I have recently received an email from a relative of NUJ adopted journalist Müyesser Yildiz, one of the journalists charged, imprisoned, released and subsequently acquitted on 12 April (see blog ‘At last the OdaTV13 are acquitted’ dated 15 April 2017).
The writer tells me that since the coup attempt in July 2016 Muysser has been working extensively on reporting the trials of the people who are alleged by the authorities to have been involved in the failed uprising. She has found serious allegations of torture, misconduct and unfair treatment of all sorts, and practically speaking a free press does not exist in Turkey anymore.
Much to the writer’s surprise, the OdaTV case eventually did conclude in their favour, but the political, judicial and even social aftermath of the attempted coup prevents them from feeling relieved, even after their 6-year-long struggle. The ecosystem in Turkey is harsh. Many innocent people are being indicted, prosecuted, and tortured alongside those who may be guilty due to the unclear circumstances surrounding the events of July 2016. Yet, many people in Turkey blindly support this unjust approach. A case of ignorance disguised as patriotism. “Anyway”, the writer concludes “that is a tad too broad and a little too dark a topic to cover in an e-mail exchange.”
Meanwhile according to the European Federation of Journalists around 160 journalists remain behind bars in Turkey, while a number of journalists living outside the country face arrest, imprisonment and trial if they return. One such journalist is Hamza Yalçin a Swedish-Turkish journalist who was arrested in Barcelona recently, following an international warrant issued by Turkey through Interpol over alleged terrorist plots.
The European and International Federation of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) together with their affiliates in Spain and in Sweden have strongly condemned the arrest and have urged the Spanish authorities not to hand Hamza over to the Turkish authorities as his safety and the judicial independence of a trial would not be guaranteed in Turkey. Sign the petition at: https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-unjust-extradition-of-hamza-yalcin-and-free-him-now
In a new development, according to the BBC news web site, German-Turkish writer Dogan Akhanli author and critic of the Turkish government, who was arrested in Spain at Turkey’s request, has been granted conditional release by the Spanish authorities. Dogan who usually lives in Germany, where his arrest is seen as politically motivated, was on holiday in Spain when arrested . According to his lawyer, Mr Akhanli is being released on condition that he stays in Madrid. Further update at: https://www.geo.tv/latest/155995-erdogan-critic-urges-spain-to-block-his-extradition-to-turkey