, journalist, Morocco

Omar Bellouchet, journalist, Algeria

Jack Lang, former government minister, France

Omar Brouksy, journalist, Morocco

Pierre Haski, journalist, France

Jay Weissberg, cinema critic, USA