Turkey: IFJ sends a letter of support to journalist Ayşe Düzkan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, has sent a letter of support to Turkish journalist Ayşe Düzkan, who was sentenced to an 18-month jail imprisonment for acting as the symbolic editor-in-chief of Kurdish Özgür Gündem newspaper for one day.

A man holds a sign meaning "Writers' freedom is not guaranteed" outside Istanbul's courthouse. Credits: CREDITOZAN KOSE / AFP

Dear Ayşe,

It is with great dismay that I received the news of your and four other fellow journalists prison sentencing. On behalf of the IFJ and myself, I wish to send you and your peers all our support.

You have been convicted at the end of a long trial of spreading propaganda for a terrorist organisation”.  We all know, as may the prosecution itself, it is not true and the accusations made against you are groundless.

What you have done is carry on with your journalistic work, champion solidarity with fellow colleagues at Özgür Gündemand stand up for press freedom in one of the most difficult and divisive times Turkey has ever faced. We salute your commitment and your courage.

Sadly, over 161 journalists are currently imprisoned in Turkey and more continue to be sent behind bars, as a result of unprecedented and irrational crackdown on the media and for no other reason than carrying out their duty. The vast majority of these cases are politically motivated, despite the authorities saying otherwise and claiming the judiciary’s independence.

It is the media’s duty to report society, however divided it may be and however difficult the task is. Turkey is polarized and this policy is making matters worse. It is not only harming journalists and the media, it is harming people and the country’s prospects to unite and regain peace.

Dear Ayşe, you are in prison but you are not alone. Be proud of your sacrifice for Turkish journalism. Be strong and certain of our indefectible appreciation and continued efforts to secure your release.                                                                                                               
In solidarity,

Anthony Bellanger,                                            

General Secretary

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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