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IFJ/EFJ Condemn mass Arrest of Turkish Journalists

December 19, 2014

The International Federation of Journalists and its regional group, the European Federation of Journalists, today condemned the shock raid on Zaman newspaper and Samanyolu TV media resulting in the arrest of at least 31 persons including journalists and media executives.

Within the 31 people's group there are 4 journalists, 11 media workers (scriptwriters, producers and technical advisors) and 16 police officers, according to the last update.

“We are appalled by this brazen assault on press freedom and Turkish democracy” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “One year after the exposure of corruption at the heart of government, the authorities appear to be exacting their revenge by targeting those who express opposing views.”

The police raids took place on Sunday morning, targeting media said to be close to Fethullah Gûllen, the US-based cleric whose supporters have been allegedly working against the Erdogan government.

In recent years Turkey has been the leading jailer of journalists with over a hundred in prison three years ago at the height of the Ergenekon, KCK and Oda TV cases. Numbers had dropped significantly this year, however.

“This latest act demonstrates that the authorities’ contempt for journalism has not diminished,” added Boumelha. “This move against our colleagues is in fact an operation against freedom and democracy in Turkey,” said Mustafa Kuleli, General Secretary of the Journalists Union of Turkey, (TGS) an affiliate of the IFJ and EFJ. “No matter which group is targeted by persecution, nobody can stay silent. We will continue to defend the journalists who are being punished because of their reporting.”

The EFJ President, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, strongly backing the TGS stand said “The Council of Europe and other intergovernmental institutions should take action in relation to Turkey. Only 10 days ago we together with the Council of Europe signed a memorandum of understanding to build a new platform about early warnings on attacks on journalist, journalism and media. This is such an example, and we need the international community to send a very clear and firm message to the authorities in Turkey.”

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Phone: + 32 2 235 22 17

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