Turkey: 16 Journalists Imprisoned for 'Participation in Terrorist Organization'

Among them is Serdar Altan, co-president of a journalists' union

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Sixteen journalists in Turkey were jailed today in Diyarbakir, in the Kurdish-majority southeastern part of the country, for "participating in a terrorist organization", according to a decision obtained by AFP.

Twenty journalists working for media and production companies affiliated with the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) were arrested on June 8th for "participating in the journalism" of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Ankara and the West consider a terrorist organization. .

Sixteen of them have been remanded in custody today, including Serdar Altan, co-chair of a journalists' union, on charges of "involvement in a terrorist organization", one of their lawyers, Resul Temir, told AFP.

The rest were released on parole.

According to local media, the journalists were questioned by the prosecutor about the content of their articles.

"This leads us to believe that this is a pre-election maneuver in order to pull the rug under the feet of the Kurdish political class and deprive it of the means of expression," said Erol Oderoglu, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) spokesman in Turkey.

He said the arrests came as Turkey prepares for an operation against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

NGOs regularly report the deterioration of press freedom in Turkey, which in 2022 ranked 149th in the RSF rankings in a total of 180 countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses the HDP, the third largest party in the Turkish parliament, of being the PKK's "political showcase".

Since 2016, many members of the party have been arrested, including its leader Selahattin Demirtas, who remains in prison.

Source: RES-EAP