The IFJ/EFJ, English Pen and other trade unions and press freedom organisations have called for the immediate release of leading investigative journalist Ahmet Sik, who was taken into custody in Istanbul on 29 December. Following his detention Ahmet Şık has now been charged. He is accused of making terrorist propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) and the Gülen movement (FETÖ), which the government has blamed for the failed coup attempt in July 2016.
In my blog of 25 September ‘Defending journalism in Turkey’ I described the interview I gave with Ugur Güç, TGS president, on an evening news programme on IMC TV. We discussed the increasing number of prosecutions against journalists and during the interview presenter Banu Güven, mentioned that their television station had been threatened with closure. Within two weeks the station had been taken off air, their equipment seized and the journalists and other media and support workers joined the growing numbers of unemployed, reported on the EFJ web site at 2,500 – see http://europeanjournalists.org/blog/2016/10/24/turkey-107-journalists-in-prison-and-2500-others-left-unemployed/ of 24 October. Recently I received an eye witness account of the raid leading up to the closure of IMC TV which is reproduced below:
The next day (Wednesday 21 September) we arrived at the Caglayan Court of Justice in Istanbul which was hearing 5 different prosecution cases against journalists. We were originally told that there would only be one! Again we were with the IFJ/EFJ affiliates TGS (Journalists Union of Turkey), DISK-Basin-Is (Journalists Union of Turkey from DISK) and TGC (Journalists Association of Turkey) to observe the following cases:
The first was the appeal in the MIT Trucks case where journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül working for Cumhuriyet newspaper had been sentenced to 5 years in jail for revealing state secrets and arms trafficking between Turkish intelligence services (MIT) and Syrian armed rebel groups. The appeal hearing was held in secret but this did not put off the many supporters, including Can’s wife, who turned up to the court. Can was not present as he is currently living in Germany (see my 16 August blog) and has said that he will not consider returning until after the state of emergency has been lifted. A further hearing has been ordered. Continue reading More trials pile up